Just in: Berlin Philharmonic admits its first Turkish violinist

Just in: Berlin Philharmonic admits its first Turkish violinist


norman lebrecht

December 08, 2020

Originally from Adana, Hande Küden was confirmed today – after a year’s trial – as a member of the Berlin Philharmonic’s first violin section.

Turkish musicians are calling it an historic day.

After studies at the State Conservatory in Adana and at the Hanns Eisler School of Music Berlin, Hande  trained with Tabea Zimmermann from 2015 in both violin and viola. Her first job before the Berlin Phil was as deputy concertmaster of the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin.


  • Alan Overton says:

    Are you sure she’s Turkish?

    • Berlinerin says:

      Why are you questioning this?

    • BruceB says:

      What a strange question. Could you explain why you ask it?

    • L says:

      You’re right, she might not be entirely Turkish. As Adana is in Cilicia, in the south-east of Turkey, she may have a mixed background of Kurdish Armenian, Azeri, etc. Thanks for the stupid question.

      That being said, are you sure your name is Alan Overton?

      • Alan Overton says:

        I only ask because a few days ago Norman told everyone here that Dave Brubeck’s mother was English. Despite being told that she was born in California he refuses to correct his mistake and allows the misinformation to stand. So excuse me if I can’t trust anything he says about anybody’s nationality.

        • Nancy says:

          Racism is a product of a distorted mind that can be healed. One needs to acknowledge it first without identifying with it further or defending it by all means. This curiosity over one’s nationality which you attempted to rationalize poorly by a prior example of a mistake happened recently was not convincing at all given the cultural & social context you reside in.

        • BruceB says:

          Okay. NOW it makes sense.

          You must be new here if that kind of thing still bothers you. (Brubeck’s allegedly English mother is one of NL’s smaller examples. He rarely corrects, and never apologizes.) Welcome to Slipped Disc!

          The headlines are often misleading, or, shall we say, involve wordplay. It’s often necessary to read the linked article (if there is one, and if it isn’t behind a paywall) to find out what he’s actually talking about. Frequently, 15 seconds of Googling can clear up questions like this.

          In the meantime, you might want to know that without an explanation, your question looks racist, or at the least chauvinistic. With no info given on why the question is being asked, it looks like you are trying to cast doubt on the true nationality of the violinist. We do get a fair number of people on here claiming that someone was only hired because they’re from a certain ethnic group, or of a certain sex or sexual orientation, and they often phrase their questions in a frame of “how many better-qualified men/ whites/ heterosexuals/ citizens-of-the-country-in-question were passed over in order to tick this particular PC box?” Without an explanation, this looks like one of those questions.

          (Notice the number of upvotes your clarification has gotten. Your original question would likely have gotten that many if you’d explained at the outset.) (Yes, we do in fact have to spell everything out for people on the internet. It’s a characteristic of the medium, not — usually — the people reading. Understanding each other face to face is hard enough; it’s much more difficult without a context.)

  • RW2013 says:

    It has always been a pleasure to watch her playing up front with the DSO.

  • David says:

    Congratulations! Good for her and the BPO.

  • Qwerty1234 says:

    Congrats! What a fantastic player.

  • Howard says:


  • Axl says:

    Actually Munich Phil’s principal bassist Fora Baltacigil (who was also shortly principal in New York Phil) was appointed to Berlin Phil in 2009 but he didn’t pass the trial or decide to leave ensemble. So Ms. Küden isn’t first Turkish in trial but first who is now permanent member