I am always asked how and why I came to start a charity with the aim of helping students of music. I have always loved music, mainly classical and also unusual types like Japanese Koto music or Mongolian nose singing. In my youth I was fascinated by the incredible voice of Yma Sumac, the Peruvian singer with a 5-octave range. I suppose what I must have found most attractive in her, was the use of the voice as an instrument almost beyond the scope of the usual propensities of the human voice. When I listen to her I am still struck by the almost primeval evocations of her singing.

Music was always present at our home because my sister played the piano, my mother sang traditional Turkish music and my father was rather fond of singing opera arias. He always bought all the new records that were available. I played the piano too until about the age of fourteen and then gave up, finding my own efforts on the keyboard rather uninspiring.

At university I joined the Classical Music Club and helped in the organisation of concerts at the Albert Hall, Robert College –now known as Bosphorus University.

Although Talent Unlimited only became a Registered Charity in November 2010, since the year 2000 I have been involved in organising concerts and events for charitable causes or to help out individual musicians. Here are some of them:

Tülay Uyar, soprano and Linda Ang, pianist at Leighton House Museum. The concert was for the benefit of the musicians.

10 April 2005, Ezgi Saydam, mezzo, Kim Sheehan, soprano, Jonathan Mugridge, tenor, Keith Beresford, piano for Unicef Street Children Project under the umbrella of ATWIB, the Association of Turkish Women in Britain.

11 Oct 2005, charity concert and reception kindly hosted by NatWest to raise funds for Cancer Research and financial support for Kim Sheehan, soprano. Others taking part were Caryl Hughes, mezzo, Edwin Hawkes, bass-baritone, Kirsten Simpson and Keith Beresford, piano.

Gulsin Onay for PCRF, Pro-Cancer Research Fund, and ATS, the Anglo-Turkish Society. Two concerts and receptions on two consecutive days for the benefit of the two charities. Gulsin Onay gave these two recitals without taking any fees.

Eren Aydoğan, a most gifted pianist played at a concert organised by TEP, Turkish Education Project, the precursor of Talent Unlimited. For various reasons we did not manage to register TEP as a charity and this led to the birth of Talent Unlimited.

On 9 Feb 2009 I organised for Lara and Melis Omeroğlu to play at Steinway Hall to raise funds for Lara’s audition in Germany and their continued musical education.

Various concerts for And Karabacak, clarinettist, to put him through post-graduate degree at RCM for a period of two years. 2008, 2009. On 14 March 2009, And Karabacak played with Luis Pares, piano, and Aleksei Kiseliov, cello, at St James’s Piccadilly. This most successful concert was organised by TEP. He also gave a splendid performance on 6 May 2009 with Christopher Stokes, piano, and Tulay Uyar, soprano, at the Residence of HE the Turkish Ambassador & Mrs Yiğit Alpogan. They were very generous in their support of these musicians.

Tülay Uyar sang accompanied by Christopher Stokes at Steinway Hall on 28 Jan 2010 to raise funds for her. The reception was graciously hosted by the Turkish Consul General, Mr Bahadir Kaleli.

Donat Bayer received financial help while writing his doctorate thesis.

18 March 2010 at St James’s Church Piccadilly: “From the SilverScreen”, film music concert with Kim Sheehan, Sadhbh Dennedy, Alexandria Beck, sopranos, Jonathan Mugridge, tenor, Leslie MacLeod-Miller, bass, Karen Gibbard, obeo and Keith Beresford, piano. Funds were raised for Breast Cancer Campaign and PCRF, prostate cancer charity. The reception which was held at Malta House was graciously hosted by HE Joseph Zammit Tabona, the Malta High Commissioner.

7 May 2010 Cem Duruöz, guitar recital and reception at St James’s Church Piccadilly to raise funds for Talent Unlimited.

5 October 2010, the launch of Talent Unlimited at SOAS. Dr Emre Aracı gave a lecture on the Naum Theatre, the subject of his latest book. “Friends” of Talent Unlimited, a database of members who support the charity with their annual contribution was born that day. Food for the reception was provided by the Sofra Group of Restaurants.

4 November 2010, Meral Güneyman, piano recital at St James’s Piccadilly to raise funds for Talent Unlimited. That same day news of the registration of Talent Unlimited as a charity reached me.

Recent projects include Emre Engin’s violin concert on 28 Jan 2011 at Steinway Hall to raise funds for his fees at Royal College of Music. He was accompanied by Alison Rhind on the piano.

10 March 2011. Concert at St James’s Church, Piccadilly. 2 sopranos, Tülay Uyar and Kim Sheehan, Leslie MacLeod-Miller, bass, Keith Beresford, piano, Christopher Stokes, piano, and the Bell String Quartet. Proceeds have gone to Talent Unlimited and the Royal Marsden Hospital.

Talent Unlimited will not limit its activities to concerts alone. We are hoping to raise funds in various other ways too, but concerts will always remain a necessary and permanent element for this charity whose aim is to help music students. As much as financial support, they also need exposure to the music loving public.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you are interested in becoming a “Friend”.

Canan Maxton

Click here for a recently published article about Talent Unlimited that appeared in the Robert College Alumni magazine of Spring/Summer 2011: