Gülsin Onay

Gülsin Onay began playing the piano at the age of three, and gave her first public recital on Turkish Radio when she was six. With the aid of a special state scholarship she studied with Ahmed Adnan Saygun and Mithat Fenmen, and then in Paris, where her teachers includes Pierre Sancan, Monique Haas and Nadia Boulanger.. She graduated from the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 16, winning the prestigious “Premier Prix du Piano”, and prizes in top international competitions, including the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud (in Paris) and the Ferruccio Busoni (in Bolzano), quickly followed. Gülsin Onay’s subsequent, truly international career has spanned 80 countries across all continents, from Venezuela to Japan. She has given concerts in the major musical centres of the world such as Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Berlin Philharmonic Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and Wigmore Hall, the Salle Gaveau in Paris, the Washington DC National Gallery of Art and the New York Miller Theater. She has performed as a soloist with such leading orchestras as Dresden Staatskapelle, Philharmonia Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic, Japan Philharmonic, Munich Radio Symphony, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony, Warsaw Philharmonic and Vienna Symphony Orchestras. Conductors with which she has performed include Vladimir Ashkenazy, Erich Bergel, Michael Boder, Andrey Boreyko, Jorg Faerber, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Edward Gardner, Neeme Jarvi, Emmanuel Krivine, Ingo Metzmacher, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jose Serebrier, Vassily Sinaisky, Stanislaw Wislocki and Lothar Zagrosek. Gülsin Onay’s many festival appearances include Berlin, Warsaw, Granada, Mozartfest Würzburg, Newport, Schleswig-Holstein, Singapore, Ohrid, Azores and Istanbul.

Gülsin Onay is acknowledged worldwide as the definitive interpreter of the music of Ahmed Adnan Saygun, the leading Turkish composer of the 20th century, whose works feature prominently in her concerts and recordings, and whose 2nd Piano Concerto (which she premiered in Turkey and abroad) was dedicated to her. Other contemporary composers who have dedicated works to Gülsin Onay are Hubert Stuppner, Denis Dufour, Jean-Louis Petit, Muhiddin Dürrüoğlu-Demiriz, Marc-André Hamelin and Bujor Hoinic.

Gülsin Onay’s over 20 recorded albums to date illustrate the breadth of her repertoire as well as her interpretive power, with solo works and concertos from Haydn and Mozart to the contemporary era. Her 2007 CD featuring live concert recordings of Tchaikovsky’s 1st and Rachmaninov’s 3rd Piano Concerto has been acclaimed by critics and virtuosi alike. In 2008 CPO released her recording of both Saygun concertos, to widespread critical acclaim. For the 250 anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, Gülsin Onay has recorded 2 CDs of the composer’s works. Her latest release, of the piano concertos by Ulvi Cemal Erkin and Khachaturian, received wide critical praise. Many of her concerts have been broadcast on European radio and television, and in the USA on National Public Radio. During the 2020–2021 coronavirus pandemic, Gülsin Onay has become a regular performer on social media, where her livestreamed concerts have received several million views.

Gülsin Onay holds the title of State Artist in her native Turkey, where for many years she has been official soloist for the Presidential Symphony Orchestra in Ankara. She is “Artist in Residence” at Bilkent University in Ankara and holds honorary doctoral degrees from Bosphorus University in Istanbul, and from Hacettepe University in Ankara. In 2007 she was honoured with the award of a State Medal by the Polish nation for her interpretation of the music of Chopin. The same year, the “Sevda-Cenap And” Music Foundation awarded her its prestigious 2007 Honorary Award Gold Medal. Gülsin Onay was named “Pianist of the Year” in the 2011 Donizetti Classical Music Awards. In 2014 she was awarded the Honorary Medal of the 42nd Istanbul Music Festival, and later Honorary Medal from the Bodrum Music Festival in 2018. Starting in 2015, the Turkish city of Tekirdağ, one of whose streets has been named after Gülsin Onay, has organised a annual concert series “Gülsin Onay Piano Days” in her honour.

Outside of her professional performing career, Gülsin Onay has been a tireless promoter of classical music, through her charitable activities, event organisation, teaching and broadcasting. Since 2003 she has been a “Goodwill Ambassador” for UNICEF, and regularly gives charity concerts to support and publicise their activities. She has been the Artistic Advisor of the International Gümüşlük Classical Music Festival and Academy since its foundation in 2004. Gülsin Onay takes a particularly interest in nurturing the development of young musicians, and has taught over 400 pupils. Gülsin Onay is a regular contributor to radio and television arts programmes, and since 2017 she has hosted her own weekly programme “In the Studio with Gülsin Onay” on Turkish national radio.

Valerıan Shıukashvılı

Valerian Shiukashvili was born on the 11-th of November 1975 in Tbilisi (Georgia).

He received his first piano lessons at the age of 12 in Tbilisi Special Music School. In 1994 he graduated from the school under Dodo Tsintsadze.

From 1995 through 2003 he is a student of Prof. Nodar Gabunia and Prof. Nana Khubutia. In 2003 Valerian graduated from the Tbilisi State Conservatoire with the Master degree. Valerian Shiukashvili took master classes of Prof. of Moscow State Conservatoire: N. Makarova, A. Nasedkin, E. Malinin, N. Shtarkman.

Valerian Shiukashvili participated in famous international music festivals and competitions. He is invited to many international piano competitions as a member of Jury and to give Master Classes.

Valerian Shiukashvili has an extensive career as a performing pianist in Georgia, Russia, Europe, Japan, Israel and other countries.

He is a: Laureate of the International Charitable Program “New Names”;

Prize winner of International Festivals and Competitions;

Soloist of Djansug Kakhidze Tbilisi Center for Music & Culture;

Founder and General Director of Nodar Gabunia National Piano Competition;

Vice-president of European Piano Teachers Association in Georgia (EPTA-Georgia);

Soloist of Producing Center “ART IMEDI”

He has TV, Radio and CD recordings.

Wılfrıed Strehle

Born in 1947 in Schorndorf (Baden-Württemberg, Germany), Wilfried Strehle studied at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart and the Hochschule für Musik Detmold – with Emil Kessinger, Ulrich Koch and Tibor Varga, who also asked him to play in his Chamber Orchestra. At a little more than twenty years old he began his career with the Berliner Philharmoniker directed by Herbert von Karajan, from 1984 to 2013 occupying the post of solo violist.

At the Universität der Künste Berlin Strehle has taught viola since 2001 (as well as at the Barenboim–Said Akademie in Berlin from 2017 to 2020), carefully preparing his students as soloists as well as members of chamber music ensembles and orchestras. For decades, he was a teacher at the Karajan-Akademie of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Many of his students have succeeded in becoming members of the Berliner Philharmoniker as well as other important orchestras in Berlin, Vienna, Munich, Dresden and Hamburg. In Europe and overseas he is asked to conduct masterclasses, for example by the Summer Academy of the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Yale School of Music, the conservatories in Moscow, Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Since the very beginning he has loved to play as a soloist and performer of chamber music in various ensembles of his orchestra including with the Brandis Quartet which was founded in 1976 (he was a member of the quartet for 25 years), as member of the Philharmonic Octet Berlin, with the Trio Berlin which won the Award for Chamber Music of the European Parliament and with the Philharmonic Friends Vienna–Berlin.

Vıktor Abrahamyan-Eshba, vıolın

Russian violinist and teacher of Abkhaz-Armenian origin.

Professor of the Central Music School-Academy of Performing Arts in Moscow.. Graduated from the Moscow Conservatory and postgraduate studies under Professor Dmitry Tsyganov, founder of the Beethoven Quartet. in Russia, studied and was an assistant at the Moscow Conservatory of Professor Igor Bezrodny at the Moscow Conservatory. Tchaikovsky.

He has toured as a soloist and as part of a piano trio in Germany, Austria, the USA, Japan, China and many other countries. He taught at Summer Academies in Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, was a member of the jury of many international youth violin competitions in many countries. He founded the youth international competition-festival “Madrid Night” and was co-chairman of the jury for 10 years.

He recorded all the Sonatas for Violin and Piano by L. van Beethoven, the works for violin Debussy Sonata, Chausson’s Poem, Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso by Saint Sans, etc. As part of the piano trio, the Trio of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, Glinka Rubinstein and others were recorded on CD.

He performed in such halls as the Great and Small Halls of the Moscow Conservatory, Konzerthaus (Schubert Hall) in Vienna (Austria), St. James Piccadilly, St. John’s, and St. Martin in London (Great Britain), Queens Hall in Edinburgh. (Scotland), etc.

The Strad magazine wrote about its wonderful sound…

Doç.Sinan Dizmen

Sinan Dizmen, born in Ankara, took his first music lessons from his father, composer and theorist Ozkan DIZMEN. After graduating from Hacettepe University Ankara State Conservatory, he won the German Government scholarship (DAAD) in 1996 and studied at Lübeck School of Music under the instruction from Prof. Ulf TISCHBIREK, cello, Prof. Konrad ELSER and Prof. Walter LEVIN, chamber music. During his education, Dizmen gave solo and chamber music concerts in Schleswig – Holstein Music Festival, Kasna Spring Festival in Poland and in various cities of Germany. Participating in many concerts and television programs as a cello member of the “Lübecker Quartett”, he was also a tutti player in the Schleswig – Holstein Festival Orchestra, Vogtland Philharmonic Orchestra and Lübeck Philharmonic Orchestra. After completing his Master’s Degree at Lübeck School of Music, he returned to Turkey and completed his Proficiency in Art at Bilkent University, Department of Music and Performing Arts. He received the title of Associate Professor in 2008. In 2011, he obtained a position as a fulltime instructor at Ankara University State Conservatory, and took part in the process of forming the absent departments and art branches in the Conservatory. He became the Head of the Instrument Department in 2012 and contributed to create the graduate program in “Music Interpretation” at the Institute of Social Sciences at Ankara University. He was a member of the String Quartet, Ankara University Soloists, which was established to gain recognition in the field of art of to represent Ankara University. Dizmen gave many concerts under the name of Ankara University Soloists, that Andante Music Magazine has awarded the quartet as the “Best Chamber Music Ensemble of the Year” in 2013. 

Quartet has participated in many national and international festivals and gave concerts with well-known soloists such as İdil Biret, Johannes Moser, Rusen Gunes, Ozgur Aydin. They also recorded the first performance of the String Quartet of an American composer Mark Zanter during their concert tour of United States of America. In 2019, Sinan Dizmen has recorded the works of well-known Turkish composer Adnan Saygun with the pianist Elif Onal. The CD has been released from A.K. Music Production Org. and is available on all digital music platforms. The CD received many good critics. One of the music critics, Pinar Aydin O’Dwyer, has described in her article in Sanattan Yansımalar as “Excellent techniques, impressive musical interpretations and meticulous phrasing that the artists both understand Saygun’s spirit and make listeners love his music. An almost habit-forming recording that makes you want to listen over and over in a heart-touching timbre.” Having the opportunity to work with significant cellists such as Franz HELMERSONN, Siegfield PALM, Klaus STORCK and Anner BYLISMA as an active participant of master courses, Sinan Dizmen continues his career as a teacher at Ankara University nd gives masterclasses, solo and chamber music concerts within the country and abroad.


One of Turkey’s leading musicians, Akalın stands out with his versatile musicianship and skills.

As a soloist and conductor, he went on tours in the United States of America, Germany, Italy, Georgia and Greece. He started his conducting career with Mersin University State Conservatory Orchestra and conducted numerous concerts with them. Afterwards, he became the conductor of Mersin University Academic Chamber Orchestra, of which he is one of the founders. With this orchestra, he gave countless concerts in Turkey’s various cities, gave concerts at festivals and played and conducted at the same time in various concerts. 

To this day, he accompanied soloists like İdil Biret, Mikhail Godsdiner, İngolf Wunder, Alexsander Hulshoff, Misha Dacic, Ruşen Güneş, Cihat Aşkın, Halit Turgay, Tuncay Yılmaz, Pelin Halkacı Akın, Ercan Irmak, Deniz Yetim, Özgecan Günöz, Alican Süner, Burcu Soysev, Burcu Hancı, Teyfik Rodos and Hasan Alptekin. As a soloist and conductor, he also gave concerts at Izmir State Symphony Orchestra, Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra, Çukurova State Symphony Orchestra, Anatolian University Symphony Orchestra, Dokuz Eylül Symphony Orchestra, Muğla Municipal Orhcestra and Istanbul Chamber Orchestra. With Mersin University Academic Chamber Orchestra, he took part of recording a CD consisting works of Hasan Ferit Alnar, Nevit Kodallı, Turgay Erdener and Server Acim as a soloist and conductor. He premiered Yalçın Tura’s cello concerto in Mersin in 2014.

He received his first lessons from his father, who was a music teacher, and started playing cello at Istanbul Municipal Conservatory with Tayfur Çağlayansu shortly after. He continued his studies at Istanbul University State Conservatory. He studied cello with Suzan Altıner, and chamber music with Ergican Saydam.He founded Istanbul Quartet and Quartetto Turco with his friends and took part in quartet masterclasses at Accademia Musicale Chigana and Scuola di Musica di Fiesole with world renowned violist of Quartetto Italiano Piero Farulli and his assistant cellist Andrea Nannoni in the years of 1993 and 1994. He also took part in various masterclasses of Helmut Rocholl, Dennis Parker and Daniel Grosgurin.Having worked with the legendary cellist Natalia Gutman, he had the opportunity of being in the jury of Benyamin Sönmez Cello Competition, of which Gutman was one of the jury members. He is still conducting Mersin University Acamdemic Chamber Orchestra and Muğla Municipal Orchestra, and lecturing cello and orchestral repertoire lessons at Mersin University State Conservatory.


Studied with Boris Lysenko and Irina Kugucheva at the
Rimsky Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, from which she graduated
with distinction in 1976.

Tamara has won numerous prizes in Russia, Georgia and further afield. She is active as a
soloist and chamber musician and has performed on radio, television and at such events
as the Arcady Music Festival (USA), the Scriabin Festival (Netherlands) and the
“White Nights” and “International Virtuosos of the Year 2000” Festival (St. Petersburg).

She has also given recitals in several European countries and the United States.
Tamara Poddubnaya has been giving masterclasses in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Turkey, Israel and the United States, Bulgaria and Russia. She taught at the College of Music of the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory and the Russia State Pedagogical University in St. Petersburg.

For many years she had adjudicated in a number of international festivals and competitions, such as Hopes, Talents, Masters in Bulgaria, the Maria Yudina Piano Competition in St.Petersburg, the Valery Gavrilin International Governor Competition in Vologda (Russia) and the International Schubert Piano Competition in Ruse (Bulgaria).

She is a member of the Union of Concert Performers of the Russian Federation since 2000. Also, since 2003 Tamara Poddubnaya is a listed guest professor of piano at the North Netherlands Conservatoire (now Prince Claus Conservatoire) and guest professor of Portland Conservatory of Music in Maine (USA) and Long Island Conservatory of Music in New York.

Together with Rineke Smilde she set up Peter the Great Festival, giving her expertise in coaching Young Talent a place in the North of the Netherlands.