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Preludes for piano
Andante spinatoet grande polonaise brillante Op. 22
Ballade no. 3 Op. 47 A-flat major
Nocturne Op. 9 E-flat major
Sonata no. 3 Op. 58
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 include 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 Wien 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 Theatre. She has performed as a soloist with such leading orchestras as Dresden Staatskapelle, Philharmonic 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 and Istanbul.
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. Many of her concerts have been broadcast on European radio and television, and in the USA on National Public Radio.
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.
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.
Photo: Gülsin Onay