Make way for the Turks

It is the place in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony that the tenor dreads. The orchestra turns “Turkish” — signposted by bass drum, cymbal and triangle — and jangle along as the singer fields an exposed verse of the Ode to Joy. Sure enough, the singer for the performance by the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra (BIPO) came a cropper. But he was a German import. Turkey’s newest and fastest-growing orchestra honoured Beethoven’s Oriental homage with native panache.

The Borusan Philharmonic is riding a new wave of enthusiasm for classical music in Turkey. Istanbul is one of three European Capital of Culture cities in 2010, promising such offerings as a world premiere by Arvo Pärt and a residency by the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra.

But back at the launch in January, Istanbul first snored through a worthy presidential ceremony and then partied as the country’s No 1 pop star, Tarkan, gave a live performance in the throbbing central hub of Taksim Square.

Read the full article in The Times here.

Indie and modern classical music: the quixotic links

Before I’m away for a week, a belated catchup with a good post over at (thanks to Peter Meanwell, breakfast researcher, Ligeti and ukulele fanatic, and Radio 3 producer, for alerting me to it) on the links between today’s indie scene and yesterday’s – well, and today’s – classical composers. Max Willens has come up with a quixotic concatenation of influences, from echoes of Stockhausen in a recent album from Dirty Projectors, John Adams’s subliminal inspiration on Owen Pallett and Arvo Pärt’s effect on Radiohead.

Read the full blog posting in The Guardian here.