March 28, 2023

By Heidi Trautmann…..….

“Gülsün Onay, A Virtuoso and Two Talented Pianists Ilyun Bürkev and Tuna Bilgin performed on 25 April 2022.

After the three performances, the audience gave a standing ovation and bravos rang out through the music hall of the Bellapais Abbey, and Fikri Toros who was standing next to me said proudly: ‘This is our true treasure’. Yes, I can only confirm it. Turkish Cyprus has a very special love for music and an enormous high rate of young talents on their musical stages. I have been following the musical events, especially with and around the young students of music, very closely for the last 20 years. I think, it has to do with their positive attitude towards life, strong family ties, open minds for music, theatre and dance, for beauty and nature.

In the first part, both young pianists delivered a most outstanding performance, Ilyun Bürkev, the youngest first, she is 13 years old, and as second, Tuna Bilgin, 19 years old. After a short break, we listened to the virtuoso Gülsin Onay, a legend, and both their teacher. (see the programme attached)

The youth first, curious, daring, with full physical implication and highest enthusiasm and then followed by the sovereignly playing virtuoso, their teacher, showing her experience and wisdom with a smile on her lips.

Please refer to the programme which I have attached here as a photo. This is what makes our lives rich, it is the best medicine.

Thank you again, Halil Kalgay, for another beautiful concert.

I include here the original biographies of the three pianists…. They are very interesting to read and one gets an idea of what is involved to get this far.

Ilyun Bürkev

Pianist İlyun Bürkev started playing piano with his first teacher Kıymet Berrak at the age of 4. While studying at the Kemerburgaz Doğa College between the years 2014 and 2018, she also started studying part-time at the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University State Conservatory which she continued until 2008. Afterward, in fifth grade, Bürkev started studying at the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University State Conservatory as a full-time student of Prof. Burcu Aktaş Urgun. One of Turkey’s young talents, 12-year-old pianist İlyun Bürkev has gained the chance to receive the certificate of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music by the time she was 6 years old. The pianist, who has attracted the attention of music authorities at an early age with her first international success by winning the 1st prize in the B category of “Memorijal Jurica Murai” International Piano Competition held in Varazdin, Croatia. Following her many successes, she also won the first prize in B category of Istanbul Hisar Schools International Piano Competition. Afterward, she has carried her success forward even more with the 3rd prize at the Paris International Music Competition in July 2018; the 3rd prize at the Adana Rhapsody Piano Competition in April 2019 and the 1st prize at the Istanbul Pera International Piano Competition in May 2019. She also won the 1st prize in Infantile A category of the 9th International Piano Competition María Herrero in Spain as well as the “Special Prize for Musicality” award. Most recently, she received the 1st prize, Best Chopin Performance as well as Best National Piece Performance awards at the Chopin International Piano Competition organized by Maltepe University in İstanbul.

In 2019, the Young Talent performed Mozart’s piano concerto No.1 with Çukurova State Symphony Orchestra of Turkey under the direction of maestro Dağhan Doğu and later took part in the Young Excellence Intensive program of Mozarteum University of Salzburg with her performance. In 2020, she was awarded with the prize of ”Young Talent Inspiring Art” at the “Values Summit” of Turkey held at the Shangri-La Hotel and gave a concert there for the participants representing some of the biggest brands and institutions of Turkey as well as the world. İlyun, being invited to many well-known festivals despite her young age, performed at the Stone House Concert of the Bodrum’s Gümüşlük Classical Music Festival.

In 2019, İlyun Bürkev has completed the “Young Excellence – Intensive Class for highly talented young students” course in Mozarteum University of Salzburg with a certificate of achievement and is currently continuing her education at the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University State Conservatory with Prof. Burcu Aktaş Urgun.

Bürkev also had the opportunity to work with artists around the world in many masterclasses such as Turkish state artist pianist Gülsin Onay in Istanbul, Prof. Gereon Kleiner and Prof. Andreas Weber at Mozarteum University Salzburg of Austria, Prof. Vincenzo Barzani in Italy, Ms. Perim Hamidoğlu in Istanbul, Mr. Shaun Choo at Mozarteum University Salzburg of Austria, Yunus Kaya at the Vorarlberg State Conservatory in Feldkirch of Austria, pianist and conductor İbrahim Yazıcı, pianist Emre Şen, pianist Gökhan Aybulus, pianist Anna Gamal in Dubai and pianist Jean Marc Luisada.

Pianist İlyun Bürkev regularly works with Prof. Gereon Kleiner and Prof. Andreas Weber of Mozarteum University of Salzburg in where most of her education takes place. Bürkev met with Turkish state artist, pianist Gülsin Onay in March 2019 and from then on became a student of her and works with Ms. Onay on a regular basis.

Tuna Bilgin

At the age of 4, Tuna Bilgin gave the first signals of his composition and performance skills in the field of “Turkish Classical Music”. After he developed himself in this genre of music, he decided to continue in this direction with his discovery of classical music and started his piano studies with Assoc. Prof. Cemile Cabarrova. At the age of 10, he passed the exams of Bilkent University Music Preparatory Secondary School and started his music school adventure with his teacher, Prof. Gülnara Aziz, which will have lasted 8 years until his high school graduation.

He gave concerts in halls such as Izmir AASSM, Zorlu PSM, Bilkent Concert Hall, The Embassy of Austria, Erimtan Art and Archeology Museum, Izmir Art Center etc. in Turkey. Tuna also has awards in national and international competitions such as the 1st prize in the 1st National Mozart Academy Piano Competition 2013 in the 10-13 age category, 1st prize and the special prize in 1st National Adnan Saygun Piano Competition İzmir in the under-18 category, 1st prize and the special prize in 14th Gümüşlük Music Festival 4th International Ahmet Adnan Saygun Piano Competition, 1st prize in 1st International Rhapsody Piano Competition Adana in the 16-20 age category and the 3rd prize in International Orbetello Junior Piano Competition in İtaly.

At the same time, Tuna became the first Turkish musician who gave a concert within the scope of the project “Young Stars on the Stage” at the world-famous Mariinsky Theater with the special invitation of world-famous conductor Valeri Gergiev and pianist Mira Jevtich. Tuna continued his studies with Prof. Gülnara Aziz and the State Artist Gulsin Onay in Turkey and had the chance to work with famous pianists such as Grigory Gruzman, Cyprien Katsaris, Stanislav Ioudenitch, Yulianna Avdeeva, Mauricio Vallina, Hüseyin Sermet. He became one of the 2 pianists selected among nearly 50 young pianists who passed the UdK Berlin (Berlin Art University) exams in February. Tuna will officially continue his studies with UdK Berlin, piano department head and vice dean Prof.Björn Lehmann in the period that started in October!

Gülsin Onay can be read on the Wikipedia link below.

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