Izmir Barok Ensemble was founded in 2008 by double bass and viola da gamba player Bulent Oral and violinist Hakan Ozaytekin, both Izmir State Opera Orchestra artists. After performing in chamber music concerts for nearly 25 years, the duo eventually succeeded to implement this ensemble that they had dreamed of. The most remarkable feature of the ensemble is being the first in Turkey to use baroque period instruments and perform in the baroque style.
The ensemble started with three members, with the participation of Tuğçe Özaytekin, cembalo player, also an Izmir State Opera artist. Atilla Oral, baroque flute player and Soprano Linet Saul joined the ensemble later. Erica Fossi became the cembalo player of the ensemble since 2011.
Published in 2013, “16-18th century European and Ottoman Palace Music” was the ensemble’s CD project, with the involvement of Ottoman music performers, mezzo soprano Sinem Ozdemir, cheng and qanun player Şehvar Beşiroğlu, rebab player Mehmet Refik Kaya and percussionist Huseyin Tuncel. The CD won the 2015 best classical CD of the year award from the Andante Magazine “Donizetti Classical Music Awards”.
The ensemble has given many concerts in Turkey and abroad. Among several concerts in Turkey in Izmir, Eskisehir and Istanbul, the ensemble participated in the “D-Marin International Classical Music Festival” in Bodrum twice. They also performed in the first Izmir ”AASSM Baroque Music Days”, a series of concerts with the participation of “London Baroque” from England and “Mare Nostrum” from Italy. Concerts in this festival were with the participation of the famous British soprano Emma Kirkby and the London Baroque violin player Ingrid Seifert.
Among international concerts were Fraenkischer Sommer Festival in Nuremberg, Germany in the summer of 2011 where works by composers of the baroque period from Europe and the Ottoman Empire were performed. Same concept was performed together with the world-renowned viola da gamba player Hille Perl and Lute Player Lee Santana at the 2011 İzmir International Music Festival, and 2013 Bremen Musicada -Tage der Alten Musik Festival where it won great acclaim and was broadcasted live at the Bremen radio. The same concept was repeated at the Antalya Phaselis International Festival in 2014.
Concert at the AASSM in Izmir Culture Center in 2018, the Ephesus Antique City in the context of 3rd Ephesus Opera and Ballet Festival in 2020 and New Year’s Concert in St. John’s Evangelical Church in Izmir on 19.01.2021 are among the recent concerts of the ensemble.
One of the most important objectives of the ensemble is to popularize baroque music and composers with the instruments of the baroque period and lead to the formation of new groups in this field.
The ensemble researches and interprets European baroque music repertoire and composers as well as Ottoman music and composers of the same period. The performance of Ottoman composers’ works in Turkey or abroad, in line with the European music harmony principles will be the continuing mission of the ensemble.
Linet SAUL Soprano
Sinem OZDEMIR Mezzo Soprano
Bulent ORAL Viola Da Gamba (Bass-Treble)
Hakan OZAYTEKIN Baroque Violin
Atilla ORAL Recorder (Soprano-Tenor)
Erica FOSSI Cembalo
Sehvar BESIROGLU Qanun – cheng
Mehmet Refik KAYA Rebap
Huseyin Tuncel Drums
Guzin Teoman Baroque Obua
Elif Aksoy Baroque Clarinet
Diego Leveric Lute, Baroque Guitar