John Koenig – US Ambassador
to Cyprus presents
Ambassador’s Award for
By Margaret Sheard….
We had the pleasure of recently meeting Demetra George Mustafaoğlu together with her husband Mehmet at their beautiful home in Çatalköy and were joined by Figen Vicky Rasmussen who, with Demetra, was finalising the grand gala concert which was to be held at the Grand Pasha Hotel in Kyrenia on 2nd May. Demetra was giving her time and talent at the concert which was to raise funds for the Engelsiz Yasam Evi (Home for the Young Disabled) in Nicosia, together with other artists, including Fikri Toros. To see the review of this great occasion click here.
We were delighted to hear that former Miss Oklahoma and National Talent Award for Miss. Teenage America – Demetra George Mustafaoğlu, together with Katie Economidou and Fikri Toros had been chosen for an Ambassador’s Award for Cultural Diplomacy which was presented by US Ambassador to Cyprus – John Koenig and Mrs Natalie Koenig and we show below the press release issued by the United States Embassy in Nicosia.
We, at cyprusscene, would like to offer our congratulations to Demetra. Katie and Fikri for the award given in recognition of their outstanding achievements through the world of music.
Monday, May 11, 2015
Ambassador Cultural Awards
The U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus John Koenig and Mrs. Koenig presented three exceptional performers with the “Ambassador’s Award for Cultural Diplomacy” in recognition of their outstanding commitment to cross cultural communication through music.
Katie Economidou, Demetra George Mustafaoğlu, and Fikri Toros received the awards during a luncheon in their honour hosted by the Ambassador and Mrs. Koenig at Davies House. As Ambassador Koenig said during his presentation remarks, “I envy not only your exceptional musical accomplishments, but even more your selfless dedication to using music for peace-building and inter-cultural understanding in Cyprus and beyond.”
These talented performers have used their gifts to benefit and delight audiences in Cyprus and around the world, raise funds for charitable organizations, and contribute to this island through teaching, performing, and leading organizations dedicated to improving the lives of Cypriots.
After completing her studies in classical singing, voice, and music, as well as receiving her MA in International Conflict Analysis, Katie became a leading advocate of using musical performance to bring people together. She sang at the first bi-communal recital in Cyprus in 1995 at the Ledra Palace for the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. At Ms. Economidou’s initiative, the Bi-communal Choir was founded in 1996. She participates in concerts in Cyprus and abroad and performs with a bi-communal Music Trio all over the island to promote peace and reconciliation in her country and internationally. In addition, Ms. Economidou is an active member of many charitable and civic organizations and is the recipient of the prestigious Stelios Award.
Demetra George Mustafaoğlu, PhD:
One of the most celebrated musical ambassadors of the United States, soprano Demetra George has graced opera stages and concert halls, including Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center, as well as U.S. Embassies across Europe. A two-time Grammy List nominee who has sung for four U.S. Presidents, Dr. George has performed with over 170 symphony orchestras and boasts a repertoire of more than 20 opera and operetta roles and 18 in musical theater. She is a frequent guest on stages in Turkey and Cyprus. A dedicated teacher, her students have landed many leading roles in Broadway productions such as BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, LES MISERABLES, and LION KING. She uses her talents to benefit philanthropic efforts, such as a recent Andrew Lloyd Webber Concert in Istanbul, which raised $5 million for the restoration of the entrance to Topkapi Palace.
A successful businessman and President of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, Fikri Toros is also a gifted pianist with the “Cypress Classica” ensemble, an active member of the Cyprus Turkish Philharmonic Choir and Chamber Orchestra as well as the Kyrenia Chamber Choir. Since 2000, Mr. Toros has accompanied distinguished vocalists and violinists at various chamber concerts in Cyprus. Currently the Director of the Toros Group of Companies, Mr. Toros uses his musical talents for the Help Those with Cancer Association’s “Helpings Hands” charitable recitals. He also performed at St. John’s Smith Square in London to raise awareness for the Pro-Cancer Research Fund.