Our travel starts in Germany, at the beginning of the XIX Century. Fanny Mendelssohn (1805 - 1847) or Fanny Hendel, which was her name after married, was raised in a musical family. Fanny and her brother Felix were educated as pianists and composers in Berlin.
Her father said in 1820: "Music will perhaps become his [i.e. Felix's] profession, while for you it can and must be only an ornament". He was very cautious about the idea of publishing her works under her actual name, and thought that it would be a distraction of her main duties of being a "good woman".
This was not the case of Felix, who became one of the most important composers of the History of Music. He took always carefully the advice of Fanny into consideration for his pieces, but she never got the opportunity to shine, basically because she was a woman.
Even in this scenario of clear discrimination, Fanny composed over 460 pieces, mainly for piano or songs. Her incursion into the string quartet was in 1835, and althought she explained in a letter to Felix that the language of the string instruments was still unknown for her, the result is an incredible piece of art, full of humble and rich colours and harmonies.
"I'm also here". In a period controlled by men, a female artist from Turkey wanted to make her work visible and recognized. Although we don't have nowadays much information about the life of Kevser Hanim, some of her pieces survived. One of them, Nihaved Longa, became one of the most famous melodies in the Ottoman Empire. However, the publishers of this piece never named her as the composer. It was not until the end of the first half of the 20th Century that her Nihaved Longa was finally recognized as hers.
Kevser Hanim was born in 1880 in Istambul, and mastered piano and violin playing, becoming violin teacher of both Turkish and Western Music in the first Conservatory of the Ottoman Empire, Dârülelhan Music School, in Istambul.
We continue our travel around the music written by women with the violist and composer Rebecca Clarke (1886 - 1979). With both British and American nationality, Clarke was one of the most important representations of the 20th Century American music, mastering styles such as Impresionism, Neo-Clasicism and Post-Romanticism.
In 1919 her famous Viola Sonata won a first prize in a competition sponsord by the pianist and chamber music patron Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. Still at that time, was unconcievable that a woman could write such an amazing piece, and it was speculated that her feminin name "Rebecca Clarke" was only a pseudonym of Ernest Bloch, the famous composer. But more amazing chamber music pieces followed, making clear that it was only the beginning of a brilliant career as composer.
She wrote around a hundred pieces along her life, but only twenty pieces were published during her lifetime. The Rebecca Clarke Society is since 2000 working for the recognition and discover of her work.
Our next stop in this trip is The Netherlands. Henriëtte Bosmans (1895 - 1952) was a Dutch composer and pianist. Born in a family of musicians (her parents were pianist and cellist), she became a very celebrated pianist in the 1920's, performing all around Europe and very specially with the Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Her career as composer was linked to her teachers Cornelis Dopper, Willem Pijper or her good friend Benjamin Britten. Her modern composition style, somehow close to Debussy at the beginning, makes a step forward in the use of politonality and continuous changes of bars measures.
Thanks to the Henriette Bosmans Prize, young Dutch Composers have since 1994 the chance to be awarded by the Society of Dutch Composers, becoming this competition a very important recognition for the young generations of musicians in The Netherlands.
Fortunately, we have nowadays outstanding examples of female composers whose work is being justly recognized.
Although the number of women and men within the composers' world is very far from the equality, we can talk about figures like Raquel García-Tomás (1984, Barcelona, composer and video artist), whose music has been awarded with prices like the Spanish National Award of Music 2020, "for the interdisciplinary and innovative character of her personal musical language".
Beside her orchestra compositions and chamber music, she is very active in the operatic creation, being recently nominated by The International Opera Awards for her opera Je Suis Narcissiste for Best World Premiere.
García-Tomás is Doctorate at the Royal College of Music, and her pieces have been performed in the most important theaters and concert halls in Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza, London, Berlin, Dresden, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Amsterdam, Luxemburg, Budapest, Vienna, Orléans, Lyon, Basel, Lausanne, Oporto, Edinburgh, Nagoya, Cairo, Buenos Aires or Rosario.
ÇISEM ÖZKURT - VIOLIN (Turkey)
Çisem Özkurt began playing the violin at the age of 12 in Hacettepe University Ankara State Conservatory. She graduated from high school and bachelor degrees with high honors. She completed her masters with Gordan Nikolic and Goran Gribajcevic at the Codarts University of the Arts in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Çisem Özkurt played as a soloist in France, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Italy. She premiered a piece for violin and orchestra called “Vibes'' in February 2017 as a soloist, written by Jannum Kruidhof, in de Doelen Rotterdam. She produced sound track for the short movie called “Atilla” by Alkan Çöklü, which was selected for the NFF 2020 Debut Competition.
She gave countless solo, chamber music and orchestra concerts in different continents and got the chance to play in important stages such as Het Concertgebouw, North Sea Jazz Festival, Gergiev Festival, Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, Auditorium Santa Cecilia, Tivoli Vredenburg, De Kleine Komedie and many more.
Çisem Özkurt has been concertmaster of Uva – Orkest J. Pzn Sweelinck, Nescio Ensemble, and Codarts Symphony/String Orchestra and assistant concertmaster for the KonCon Symphony Orchestra for Gergiev Festival.
She has been playing important crossover projects in genres such as jazz, pop, soul, hip-hop and world music.
Çisem Özkurt is currently freelancing with different ensembles in diverse music genres and works as a studio and concert violinist.
ÁNGELA MOYA - VIOLIN (Spain)
Ángela Moya started to play violin at the age of 8 in the Conservatory of Sevilla, her hometown, with the teacher Miriam Piñero. Later she continued learning in the Academy of Orchestral Studies “Barenboim-Said” with Axel Wilczok (Berliner Staatskapelle).
After getting the Diploma in the Conservatorio Superior of Sevilla with Lourdes Galache, she moved to The Netherlands to study Bachelor in Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht and Master in Fontys Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Tilburg with Chris Duindam (modern violin) and Antoinette Lohmann (baroque violin).
Ángela Moya took modern and baroque violin masterclasses with Professors like Kevork Mardirossian, Michael Thomas, Karin-Regina Florey, Kristoff Barati, Anton Barachovsky, Andrei Baranov, Jordi Jiménez, Hiro Kurosaki or Enrico Onofri.
She has played in many youth and professional orchestras in Spain and The Netherlands, among others the Orquesta Joven de Andalucía, Orquesta de Cámara Andaluza, Orquesta Ciudad de Almería, Orquesta Melkart, Archivo 415, Orquesta Almaclara, Concerto Barocco, Camerata Rotterdam, Nederlands Jeugd Orkest, Philharmonia Amsterdam, Het Promenade Orkest or Barokensemble Eik & Linde.
Within the field of Chamber Music, we can highlight her experience in Hombra String Quartet, with whom she won the First Prize of De Toonzaal Kamermuziekwedstrijd in 2014. From 2019 she plays in the jazz project Chamber9, who have recently published their first recording.
Ángela Moya currently works as violin teacher at the music schools Het Wilde Westen in Utrecht and De Kom Kunstencentrum in Nieuwegein, as well as as freelance performer. She plays a violin built in 2017 by Daniël Royé in Amsterdam.
KARDELEN BURUK - VIOLA (Turkey)
Kardelen Buruk began playing the violin at the age of 8, switching to viola at 12. She completed her Bachelor of Music at The Royal Conservatoire of the Netherlands in 2018 under Asdis Valdimorsdottir with a Minor in Education. In June of 2020 she completed her Master of Music with Mikhail Zemtsov and received 9,5/10 with a distinction for her professional attitude and perseverance.
She worked with illustrious artists such as Valery Gergiev, Jac van Steen, Nobuko Imai, Gilles Apap, Gilad Karni, Mikhail Kugel, Garth Knox and many more.
At the International Viola Congress 2018, she premiered her original musical theater production “Moonwalk” in Hofplein Theater, Rotterdam. With her viola duo Black Büyü she won the first prize at De Grote Kamermuziek Prijs 2019.
She was selected for the Global Leaders Program as one of the Cohort members in 2019, when she traveled extensively throughout Chile and Jamaica, working to increase access and the impact of music in disadvantaged communities. Kardelen Buruk founded an iniciative to present concerts for undeserved communities called Music Bridge and has been presenting concerts for the Turkish Community in Den Haag since May 2019.
Kardelen Buruk is currently freelancing with ensembles and orchestras in the Netherlands and abroad. She plays on a modern instrument made by Andrew Finnigan and Pia Klaembt and bow by Andreas Grütter on loan to her from NMF (National Musical Instruments Fund Foundation of the Netherlands).
CÈLIA TORRES - CELLO (Spain)
Cèlia Torres began playing the cello at age 7 at the Conservatory of Badalona, with Ana Moreira. Afterwards, she studied in Barcelona with Michel Poulet, Quartet Casals (Superior School of Music of Catalonia - ESMUC) and with Amparo Lacruz (Liceu Conservatory, Barcelona).
She got her bachelor diploma at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague (The Netherlands), where she studied with Michel Strauss and Jan-Ype Nota. She subsequently obtained a master's degree in music education according to the Kodály concept.
Cèlia Torres is a versatile musician who has played in numerous ensembles of classical and contemporary music, jazz, pop fusion and improvisation, having the chance to work with masters like Enrico Onofri (Orquestra de Cambra del Penedès) and recording several albums with renown musicians such as Lee Konitz (Quadrant Records).
She has played in concert halls and festivals all around the world, such as Palau de la Música and Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Spain; Het Concertgebouw and Muziekgebouw (Cello Biennale 2018) in The Netherlands; Neukoellner Oper (With the new creation “go, ÆNEAS, go!”, awarded with the Berliner Opernpreis 2014) in Germany; Festival de Inverno of Campos do Jordão, in Brasil; Jazz in Albania International Festival, Albania; Aspendos and Aya Irini, Turkey, among many others.
Cèlia Torres is currently freelancing with different ensembles in The Netherlands and Spain and she is cello and chamber music teacher at the Strijkdomein in The Hague.