MERSIN - This year’s Mersin International Music Festival, launched Thursday with a performance of renowned Turkish pianist Fazıl Say, gathers in the city also other prominent musicians, such as the guitarist Al Di Meola. The event, which aims to ’bring polyphonic universal music to the denizens’ and contributes to the dialogue among cultures, will run through June 2.
Renowned pianist Fazıl Say wooed music lovers at the launch of the 8th Mersin International Music Festival on Thursday night at Kızkalesi, a historical venue in Mersin. The festival is part of the European Festivals Association.
With the slogan "The oranges have blossomed music," the international festival has seemingly freshened up the Mediterranean coastal city of Mersin, which will host many music gurus, such as Say, Al Di Meola, Resonance Quintet, Swingle Singers, Europa Galante and Fabio Biondi, in addition to music lovers coming from all over the country until June 2.
"Bringing polyphonic universal music to the denizens of the city and contributing to the growth of dialogue among cultures, Mersin Music Festival is among the few select festivals in Turkey and across Europe," Faik Burakgazi, chairman of the Festival Executive Committee, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.
Highlighting the importance of the festival in terms of its contribution to development of the perception of aesthetics in society and the awareness of the need to preserve artistic and cultural assets, Burakgazi also noted that while Turkey was in the grasp of a financial crisis, Mersin still continued its tradition of reaching out and touching art.
Agreeing with Burakgazi that Mersin had a great deal of natural and cultural assets waiting to be discovered, Hüseyin Aksoy, Mersin governor, said that the Mersin Music Festival was a great example of collective work by public bodies, such as the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Prime Ministry Publicity Fund, Mersin Governorship, Mersin State Opera and Ballet, municipalities as well as many national and local private companies.
"I believe that we have caught a spirit of collaboration that sustains itself for the good of Mersin. I hope this will be a model for the other cities," Aksoy told the Daily News.
Macit Özcan, Mersin mayor, on the other hand, said that Mersin had great potential to host many more national and international organizations with its natural and cultural beauties, city hotels, welcoming residents and many more assets.
The Festival Artistic Award was presented to İdil Biret, whose award was accepted by Dr. Suha Aydın, the president of Mersin University, while the Festival City Award was presented to Gündüz Artan, whose award was accepted by his wife.
Splendid concert by Fazıl Say
Beyond any doubt, Fazıl Say made his mark on the gala of the Mersin International Music Festival with one of his greatest concerts, which enchanted all the music lovers at Kızkalesi (Maiden’s Castle). Say gave his guests the pleasure of listening to a selection of masterpieces including "Chaccone" by Bach, "Allegretto" by Beethoven, "Summer Time" and "Rhapsody by Blue" by Gershwin and his own work, "Nazım," "Kumru," "Sevenlere Dair" and "Kara Toprak."
Flirting with his piano from the very moment he sits on his chair rather than playing it, Say almost cast a spell on the guests, who held their breath during the entire concert so as not to miss a single moment. What added to the magic of the night was the grandiose atmosphere of Kızkalesi where the guests and Say’s piano were carried by small boats away from shore.
Located on top of an island 200 meters from the shore, the castle is connected to the land by a road for additional defense against a naval attack. One of the Corycian kings wanted to have a daughter desperately, and prayed to god every day to give him a beautiful daughter. God finally granted the king’s wish, and gave him a daughter who was adored by everyone for her beauty and manners. One day, a soothsayer came to town. Wanting to find out about the future, the king summoned her. After reading the princess's palm, the soothsayer refused to speak. When the king forced her, she said: "My Lord, your daughter will be bitten and killed by a snake. Nothing can prevent this. Even you will not be able to change her fate." The king was devastated.
He preferred to say nothing to his daughter about the prophecy, and preceded build a castle on an island off the shore, where no snake could reach her. The castle was erected with white stones, and when it was complete, the daughter was sent to live there for the rest of her life. However, the prophecy finally came true when a snake, hidden in a basket of grapes sent from the mainland, suddenly sprung up, bit the girl, and killed her.
As opposed to the sad story of the historical castle, the 8th Mersin International Music Festival gratified the guests, and will keep doing so until June 2.
Ankara-born Say started playing the piano at the age of four. He composed many oratorios, piano concertos, pieces of music for chamber, orchestra and many other .