Istanbul is humming lots of high notes with several performing arts festivals this summer. The 40th anniversary of its month-long annual Istanbul Music Festival, a program of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Art (IKSV), featuring the leading lights of the classical music world, opened on May 31 and will conclude on July 6. Currently, the 3rd annual Istanbul International Ballet Competition sponsored by the Turkish State Opera and Ballet, is underway. Their grand finals take place on June 30th.
One of the most anticipated events of the IKSV classical music festival was the debut of pianist/composer Fazil Say’s Symphony No. 2 “Mesopotamia.” Say recently experienced some tribulations with the Turkish government over controversial opinions he had sent over Twitter, resulting in an impending court case. Needless to say, it seems the old American adage – “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” – has stood him in good stead. His latest work received a glowing public response and rave reviews.
IKSV’s 19th annual Istanbul Jazz Festival commences on July 3, running through the 19th. At the same time, the 3rd annual Istanbul International Opera Festival runs from July 7-19. This will be followed by the 3rd annual Jazz in Ramadan, which features jazz artists from the Muslim world and takes place in the gardens of Topkapi Palace between July 19-August 10.