The history of the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra (BIPO) starts with the Borusan Chamber Orchestra, one of the first ventures in the field of culture and the arts by Borusan Holding, a leading industrial conglomerate in Turkey. In time the chamber orchestra was transformed into one of the country’s best symphonic ensembles under its honorary conductor Gürer Aykal. Performing under its former artistic director and principal conductor Sascha Goetzel between 2009–2020, BIPO has become a prominent element of Istanbul’s cultural scene. The orchestra performed at the Opening Festivities of the 2010 Salzburg Festival, also received the Turkish music magazine Andante’s “Best Orchestra of the Year” award in May 2010. In 2014 BIPO had the privilege of being the first ensemble from Turkey to be invited to BBC Proms and performed at the concert titled “Oriental Promise” under Goetzel to critical acclaim. BIPO decided to continue with Carlo Tenan as Artistic Director and Principle Conductor, who was hosted for the first time in March 2021 as a guest conductor.
Since its first season 2000/1 BIPO has regularly given concerts in Istanbul, was invited to Istanbul, Eskişehir, Ankara, Ruse Music Festivals and BBC Proms and appeared at special events at Megaron Hall, Athens and Palais de Bozar, Brussels. BIPO became the resident orchestra of the International Istanbul Music Festival between 2003–2018. They had officially opened the festival every year with concerts at Hagia Eirene, also accompanied top soloists throughout the festival. Enjoying the privilege of giving world premieres of major Turkish and international works at the festival, BIPO is also the resident orchestra of the International Leyla Gencer Voice Competition.
The world-class soloists BIPO has accompanied to date include stellar names such as Renée Fleming, Lang Lang, Hilary Hahn, Elīna Garanča, Juan Diego Flórez, Angela Gheorghiu, Joseph Calleja, Maxim Vengerov, Roberto Alagna, Rudolf Buchbinder, Nicola Benedetti, Sarah Chang, Murray Perahia, Bryn Terfel, Isabelle Faust, Branford Marsalis, Martin Grubinger, Steven Isserlis, Viktoria Mullova, Natalie Clein, Katia & Marielle Labèque, Daniel Müller-Schott, Nadja Michael, Isabelle van Keulen, Julian Rachlin, Thomas Hampson, Sabine Meyer, Michel Camilo, Arcadi Volodos, Ayla Erduran, Hüseyin Sermet, İdil Biret, Fazıl Say and the Juilliard String Quartet. BIPO also gave concerts under the conduction of Igor Oistrakh, Krzysztof Penderecki, Emil Tabakov, Pavel Kogan, James Judd, Alain Paris, Ion Marin, Justus Frantz, Joseph Wolfe, Andreas Schüller, Joseph Caballé-Domenech, Rengim Gökmen, Kamran İnce and Ryan McAdams.
Since taking up the baton in 2009, Viennese conductor Sascha Goetzel contributed greatly to the orchestra’s repertoire and its new aim to become one of the best symphonic ensembles of Europe. 2009–10 was a remarkable one when BIPO released its first international CD, Respighi, Hindemith, Schmitt under the Onyx label. Their second CD with Goetzel, Music from the Machine Age, was released in 2012, third CD featuring works of Rimsky-Korsakov, Balakirev, Erkin and Ippolitov-Ivanov was released in 2014; fourth CD Turnage & Berlioz was released in 2018 again by Onyx. BIPO accompanies Ksenija Sidorova on Carmen, her first album recorded with the prestigious classical record label Deutsche Grammophon and released in June 2016. The CD recording titled Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto; Rococo Variations (2017) and Baïka (2018) performed by violin virtuoso Nemanja Radulović accompanied by Borusan İstanbul Philharmonic Orchestra under Sascha Goetzel has been released under Deutsche Grammophon label.
With a strong commitment to fostering and advancing love and appreciation for classical music, BIPO has become the major constituent of a social responsibility project. Under the title of “Special Concert”, BIPO has performed under the baton of a leading figure from the Turkish business and art scene, whose donations provided scholarships for young talents to study at prestigious institutions.
In February 2016, the orchestra went a tour from Vienna to Germany and received positive reviews from the European press. In February 2017, they performed two concerts as part of the Hong Kong Arts Festival, and in the same year made a successful European tour with Daniel Hope and Vadim Repin. BIPO was applauded at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées, the last concert hall of a European tour that began in 2018 with Daniel Hope and continued with Nemanja Radulović.
During the 2022/23 season, BIPO met with its audience via Borusan Classic, live and recorded radio concerts and on the screens of borusansanat.tv; in this process, as well as Sascha Goetzel, Gürer Aykal and Patrick Hahn, many guest conductors as Carlo Tenan, Carolyn Kuan, Emilia Hoving and Thomas Rösner, also hosted many soloists such as Nikolay Lugansky, Jan Mráček, Joonas Ahonen, Daniel Behle, Gautier Capuçon, Romain Leleu, Manuel Blanco, Igudesman & Joo, Lucy Landymore, Denis Kozhukhin, Jay Yang, Theodore Browne, Ezgi Karakaya, Burak Bilgili and Slovak Philharmonic Choir.
Updated: September 2023
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keremg [at] borusansanat [dot] com