Fazıl Say

Kompozitör, Piyanist

14 Ocak, 1970
Ankara State Conservatory, Robert Schumann Institute

Classical music pianist, composer. He was born on January 14th, 1970 in Ankara. He is the only child of musicologist, writer and publisher Ahmet Say and chemist Gürgün Hanım. Fazıl Say, who is regarded as the genius Turkish composer of the latest era began to take eurhythmics and hearing lessons at the age of three from oboist Ali Kemal Kaya and then piano lessons from Mithat Fenmen. Fenmen taught Say piano, solfeggio and theory of music lessons for eight years and encouraged him to be a composer. Fazıl Say, who attended Ankara State Conservatory upon the death of Mithat Fenmen in 1982, became a university student at the age of fourteen. He began to take piano lessons from Kamuran Gündemir and composition lessons from İlhan Baran in the scope of cram education which is called “special statute”. His acquisitions include harmony, counterpoint, information of form, analysis, instrumentation, orchestration, antique modes, mode and rhythmic system of Turkish music, jazz harmony, style researches, etc. Fazıl Say began to take lessons from Ertuğrul Oğuz Fırat when İlhan Baran requested him to take modern music style lessons from Fırat and he began composing at the age of four.

The young pianist, who graduated from the conservatory in 1988, was awarded a scholarship that enabled him to go to Germany and to study at the Robert Schumann Institute in Düsseldorf for five years with the American pianist David Levine, who was regarded as the typical example of a creative and prominent performer of Schubert. Fazıl Say, who got his “Concert Pianist” diploma in 1991, settled in Berlin and began his professional career in music. His first international achievement was the award he won in Europe Piano Competition (1991) by the European Union. The same year he performed a concerto which he composed upon the order of Berlin Symphony Orchestra with violin virtuoso Götz Bernau, where he was the soloist artist in the world premiere performance. Meanwhile, he worked at Berlin Academy of Music as lecturer in 1995.

Later, he returned to Turkey and it was a milestone for his career when he won the first-runner award in Concert Artist Europe Competition. He made a name for himself when he received the New York Young Concert Artists International Competitions and he started to be considered as one of the famous pianists of the world. Then he won the first-runner award in Cross Continental Competition held in New York. That he was honored with many awards by many foundations like Radio France Beracasa, Paul A. Fish Foundation, Boston Metamorphosis Orchestra, M. Clairmont Foundation, which led him to continue his career in the world.

Fazıl Say is a familiar face to many appeared worldwide known orchestras such as New York Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, the Baltimore Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France. He has appeared at the Lucerne Festival, Ruhr Piano Festival, Rheingaur Music Festival, Verbier Festival,  Montpellier Festival and Beethoven Festival Bonn for many times and given concerts at many concert halls like the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Berlin Philharmonie, the Vienna Musikverein, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall in New York.

Fazıl Say, who has advanced in his career from 1995 to today, continues his musical activities in European countries especially in France and in five continents and gave concerts together with noted conductors and orchestras and gave recital at prestigious music halls. The most important thing about his composition is that he turned his piano compositions into orchestra compositions later. He created compositions for many famous poets of the Turkey and of the world, he also wrote composition for the poems of Nazım Hikmet and increased the number of concertos.

In 2003-2004 he appeared in Salzburg Festival, Lincoln Center Festival in New York, Harrod’s Piano Series in London and World Piano Series in Tokyo for the first time. One of his chamber music partners are Yuri Bashmet and Shlomo Mintz. In 2004 he went on his European tour and the USA tour with Maxim Vengerov and performed at Carnegie Hall, Vienna Musikverein, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Barnican Center in London, and at Salzburg Festival. In 2006 he went on Europe and Asian tour with Akiko Swanai... Say’s passion for jazz and improvisation led him to found a ‘Worldjazz’ quartet with the Turkish ney virtuoso Kudsi Ergüner. The quartet performed to a triumphal reception in St. Denis, Paris, and Montpellier, at the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Istanbul Jazz Festival and the Juan-les-Pins Festival.

Fazıl Say, the owner of nearly twenty universal awards and who was the best piano virtuous of Turkey up to now, is especially noted for his works on Bach and Gershwin. He drew attention with his classic compositions in which he established his own style and with compositions in which he paid attention to local music. He is famous in the world of classic music repertoire not only for his extraordinary performances, in which he played compositions of noted musicians like Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Bach, Stravinsky and for also his oratorios and concertos, in which he was inspired by music and culture of his homeland. Besides his almost a hundred compositions and released albums, he also has books.

Say, who has remained on the agenda not only for his talent in piano and composition but for also his ideas, has various fields of interest. Say who says “I need to introduce my people with classic music” reflects his ideas about music, politics, future, being an artist and about life in his book “Yalnızlık Kederi.” He was married to Cello Virtuoso Gülyar Balcı and had a daughter from that marriage but they got divorced later.

MUSIC NOTEBOOK: Schwarze Hymnen for violin and piano (1987), Nasreddin Hoca’nın Dansları (for piano, 1990), Fantazi Parçaları (for piano, 1993), Paganini Çeşitlemeleri (for piano, 1995), Sonat (for piano and violin, 1997), İpekyolu (piano concerto, 1998).

BOOKS: Nasreddin Hoca'nın Dansları Piyano İçin - Four Dances Of Nasreddin Hodja For Piano (1990), Fantazi Parçaları Piyano İçin Fantasy Pieces For Piano (1993), Paganini Çeşitlemeleri Piyano İçin Paganini Variations For Piano (1995), Sonat Keman ve Piyano İçin - Sonata for Violin and Piano (1997), Uçak Notları (1999), Metin Altıok Ağıtı (2008), Yalnızlık Kederi (2009),  Fantazi Parçaları - Piyano İçin (nota, 2009)



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