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The Aydın Gün Encouragement Award goes to young violinist Emre Engin

Awarded every year since 2012 by the Istanbul Foundation of Culture and Arts to promising young musicians in the field of classical music to support their development, the Aydın Gün Encouragement Award’s 2014 recipient has been determined. The fourth annual Aydın Gün Encouragement Award was given to 24 year-old violin virtuoso Emre Engin.

The Aydın Gün Encouragement Award, worth 15,000 TL, was presented to Emre Engin by İKSV Chairman, Bülent Eczacıbaşı. About the award, Bülent Eczacıbaşı said, “As the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, we are delighted to support young talents, who we believe will shine upon the classical music world in the near future. With this encouragement award named after Aydın Gün, who was our foundation’s General Director for almost 20 years and made great contributions not only to IKSV, but to the development of culture and the arts in Turkey, we are once again supporting another young musician this year. I sincerely congratulate dear Emre Engin, whom we have heard about in another project that similarly supports young musicians, as the soloist at the “Istanbul Music Festival Presents its Young Soloist” concert three years ago. We will follow his continued success with happiness and pride.”

Presented every year to a musician under the age of 29, the Aydın Gün Encouragement Award’s recipient is selected by a committee from among applicants in the categories of instrument, voice, composition, and conducting. The selection committee is led by İKSV General Director Görgün Taner, and consists of conductor Rengim Gökmen, State Opera and Ballet Director Yekta Kara, violinist Cihat Aşkın, Borusan Sanat General Manager Ahmet Erenli, and Istanbul Music Festival Director Yeşim Gürer Oymak.

Emre Engin completed his high school education at Uludağ University’s State Conservatory before being admitted to London’s Royal Academy of Music for his undergraduate education, from where he graduated with high honours. Engin is currently continuing his graduate education in Pinchas Zukerman’s class at New York’s Manhattan School of Music, where he was offered a full scholarship. Engin is also a holder of a distinctive scholarship from The Foundation for Contemporary Education’s Outstanding Talents Project (Çağdaş Eğitim Vakfı Harika Yetenekler Projesi), with additional support from Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı Foundation.

Ranking first in the auditions for the Istanbul Music Festival’s “In Search of its Young Soloist” project in 2012, Emre Engin took part in the festival, accompanied by the Istanbul University State Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, lead by maestro Ramiz Malik Aslanov.

Having participated in many festivals, including the International Keshet Elion Summer Festival, the International Tunisia Young Virtuoso Festival, and the International London Britten Music Festival, Engin has had the opportunity to perform on many important stages and work with names like Cihat Aşkın, Pinchas Zukerman, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Vadim Gluzman, Patty Kopec, and Itzhak Rashkovsky. Receiving the Yehudi Menuhin Award, given by the Royal College of Music and the Sudborough Foundation, and the main prize at the Lilian Fuchs Chamber Music Competition, the young violinist has performed at the Royal Festival Hall in London, as well as the Music Above the Park House in Madrid. As part of the Keshet Eilon Festival in Tel Aviv, Engin recorded Fazıl Say’s Violin Sonata for Israel Radio International and New York FM, while also auditioning and earning a spot as one of the five violinists to perform at the special Homage to Mischa Elman concert.

In addition to his orchestra-accompanied performances, Emre Engin has been continuing his chamber music work as part of a string trio, featuring Pinchas Zukerman’s assistant violist Cong Wu and cellist Thomas Dega. Since July 2015, Engin has also undertaken the role of the co-founder of the International Notes at the Bay Violin Festival in the state of California.

Who is Aydın Gün?

Born in Adana in 1917, Aydın Gün contributed greatly to the development of opera in Turkey. He was among the founders of the Istanbul and Ankara State Opera’s and took on the role of General Director at both organisations. In addition to the “European Council Culture Award,” Gün was also honoured with the “State Artist” title in 1988. Also one of the founders of İKSV, Gün undertook the role of General Director, spearheading many of the foundation’s events. He had been the artistic director of the International Istanbul Festival for 20 years, launched the Contemporary Art Exhibitions, which have later become the Istanbul Biennial, and was also among the founders of the Leyla Gencer Voice Competition. Gün relocated to Berlin with his family towards the end of the 1990’s, where he continued his work in the field of art, and passed away in November 2007, at the age of 90.