The İstanbul Music Festival

For 40 years, there’s been one music festival in Istanbul that’s been the most prestigious classical music festival in Turkey. The Istanbul Music Festival takes place every year across a number of stunning venues from all over the city.

A selection of incredible venues to catch the concert of a lifetime

  • Hagia Eirene Museum
  • Ashkenaz Synagogue
  • BoğaziçiUniversity Albert Long Hall
  • Grand Bazaar
  • Süreyya Opera House
  • Saint Anthony Church
  • St. Peter and Paul Church
  • St. Georg Church

From an incredible opening of Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra & Yekwon Sunwoo as they play the Lütfi Kırdar Convention and Exhibition Centre to Joyce DiDonato & Il Pomo d’Oro 'In War & Peace' at the Hagia Eirene, the 46th edition of the event has wowed audiences from around the world. Soprano Kammersängerin of the Bavarian State Opera even performed with her husband Nicolas Testé in one of the events of the season!

Every year this is one of the year’s best events from anywhere in the world. Where else can you watch incredibly moving music in such historic venues!? Next year check out the program for the Istanbul Music Festival and enjoy the show!

The Istanbul International Jazz Festival

This is one of the best jazz fests in Europe, and 2018 sees the 25th anniversary of the stellar fest. Performances range through all kinds of jazz, from swing to smooth to avant-garde to fusion. Artists come from all over the world to be part of the event. Some of the more legendary performances include those of:

  • Miles Davis
  • Dizzy Gillespie
  • Stan Getz
  • Herbie Hancock
  • Carlos Santana
  • Eric Clapton
  • Massive Attack
  • Björk
  • Patti Smith
  • Bobby McFerrin
  • Lou Reed
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Nick Cave
  • John Scofield
  • Mercedes Sosa
  • Sting
  • Lenny Kravitz

Another fantastic feature of the Istanbul International Jazz Fest is the importance it places on featuring young up-and-coming jazz acts, a set it calls “Young Jazz.” Many currently well-known acts started out as part of the festival’s Young Jazz, growing jazz culture in Turkey and bringing audiences to meet new artists.

The 25th edition of the festival featured an opening of Turkish Jazz throughout the generations to mark the 25th anniversary, with acts young and old performing together in what promises to be a truly special performance at the Zorlu Performing Arts Center.

So if you’re in Istanbul in July, make sure to check out the program and see what incredible acts await!

İstanbul Opera Festival

What makes a great opera? Is it a historic venue, incredible music, massive stars on the world’s biggest stage? The Istanbul Opera Festival has it all with concerts taking place inside imperial palaces from global superstars of the greatest operas the world’s ever known.

Shows tend to be held in either the Istanbul Archaeological Museums in front of the iconic Topkapi Palace or they take place on the modern stage of the Zorlu Performing Arts Center. The festival is short, lasting typically through the month of June with fewer than 10 performances in total, so booking tickets in advance is generally a good idea.

The 9th annual festival took place in 2018, with La Traviata, Zorba the Greek and Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail headlining the event. The Istanbul State Opera and Ballet is the primary performer of the festival, with international conductors and singers taking the stage every year to ever more popularity as opera grows as an art form in Turkey.

Akbank Jazz Festival

Another of Turkey’s longest-running festivals is the Akbank Jazz Festival. It typically takes place in the fall and features artists both from Turkey and from all over the world.

One of the interesting features of the Akbank Jazz Festival is its use of venues and clubs all over the city of varying sizes. This gives visitors to Istanbul a great opportunity to see some great music in a wide range of venues just as autumn hits the city and the weather – and music! – gets a little cooler.

The festival also prides itself on its outreach to high schools, growing jazz music throughout the city as part of the Workshops in High Schools initiative.

The full 2018 program has to be announced, and you can be sure that top names from all over the world will be playing at venues indoor and out all over the city. It’s time to get jazzed up about the Akbank Jazz Festival!

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