Pianist is thrown out of his own festival

Pianist is thrown out of his own festival


norman lebrecht

July 14, 2014

We’re saddened to read that Fazil Say, the controversial Turkish pianist and composer, has been fired as director of the festival he founded in Antalya. The town’s new mayor belongs to the ruling Islamo-fundamentalist party. Fazil, an avowed atheist, has been prosecuted in Turkey for the crime of heresy.

The mayor of Antalya has appointed the conductor  Gürer Aykal as the festival’s new director.

Musicians should give it a miss.





  • sanatci says:

    This is not accurate. By his own account (on Twitter) Fazıl resigned from directing the festival, saying that he was not able to work with the mayor (who indeed belongs to AKP, the governing party). This was his own choice, he was certainly not fired.

    Most Turkish classical musicians (like myself) have no sympathy for AKP, and under them classical music in this country (also other “western” arts) is threatened. But people need to support events like the Antalya Festival, not boycott them. Gürer Aykal is a lifelong promoter of classical music in Turkey, and performers and audiences should respect his attempts to keep it alive.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      He resigned under pressure from the mayor, who made all sorts of threats. That’s the same as being thrown out.

      • sanatci says:

        Your source for this (and the rest of the story)?

        As I said, I have no sympathy with this mayor or his party, but Fazıl’s attitude has been deliberately confrontational. On Twitter and Facebook he is even abusive towards Gürer Aykal, who has always worked in support of classical music in Turkey.

  • Mehmet Erhan Tanman says:

    He was not under pressure from the new mayor, it was his choice to resign from festival. He himself told that he doesnt want to work with a politician from AKP, and left his own festival because of this reason. Nobody told him to resign, nobody said “we dont want to work with Mr. Say”

    Thats the reality.

  • Robert Garbolinski says:

    Then the oranisers are stupid plonkers and that is putting it politely. Politics and religion have no place in music. IT IS ONLY THE MUSIC THAT MATTERS, it transcends everything and any individual/organization that thinks otherwise should not be in their office!