1. What was the first piece(s) you learned? What made you change from piano to cello?
It’s really impossible for me to remember the first piece I played. I started playing piano when I was 5. Then I changed to the cello when I started Bilkent Music Preparatory School, at the age of 7. The exam jury decided that the cello was the best instrument for me by looking my physical condition.
2. Is your family musical?
I’m the only musician in the family. But both of them love music. My dad is also very proud of his whistling skills.
3. Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
I admire a lot of musicians such as Richter, Oistrakh, Heifetz, Rostropovich, Horowitz, Rubinstein, Tortelier, Fournier, Jordi Savall, Ella Fitzgerald, The Beatles, Edith Piaf, Frank Sinatra, Queen, Buika. I wouldn’t fit the names here, so I’m just mentioning a few of them. They all inspire me with their ideas, technique, views and also life stories to create my own way of playing; musicality, technique and also my views of life.
4. You have received numerous national and international prizes for your performances. Do you think you still have room for improvement?
Of course there is always room for improvement. I have an enormous room for improvement. I think there is no end for the things a musician can achieve. And I have a lot to achieve.
5. What are your fondest musical memories, privately or performing?
The concert I gave under the baton of Maestro Gürer Aykal with the Bilkent Youth Symphony Orchestra was one of my fondest musical memories. I played the second and third movements of Saint-Saens Cello Concerto no.1. It was a great chance to work with a master like him.
6. Can you introduce the ‘Doğuş Kids Symphony Orchestra’, of which you are also a member, to us? Is this gathering a result of sharing classrooms or is the net wider than that?
The ‘Doğuş Kids Symphony Orchestra’ is Turkey’s first national kids orchestra. It was established in 2006. The members came from different regions of Turkey. I joined the orchestra in 2009. I learned a lot about how to work together with others and how to enjoy the music we made together. Unfortunately, because I live in a different country, I had to give up the orchestra. But I really enjoyed the time I spent as a member.
7. Who are your favourite musicians and what in particular impresses you about them?
I don’t have favourite musicians. How can I compare Menuhin with Oistrakh or Shafran with Casals?
8. What advice would you give to those who wish to embark on a professional concert music career? Is this your own vision for your future?
I am too young to give advices. But I would like to say that the people who want to have a professional music career should be (in Pablo Casals’ words) firstly human, than artist. We shouldn’t be selfish. We should do our jobs for the good of the others. Otherwise we are all useless and it doesn’t matter how good musicians we are. This is what I’m trying to do and my own vision for the future.
9. How often and for how long do you practice?
It depends on the day, but I try to practice 3 to 5 hours per day. If I’m preparing for a concert or competition, the time I spend practicing becomes longer.
10. Do you or would you like to teach music?
Performing and teaching are completely different. I think teaching is a big responsibility. I would love to teach music when I think I’m ready to share my knowledge with the others.
11. Do you compose? What inspires you?
I have never composed before I started with The Menuhin School. I tried to write a short piano piece in Chopin’s style for my exam. My composition teacher said that it was a nice start as a composer. But at the moment I don’t see composing as my strong side.
12. Do you listen to ‘world music’, how wide is you taste in music genres?
I have a wide taste in music genres; I like to listen to jazz, rock, Latin, French chanson and more different music genres.
13. Do you have future projects in the pipeline?
I’m quite new in The Yehudi Menuhin School. I will try to spend my time as useful as possible in the next few years. I want to continue working with the masters of my instrument in masterclasses and workshops. I also want to participate in competitions. I am a quite competitive student and I find competitions very useful for improvement and to realize what’s going on in the music world.