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Pannon Philharmonic playing in Istanbul and Ankara

On 21 and 22 January, the Day of Hungarian Culture, the Pannon Philharmonic is opening the Hungarian-Turkish Cultural Season in Istanbul and Ankara. The musicians of the orchestra will be playing works by the composers Béla Bartók and the Turkish Ahmet Adnan Saygun, as well as Zoltán Kodály on the stages of the two prestigious concert halls under the baton of their newly appointed chief conductor, Gergely Kesselyák.

Long-standing oriental connection

The relationship between the southern Hungarian city and Turkey dates back hundreds of years: most of us can recall the image of the Jami standing on Pécs's main square, but perhaps many also remember that in 2010, Pécs and Istanbul jointly acted as European Capitals of Culture. The soloists of the opening concerts are Atala Schöck and Levente Molnár.

The Pannon Philharmonic, with a new era launched twenty years ago, is realising its old dream this weekend: the orchestra will perform as a Hungarian cultural "export product" in Istanbul and Ankara with a production as important as national strategic institutions themselves. Thanks to being a European Capital of Culture in 2010 (just like Istanbul), the Kodály Centre was erected in Pécs, which contributed significantly to the city and its orchestra, the Pannon Philharmonic, becoming important actors in the decentralisation process of the modern Hungarian music scene. The orchestra will perform the concerts opening the Turkish-Hungarian Cultural Season on the podiums of the two prestigious concert halls, the Atatürk  Kültür Merkezi and the CSO Ada, on 21 and 22 January. The chamber formations of the Pannon Philharmonic will play at the opening of the two exhibitions held prior to the concerts. With the ensemble's programme choice at the shows on the Day of Hungarian Culture, we intend to demonstrate that there has always been a living and significant connection between artists and performers in art and culture, regardless of their origins.

The city of Pécs and Hungarian music owe invaluable cultural treasures to Turkey. The concert will feature works by Bartók, Saygun and Kodály. Ahmet Adnan Saygun plays the same role in Turkish music history as Kodály and Bartók in Hungarian music. He was Bartók's friend and companion during the latter's folk song collection trips in Turkey, and his life coincided with Turkey emerging from the Ottoman Empire and being re-organised according to Western principles. Saygun earned imperishable merits in making Western classical music known in his homeland and setting up and organising music education. At the same time, he was also passionately keen on the research and use of Turkish folk music in his works. Like Bartók, he became the national composer of modern Turkey while also being acknowledged in Europe and the US. The Turkish audience can also relish Zoltán Kodály's Dances of Galánta during the concert.



This night promises a memorable experience for the artists playing alongside the Pannon Philharmonic. Atala Schöck will star as Judit in Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle, featured at the concert. The uncle of the mezzo-soprano's father, a professor of Turkology, Dr László Rásonyi, used to be the head of the Hungarology Department of the University of Ankara, and he was the one who invited Bartók to collect Turkish folksongs in the country.    

The aforementioned events will also entail the debut of two artists: Levente Molnár will sing the role of Bluebeard for the first time in Istanbul, and the Liszt Prize--winning conductor and Meritorious Artist, head of the Opera Direction Department of the University of Theatre and Film Arts, and guest conductor of the Hungarian State Opera,  Gergely Kesselyák will take to the podium for the first time as chief conductor of the Pannon Philharmonic.


For the list of performers at the concert on 21 January, please visit HERE.

For the list of performers at the concert on 22 January, please visit HERE.




Ticket Office of Kodály Centre

7622 Pécs,
Breuer Marcell sétány 4.

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