State Choir Turkey
Ministry of Culture and Tourism State Choir Turkey is the leading professional choral ensemble of the country. Since its foundation in 1988, the choir acts both as a strong symphonic choir and a refined a capella ensemble. The choir has been founded by Hikmet Şimşek and has been conducted by Walter Strauss, İnci Özdil, Ahter Destan, İbrahim Yazıcı and Cemi’i Can Deliorman. Since 2017, the artistic director and principal conductor is Burak Onur Erdem.
The choir has given more than thousands concerts in all parts of Turkey and has performed in Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Israel and South Korea. In 1989, the choir performed its debut under the direction of memorable Turkish composer Ahmed Adnan Saygun. Since then, notable performances include Harbison’s world premiere in Vatican to Pope John Paul II, Mahler 2nd in Konzerthaus Berlin, Britten’s War Requiem or Verdi Requiem with prominent symphony orchestras. Social initiatives like ‘Stop Violence Against Women’ or the innovative ‘Sound&Light’ a capella project with visual design and electronics are also included in the choir’s portfolio. Awarded the ‘Best Choral Ensemble in Turkey’ in 2010, the choir has been entitled ‘Voices from Heaven’ by music critics in Europe.
The core repertoire consists of symphonic works and major a capella choral music. The choir has recorded many albums until now, including Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, Requiem by Mozart, Yunus Emre Oratorio by Ahmed Adnan Saygun, Nazım Oratorio by Fazıl Say, Kurtuluş Soundtrack by Muammer Sun, and two albums of Turkish folk songs by Ahmed Adnan Saygun and Muammer Sun. Apart from its season concerts, the choir regularly reaches out to schools for educational projects, aiming to share music of highest quality with students and children.
Burak Onur Erdem
Burak Onur Erdem studied music theory & conducting in ITU Center for Advanced Studies in Music, where he still pursues his PhD degree. Prior to his musical studies, he was graduated from Bogazici University Political Science & International Relations department with the Rector’s Prize.
He refined his choral conducting skills through international masterclasses by working actively with renowned conductors like Maria Guinand, Anders Eby, Volker Hempfling, Johannes Prinz, Denes Szabo and Michael Gohl.
He founded the Choral Culture Association in 2012 to create innovative projects for Turkish choral music scene. He has been elected to the Board of the European Choral Association for 2015-2018 period and is a member of the federation’s music commission.
As a training certificate program for young choral conductors, he initiated Bahçeşehir University Choral School in 2014. He gave numerous workshops on choral music, primarily in the Ayvalık International Music Academy.
He founded the choral ensemble Rezonans in 2010 and acts as its artistic director & conductor ever since. In 7 seasons, the choir performed with world renowned musicians like Nigel Short, Brady Allred, Jo-Michael Scheibe, Simon Carrington, Eric Whitacre and Georg Grün. The choir won the Second Prize from Cork International Fleischmann Trophy, one of the most prestigious choral competitions in the world. From 2013 to 2016 he was the conductor the Istanbul European Choir, one of Turkey’s oldest symphonic choirs.
He has regularly worked with State Choir Turkey as guest & assistant conductor since 2013 and has been appointed as its artistic director & principal conductor in 2017-2018 season.
Board of Management
- Burak Onur Erdem, Chairman
- Savaş Sakarya, Choir Manager
- Can Serhat Saygı, Artist Representative
- Engin Göksu Ünal, Member
- Ali Sinan Gülsen, Member
Technical & Administrative Staff
She entered the piano department of the Ankara State Conservatory in 1982. She studied piano with Nimet Karatekin, harmony with İlhan Baran and İstemihan Taviloğlu.
Born in 1955 in Mustafa Kemal Paşa. Her first voice lessons were by the voice pedagogue Azize Işık, in the Ankara Radio Childrens’ Choir where she entered in 1964. She won the Gazi University Education Department in 1973 and finished in 1976. In the same year, she won the exams of TRT Ankara Radio Choir and started there as a soprano singer.
Apart from singing in the Radio Choir between 1976-1992, she also served as a soloists in the national and international concerts of the choir. She worked with choral conductor Walter Strauss on ‘lied’ singing technique. With him accompanying, she made recordings for radio, gave lied recitals and radio studio concerts. She also sang solo parts in Nevit Kodallı ‘Republic Cantata’, Brahms ‘ein deutsches Requiem’ and many more. Between 1984-1994 she taught in Gazi University Music Education Faculty.
She started to work in State Choir Turkey as voice pedagogue in 1992.