Beethoven in spotlight at June's Istanbul Music Fest

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This year's Istanbul Music Festival will mark the 250th birthday of classical maestro Ludwig van Beethoven with a number of concerts and activities, festival organizers said Tuesday.

Organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) on June 2-25, the 48th Istanbul Music Festival will host leading classical music figures including the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra, Wiener Akademie, Grammy-winning pianist Emanuel Ax, and acclaimed percussionist Evelyn Glennie.

Speaking at a press conference, Bülent Eczacıbaşı, the foundation's chair, said: "This year's festival is called 'The Enlightened World of Beethoven' in honor of the great composer, whose 250th birthday the world is celebrating this year."

Efruz Çakırkaya, the festival's director, gave details of the program, saying it will "feature distinguished orchestras and soloists [and] will present three new commissions and many creative projects."

She added: "We will enjoy being in nature with concerts and children's workshops in parks and outdoors."

The event will take place in 14 venues in Turkey's largest city, including the Archaeology Museum, Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall, Lütfi Kırdar Convention and Exhibition Centre, Saint Esprit Cathedral, Sakıp Sabancı Museum Fıstıklı Terrace, Surp Ohan Vosgeperan Armenian Catholic Church, Süreyya Opera House, and Zorlu Stage.

Music lovers will also be able to take a special music route on Büyükada, the largest of Istanbul's Princes' Islands, hitting the Hesed Le Avraam Synagogue, St. Pacifico Roman Catholic Church, and the Anadolu Club.

The festival will open with the German composer's popular Violin Concerto, op. 61, and the overture to his only opera, Fidelio.

American star violinist Stella Chen, 26, the winner of the 2019 Queen Elisabeth International Violin Competition, will make her Turkey debut in a June 2 concert with the Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra, the festival's opening concert orchestra, under the baton of Aziz Shokhakimov.

The event will also honor Turkish musicologist and music writer Ahmet Say and Russian cellist, conductor, pianist, harpsichordist, and professor Alexander Rudin with awards, according to the IKSV.

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