Turkish State Choir
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 is the principal conductor of the State Choir Turkey in Ankara and conductor of the Istanbul based chamber choir Rezonans.
He studied music theory & conducting, along with political science & international relations. Erdem studied form and music theory with Michael Ellison, advanced harmony with Adam Roberts, early music with Paul Whitehead and singing with Lynn Trepel. He has refined his choral conducting skills in masterclasses with Johannes Prinz, Maria Guinand, Volker Hempfling, Anders Eby, Denes Szabo and Michael Gohl.
Erdem founded Choral Culture Association in Istanbul as a platform for Turkish choral music to innovate and develop. He serves the European Choral Association - Europa Cantat as a board member and member of the music commission. He has been awarded ‘The Best Young Conductor’s Prize’ in 38th International Varna Choral Competition and he has served as a jury member in the 66th International Arezzo Choral Competition.
Board of Management
- Burak Onur Erdem, Chair
- Savaş Sakarya, 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.