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Turkish Pianist Idil Ülgen plays Mozart and Chopin at the DIA

As a fiercely nationalistic individual, Chopin composed seven Polonaises, that even now in the 21st Century reflect the patriotic essence of his country. And although a polonaise was originally a sober processional first dance performed at a formal ball in Poland, Chopin turned this music into impressive dramatic concertos, which Turkish pianist Idil Ülgen interpreted to perfection last Saturday, November 24th, at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Turkish Pianist Idil Ülgen performed at the Rivera Court of the DIA on Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Idil Ülgen regaled her international audience at the Rivera Court with the notes of two of Chopin´s exciting Polonaises, a Sonata and Turkish March by Mozart, culminating with typical Turkish music. A Turkish, British, Mexican, and American audience filled the Court. There were no seats left.

Educated at the Istanbul University State Conservatory in Turkey, Idil later attended the Mozarteum Academy in Salzburg, Austria, before moving to the US. Once here, she continued to study piano with Joseph Gurt at Eastern Michigan University. After winning the first prize at the university´s Graduate Music Award and Concerto Competitions, Idil later became herself a member of the piano faculty at EMU.

Idil Ülgen is an international artist with great experience. She has performed in solo and chamber music recitals, as well as in orchestra concerts, not only in the US, but also in Austria, Canada, and in her native Turkey. Her recital at the DIA last week included music by Mozart, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and piano transcriptions of popular Turkish band music.

On February 24th, 2012, Idil had performed at a recital entitled “Baroque Splendour” at the Flint Institute of Arts during the 50thAnniversary of the opening of the Viola E. Bray Renaissance Gallery. She has also performed with Dan Foster, Professor of Violin at EMU, and in 2010, Idil played in San Diego, California, to help raise funds at a benefit concert.

Passing the millage to increase funds by up to $23 million a year for the DIA will allow the museum to continue its great work for 10 more years, and this will allow visitors and locals alike access not only to visual art, but to some of the world´s greatest music, too.

…and the audience was in for a pleasant surprise at the recital. During the intermission, a young man from Detroit spontaneously sat at the grand piano and began to play, showing how events such as Saturday’s recital -- courtesy of the Turkish American Cultural Association of Michigan, in collaboration with the DIA -- are changing the mood in Detroit.

Idil Ülgen´s impressive piano recital is an excellent example of what the DIA has to offer. On September 28th, 2012, Mexican Tenor Juan Pablo Contreras also performed at the Rivera Court, accompanied by Mexican pianist Elena Palomar, and sang in Spanish songs by Manuel de Falla and Manuel Ponce.

During the second half of her recital, Idil Ülgen delighted the audience with Chopin´s Polonaise Heroique, and concluded with a series of Turkish Inspirational Marches and Dances, transcribed for piano by Ülgen herself.

Attendants to the recital included the Hon. Nurten Ural, Honorary Consul General of Turkey in Michigan; the Hon. Vicente Sánchez-Ventura, Consul of Mexico in Detroit and his family; and a large international crowd, who delighted in the opportunity to listen to music from faraway


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