1. What was the first piece(s) you learned to play? Was the cello a natural instrument in your selection?
I started to learn music with the piano at the age of six. After I passed the entrance exams of the conservatory they chose the cello for me as the main instrument. Nevertheless, I wanted to continue playing the piano because it was not my choice to play the cello. But after a while, I realized that I actually enjoyed playing the cello. And now I am of course very happy with this decision.
The first pieces I learned to play were simple pieces composed by the professor of the department.
2. Is your family musical?
No. Actually I am the only musician in the whole family. But both my mother and father have musical skills. My mother has a beautiful voice. They wanted me to learn music since they realized that I was enjoying listening to music and singing a lot.
3. Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
I admire Truls Mork. I think he is one of the most impressive cellists of our times. He produces a colourful, fantastic sound. His expression of music is extraordinary. Another cellist I like is the legendary Rostropovich. He has a very powerful sound and a perfect technique. I also enjoy listening Mischa Maisky’s Yo-yo Ma very much.
4. Can you tell us about your solo debut at the age of 13?
My solo debut was accompanied by the young symphony orchestra of the conservatory. I played the A. Vivaldi’s concerto for two cellos with my friend Botan Özsan. Of course I was very excited but played well. That was an important experience for me.
5. What are your fondest musical memories, privately or performing?
I remember one of my solo concerts with an orchestra which I gave two years ago. I had performed at the opening concert of the Eskisehir Festival. The concert was in a sports hall and there were more than thousand in the audience. I was totally stressed before the concert, because I had never performed in front of so many audiences before. But as I came on the stage, everything became opposite. I felt completely relaxed and played very well. That was unbelievable and my mood changed so suddenly.
6. At the age of 17 you played Beethoven Triple Concerto in the Hall of Munich Philharmonic. Was this your first international outing? How did it feel like?
That was my first solo concert with an orchestra which I performed abroad. But before that I had been abroad for some competitions. Playing the Beethoven Triple Concerto was a good experience. We were soloists but at the same time we were doing a kind of chamber music. I felt myself more relaxed than playing alone. Because I felt that we supported each other while playing.
7. Can you tell us more about the pieces in your two CDs please?
The first CD is the Festival-CD of the Rutesheim Cello Academy. The piece I played was the P.I. Tchaikovsky’s “Pezzo Capriccioso” op. 62 accompanied by the Budapest Strings. The CD includes live recordings from the final concert of the festival. It also includes recordings of renowned cellists such as Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt, Claudio Bohorquez and Laszlo Fenyö.
The other CD “Impressions” is the Prize Winner’s CD of the Bodensee Music Competition. I had recorded P.I. Tchaikovsky’s “Nocturne” accompanied by Kammperphilharmonie Slowakische Sinfonietta under the baton of Georg Mais for this CD. The CD also includes the recordings of the other two prize winners of the competition.
8. What advice would you give to those who wish to embark on a professional concert music career?
I am still struggling to make a good music career. I think I still need to experiment more before offering advice to others. But it’s certain that he/she should enjoy the music and be able to practise everyday. It is very important to practise with discipline and perform in simple concerts (like student concerts in school) frequently. That is the only way to gain stage experience and overcome the nervousness.
9. How often and for how long do you practice?
I practise regularly everyday. I think all musicians need to practise everyday. If I don’t, I feel that I become alienated from my cello, my fingers are getting slower and my control on the cello become less. The period of practising changes everyday. But it is usually between two and five hours.
10. Do you or would you like to teach music?
I don’t teach now. But in the future I want to teach for sure. It should be such a great feeling, to see how the students improve themselves with the directions the teacher gives. When I get older I would like to pass along my experiences to young musicians, who are eager to learn, so that, the things what I have learned don’t get lost and can be used by a fresh musician.
11. How is it like to study at the “Hochschule für Musik Köln” with Claus Kanngiesser?
I’m very happy that I’m studying here. Hochschule für Musik Köln is the one of the biggest music academies in the Europe. I met my teacher in a masterclass which he gave in Turkey. I was impressed by his style of teaching. I have learned many things from him, and I think I have still so many things to learn.
12. Do you compose? What inspires you?
I have tried to compose several times some simple pieces after I started with music, but now I don’t compose. However, I surely want to compose my own cadenzas for some concertos.
13. Do you listen to ‘world music’, how wide is you taste in music genres?
Of course I listen most frequent classical music. But apart from that I like listening to Jazz or Latin.
14. You received a whole collection of prizes from a welter of competitions. Does anyone stand out as really significant and emotionally significant for you?
My first teacher Dilbağ Tokay and my parents were the really significant people for me. My teacher is a very open-minded, energetic and determined person who led me to most of the competitions, concerts and masterclasses I participated. She supported me all the time, did her best to improve me. I’m grateful to her. She is a very special person for me.
And of course my parents supported me in every way. Although they are not musicians, they could help me very well for my improvement and decisions. I think I am very lucky that I have such parents and such a teacher.