GÜLSIN ONAY, piano
"...an artist with a sensitive decisiveness and intelligent brilliance, who is passionate and who has the ability to entrust everything that is tender as if smilingly to her intelligent fingers...a supreme pianist, full of fantasy." -Peter Cosse
Gülsin Onay started her piano education when she was three and gave her first public recital on Turkish Radio when she was only six. With the aid of a special state scholarship, she studied with Ahmed Adnan Saygun and Mithat Fenmen, and subsequently at the Paris Conservatoire, from where she graduated at the age of 16, winning the prestigious Premier Prix du Piano. Prizes in top international competitions, including the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud (in Paris) and the Ferruccio Busoni (in Bolzano), quickly followed.
Gülsin Onay's subsequent, truly international career has spanned over 60 countries - from Venezuela to Japan - and across all continents. She has given concerts in the world's major musical centers, including Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, the Berlin Philharmonic Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus, London's Queen Elizabeth and Wigmore halls, and Paris' Salle Gaveau. She has performed as a guest soloist with leading orchestras, including the Dresden Staatskapelle, English Chamber Orchestra, Japan Philharmonic, Munich Radio Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony, Warsaw Philharmonic, and Vienna Symphony. Conductors with whom she has performed include Vladimir Ashkenazy, Erich Bergel, Michael Boder, Andrew Boreyko, Jorg Faerber, Emmanuel Krivine, Ingo Metzmacher, Vassily Sinaisky, Stanislaw Wislocki, and Lothar Zagrosek. Ms. Onay's many festival appearances include Berlin, Warsaw, Granada, Mozartfest Würzburg, Newport, Miami, Schleswig-Holstein, and Istanbul. She has also served as artistic advisor of the Gümüslük Classical Music Festival since its inception in 2004.
Gülsin Onay is acknowledged worldwide as the finest interpreter of the music of A. Adnan Saygun, whose works feature prominently in her concerts and recordings, and whose Second Piano Concerto (which she has premiered in Turkey and abroad) was dedicated to her. Other contemporary composers who have dedicated works to Gülsin Onay are Hubert Stuppner, Denis Dufour, Jean-Louis Petit, Muhiddin Dürrüoglu-Demeriz, and Marc-André Hamelin. Gülsin Onay has also given world premieres of concertos by Stuppner and Tabakov. She has recorded 20 albums that illustrate the breath of her repertoire as well as her interpretive power. In 2008, CPO issued her new recording of both Saygun concertos, which has received wide critical acclaim. Her latest release is a DVD of Grieg and Saint-Saëns concertos on the VAI label, and a VAI solo DVD is in preparation. Many of her concerts have been broadcast on European radio and television and in the USA on National Public Radio.
Gülsin Onay takes a special interest in the promotion of charitable causes. She has given charity concerts around the world under the auspices of UNICEF, whose Turkish National Committee appointed her Goodwill Ambassador in 2003.
Gülsin Onay holds the titles of State Artist in her native Turkey, and of soloist for the Presidential Symphony Orchestra in Ankara. She is artist in residence at Bilkent University in Ankara and holds honorary doctorate degrees from Bosphorus University in Istanbul and Hacettepe University in Ankara. In 2007, Ms. Onay was honored with a State Medal by the Polish nation in recognition of her exceptional interpretation of the music of Chopin. She was also granted the "Sevda-Cenap And" Music Foundation's prestigious 2007 Honorary Award Gold Medal.