The Istanbul Music Festival, the first festival of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2012. The 40th year special programme of the Istanbul Music Festival, which hosted more than 40,000 artists from Turkey and abroad with nearly 3,000 performances in 40 years, is announced at a press meeting on January 24.

The Festival's 40th edition will be held between 31 May and 29 June. The 40th Music Festival will host more than 750 local and foreign artists in Istanbul and will present a month full of music. The 40th Istanbul Music Festival will host stars of classical music in Istanbul including Hélène Grimaud, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Milos, Gidon Kremer, Chamber Orchestra Vienna-Berlin and Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and will feature two special performances of the Zurich Ballet as part of the farewell tour of Heinz Spoerli, one of the leading choreographers of Europe. Along with concerts, the festival will also present talks, educational workshops and speeches.

The Istanbul Music Festival will continue to contribute to the contemporary music repertory with its commissions to two world-renown composers. One of the most productive artists of our time, the genius pianist Fazıl Say who gets standing ovations at every concert, and one of most valuable composers of Georgia, Giya Kancheli will have the world premieres of their new works commissioned by the Istanbul Music Festival within the scope of the festival.

Since 2011, the festival has started to build its programme around a theme. The theme of this year's Istanbul Music Festival will be "Hope and Heroes." The festival programme, as a result of an accurate repertory research, presents a range of specific works and special concert projects selected within the scope of two intertwined themes such as heroes and hope. Along with these, special projects entitled "Istanbul Music Festival in Search of Its Young Soloist," "Young Masters and Their Heroes" and "Open Conservatory", which will be held in Karaköy Greek Primary School, will be carried out as well.

Presenting 2 world premieres and 3 Turkish premieres, the 40th Istanbul Music Festival features 23 concerts including symphonic and chamber orchestras, vocal concerts, chamber music and recitals. The festival concerts will be held in 8 different venues including Hagia Eirene Museum, which continues to host the festival for the last 40 years, along with the Haliç Congress Center, Lütfi Kırdar International Convention and Exhibition Center, Garden of the Netherlands Consulate General, Süreyya Opera House, Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall, Istanbul University Rectorate Building and Istanbul Archaeological Museum.

The programme of the 40th Music Festival was announced in a press meeting held at the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus, giving venue and catering support to the festival's press meeting for the last three years. İKSV Chairman Bülent Eczacıbaşı, Borusan Culture and Arts Chair of the Board of Directors Zeynep Hamedi and the Istanbul Music Festival Director Yeşim Gürer Oymak delivered speeches during the press meeting.

İKSV Chairman of Board of Directors Bülent Eczacıbaşı remarked that the Music Festival, which celebrates its 40th year together with the foundation's, faces difficulties due to a lack of venues and said "In light of Istanbul's aspiration to be an international capital of culture and the arts, it is disappointing that no new venues have been generated for the Istanbul Music Festivals since the first one 40 years ago. Unfortunately, none of the venues we use today are purpose-built concert halls. To this end, we are continually trying to develop new solutions that can be realized with the support of private organisations, local governments and public institutions." Eczacıbaşı pointed out that the Istanbul Music Festival will continue and increase the number of its projects targeting youth in its 40th year and said "Our hopes, as the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, lie with the youth; they are our heroes. For this reason, we are expanding our activities for young people this year. We will continue our program "BiTamBiÖğrenci", which we revitalised on our 40th anniversary to ensure that more young people selected by non-governmental institutions can attend our concerts. We will also continue our master classes for young talent with the aim of contributing to their musical education. I would like to take this opportunity to express my hope that audiences enjoy the concert program that we prepared for the 40th anniversary of the Istanbul Music Festival and to extend our warmest appreciation to the Four Seasons Hotel at the Bosphorus, which has hosted our festival's press conferences for the last four years including today, and to all the institutions and organisations that have provided us continual support, most notably our festival sponsor Borusan."

Borusan Culture and Arts Chair of the Board of Directors Zeynep Hamedi said "As Borusan, we see culture and arts as the fifth sector that we operate in. We think that culture and arts have a leading role in integrating Turkey to the rest of the world. Through the activities we support and the Borusan Culture and Arts which celebrates its 15th year in 2012, we are determined to continue our activities in this field and committed to carry them further."

The Istanbul Music Festival Director Yeşim Gürer Oymak pointed out that the festival built its programme around "Hope and Heroes" theme and said "Artists, just like heroes, follow their dreams for a lifetime. They fight for the community - sometimes even running the risk of opposing the community itself, only with the hope that they might one day be appreciated. They light our darkest hours; they inspire us; they instil hope into our exhausted souls and hearts. We invite the music lovers to an acoustic realm where hope and heroism reign in the wonderful works of great composers. (...) Besides the performances relating to the theme of this year's festival, we will be hosting the world premieres of our two commissions: Georgian composer Giya Kancheli's symphonic work dedicated to the cellist Benyamin Sönmez who passed away last year at a very young age and Fazıl Say's much anticipated "Mesopotamia" Symphony. With also many Turkish premieres, glamorous concerts, lectures, and educational projects, we wish this festival to be an inviting and hope-inspiring event."

Lifetime Achievement and Honorary Awards

The Honorary Award of the 40th Istanbul Music Festival will be presented to prominent pianist Hüseyin Sermet, who is renowned not only for his successful interpretations but also for his compositions. Sermet, who has been performing with prominent orchestras and conductors all around the world, and whose recorded albums have been presented with important awards such as Diapason d'Or and MIDEM Classical Award, will receive his award on Thursday, 31 May at the Opening Ceremony of the Festival at Haliç Congress Center.

The Lifetime Achievement Award of the festival will be presented to composer Giya Kancheli, on Monday, 11 June at the Hagia Eirene Museum, before the world premiere of his work commissioned by the Istanbul Music Festival.


The tickets of the 40th Istanbul Music Festival, Opening Ceremony and Opening Concert will be sold beginning from 10:00 on Saturday, 4 February through:

• Biletix retail outlets
• Biletix Call Centre (0216 556 98 00)
• IKSV building (Nejat Eczacıbaşı Building Sadi Konuralp Cad. No:5
Şişhane, between 10.00-18:00, except Sunday)

And during the festival, the tickets can be bought from the Hagia Eirene Museum.

Prices and Discounts

The ticket prices of the 40th Istanbul Music Festival range between 30 TL and 400 TL. Student tickets can only be bought from IKSV box office, with the presence of a student ID.

20-25% "Special Discount for Tulip members" for the festival tickets, will be available for the Tulip Card holders. Tulip members will also have the priority purchase opportunity. Tulip members can buy their priority tickets from Biletix Call Centre (0216 556 98 00), and IKSV building (between 10:00-18:00, except Sunday).

The booklet of the 40th Istanbul Music Festival can be ensured from the IKSV building (Nejat Eczacıbaşı Building Sadi Konuralp Cad. No: 5 Şişhane) and Biletix sales points.