United Arab Emirates - December 05, 2020: One of the world’s longest established orchestras, with a history spanning nearly two centuries, the Turkish Presidential Orchestra (CSO) inaugurated its new building with spectacular gala concerts held on December 3-4-5. The new CSO building will breathe new life into Turkey’s culture and arts scene.
Turkey is a country whose heart beats with art . All throughout its dazzling history, this nation’s urban beauty, dynamic atmosphere and unique location bridging two continents, have all made their mark with an emphasis on culture and arts. Dating from 1826, the CSO now has a new home in Ankara, Turkey’s capital, inaugurated on December 3rd, and honored by the attendance of the President of the Turkish Republic Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy in a glorious opening ceremony.
The opening ceremony was directed by Cemi’i Can Deliorman and featured world-renowned soprano Angela Gheorghiu, one of the world’s most successful piano duos Güher and Süher Pekinel, and lastly, the world-renowned piano virtuoso İdil Biret.
Designed by architects Semra and Özcan Uygur, the new building constitutes an indoor area of 62,547 square meters. In addition to the Turkish Presidential Orchestra, it will host the Ankara State Polyphonic Choir, Ankara Turkic World Music Ensemble, Ankara State Turkish Folk Music Choir, Ankara State Classical Turkish Music Choir and State Folk Dances Ensemble. The new building houses a 2023-seat grand concert hall, a 500-seat small concert hall, a 10,000 capacity open-air concert area and the CSO Museum.
With ambitions of becoming not just Turkey’s but one of the world’s foremost concert halls, the CSO Building is the first structure in Turkey specifically designed for a symphonic orchestra. More than just one of the few global metropolitan music centers, it will also be a living artistic hub presenting the richest culture and arts contents on an international scale. During the opening ceremony, all COVID-19 measures (especially social distancing rules) were implemented, and numerous Turkish and international guests attended, including artists and journalists, as special guests of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
The culture and arts center will house the “Great Hall”, hosting the Turkish Presidential Orchestra, the “Blue Hall” and the historical “CSO Hall”, and will welcome art lovers from around the world throughout the year with a plethora of important works ranging from classical to traditional music, world music and popular music.
CSO In Its New Home
Having a reputation among the world's most prestigious orchestras, Turkey's flagship orchestra, The Presidential Symphony Orchestra, was founded under the name of Müzika-ı Hümayun with the idea of establishing a western band in Istanbul during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Mahmut the 2nd in 1826. In 1924, Müzika-ı Humayun was moved to Ankara by the request of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and in 1932, has taken the name of Presidential Philharmonic Orchestra having served under the Ministry of Education. Finally, in 1957, the orchestra is affiliated with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism under the name of Presidential Symphony Orchestra.
A monumental and timeless architectural approach
The CSO concert hall, which is the first concert hall in the world to open after the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie concert hall, which was completed in 2017, will present a great gain to the world music family with its architectural, artistic and social approach. The building reveals a symbolic architecture that will not wear out over time, rather than a design language that can be valid for a certain period of time. The architectural form, consisting of two opaque glass-covered spheres with a sharp glass triangle between them, located in the middle of a body of water, has a monumental and timeless design.
CSO with its new identity in its new home
The new logo design, which is associated with the concepts of movement, harmony, skill and discipline, has been enriched with a strong color palette and font in order to reconcile the historical mission of the orchestra with its vision of the future. The logo, designed with copper / bronze yellow and sharp auxiliary colors surrounding the body of the tympani, which is the only instrument inherited from Anatolia to world music, refers to the line of modernity by integrating with the Futura typeface created during the years when the Presidential Symphony Orchestra moved to Ankara.
Presidential Symphony Orchestra (CSO)
The Presidential Symphony Orchestra, one of the most rooted art institutions in the world, has preserved its continuity without any interruption in its art life in its nearly 200-year history. In early periods, the orchestra was called 'Muzıka-i Hümayun” and Giuseppe Donizetti, who was invited to Istanbul from the Austro-Hungarian Imperial Palace, was appointed as the conductor of the orchestra, and the polyphonic music culture was soon adopted and institutionalized.
The orchestra moved to Ankara on April 27, 1924 with the order of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, with a brand new understanding, it became a pioneering art institution operating in order to raise the culture and art level of the people. The orchestra (Riyaseti Cumhur Philharmonic Orchestra) honored by Atatürk by giving its name was also the first musical institution in the history of the Republic.
Between 1934 and 1935, first Ahmed Adnan Saygun and then the famous German composer Paul Hindemith were assigned to create the programs of institutions giving music education. This period, with the suggestion of Paul Hindemith, the German Conductor Dr. Ernst Praetorius was made the permanent conductor of the orchestra. Upon Praetorius' death, Hasan Ferit Alnar was appointed as the 1st Conductor of the orchestra in 1946, and then many famous conductors led the orchestra, especially Gotthold Ephraim Lessing.
After 1957, the international arena in the name of announcing the Presidential Symphony Orchestra, primarily in Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, has performed many concerts in different countries such as Finland, which takes in this tour was introduced to the Shareholders of the cultural presence of positive criteria as the Republic of Turkey.
He has worked with many well-known conductors such as Presidential Symphony Orchestra, Louis Fremaux, Lukas Foss, Walters Susskind, Jiri Belohlavek, Aaron Copland, Jean Perisson, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Gilbert Varga, Christian Jarvi, Anatol Fistullari, Hermann Scherhen.
Orchestra Andre Navarra, Yehudi Menuhin, Wilhelm kempff, Joaquin Rodrigo, Albricht Mayer, Jean Pierre Rampal, Igor Oistrakh, Leonid Kogan, Raphael Wallfisch, Hagai Shaham, Truls Mork, Viktor Pikayzen, Julian Rachlin, Paul Tortelier, Pierre Fournier, Sarah Chang, Famous international soloists such as Alexander Rudin, Maxim Vengerov, Vadim Repin, Angela Gheorghiu, Jose Carreras were guests.
Artists from the Republic of Turkey; Suna Kan, Ayla Erduran, Ayşegül Sarıca, İdil Biret, Gülay Uğurata, Gülsin Onay, Verda Erman and Hüseyin Sermet became the permanent soloists of the orchestra. She performed concerts with many valuable Turkish soloists such as Ayhan Baran, Ruşen Güneş, Gülşen Tatu, Güher - Süher Pekinel, Ferhan - Ferzan Önder, Fazıl Say, Muhittin Dürrüoğlu.
Among the permanent Turkish conductors of the orchestra are Hikmet Şimşek (1959), Gürer Aykal (1988), Rengim Gökmen (2007), Erol Erdinç (2011), Selman Ada (2014), Rengim Gökmen (2015). Can Deliorman is the permanent conductor of the orchestra since the 2020-2021 concert season.
Presidential Symphony Orchestra Building – History
The Presidential Symphony Orchestra Concert Hall was designed as a 800-seat concert hall in Ankara where the Presidential Symphony Orchestra performed and rehearsed. Located on the historical Talatpaşa Boulevard in Ankara Ulus and built as an exhibition house in 1958, the building was allocated to the orchestra in 1961 and transformed into a concert hall by architects Ertuğrul Özakdemir and Feridun Helvacıoğlu in 1962. Outside of the building, which has the architectural features of the period it was built, gray, red, ivory colored travertine was used and it resembles the Ankara Opera Stage with this feature.
In 1992, an architectural competition titled 'Presidential Symphony Orchestra Concert Hall and Choir Buildings' was held. The jury of the competition under the chairmanship of Doğan Tekeli awarded Uygur Architecture's project first among the 46 projects that applied. The upper floor foyer of the building, which was designed as a single floor on the basement, was renewed in the 1990s. The building, which was restored in 2001 and emptied in 2007, was reopened in the 2008-2009 concert season after an improvement project. With the improvement project, all venues except the artist backstage were renewed; acoustic quality has been upgraded. In the foyer of the building, there is the Atatürk relief, signed by the sculptor Tolga Kınalı, and the sculpture named 'Flying Notes' by the sculptor Eşber Karayalçın in the front garden.
The Organ of the Presidential Symphony Orchestra Concert Hall is a historical church organ donated to the orchestra in 1965. The organ with 5 thousand pipes, donated by the businessman Edmond Giraud from Izmir, was repaired in 2006 after it broke down in the 1990s and was restored.