The largest orchestra in the world is in Istanbul!

The pandemic is not over yet, but the culture and art environment is as active as the epidemic is over. İş Sanat returns to its reinforced hall and meets the experienced classical music audience. This time, an ensemble from far-off South America welcomes the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra for three evenings, including this evening. I had the opportunity to see his concert on the first night. Since the musicologist Evin İlyasoğlu, the author of our newspaper, was with me, I was able to ask what I didn’t know. What surprises me the most is the number of musicians in the orchestra. Artists that barely fit on the stage were over 150 as far as I could count. It’s a great production to get into such a crowd from Latin America while getting used to the minimalism in the pandemic environment. I’m asking if there is a cap for orchestral musicians, apparently there isn’t. The orchestra has already been entered in the Guinness Book of Records as the “largest orchestra in the world”!


The orchestra accompanied the cellist Poyraz Baltacıgil in the Dvorak Cello Concerto in the first part. The young cellist’s playing with great enthusiasm and sensitivity was admired both by his father, who was among them, and by the audience in the hall! I also heard the musical story of all members of the Baltacıgil family from İlyasoğlu. In the second half, the Simon de Bolivar Orchestra played Sergey Prokofiev’s 5th Symphony, again conducted by Christian Vásquez. The musicians are very young, but they played as well as the most experienced in a two-part, rather long and difficult concert. The hall listened breathlessly and gave a standing ovation for several minutes in the finale. On the other hand, unlike the program, the Bis track was full of joy and entertainment, and the musicians even got up from their seats and danced, making us all a little bit more excited. The audience was lucky. Maybe catch it tonight?

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