Orfeon in Brief

Orfeon Chamber Choir was founded in 1994 by amateur choristers from different professions, who had previously sung in various polyphonic choirs and participated in national/international festivals and competitions.

The main goal of Orfeon Chamber Choir is to present performances of distinguished products of choir music from different periods and regions. Another goal is to promote polyphonic choir music in different regions of Turkey. The Choir also includes the works of Turkish composers in their international concert programs so as to familiarize audiences all over the world with Turkish choral music.

The multilingual repertoire of Orfeon Chamber Choir ranges from works of medival times and the Renaissance, to those of Classical and Romantic periods as well as contemporary products, including compositions by the 'Turkish Five' and the following generations of Turkish composers. The early period of European religious music, pre-romantic to romantic German choir music, modern French and Hungarian choir music, and the works of those Turkish composers who have made use of motifs from Turkish folk music make up the basic repertoire of Orfeon Chamber Choir.

The first concert of the Choir was held at the Institute of French Culture in Ankara for the celebration of the World Music Day on the 18th of June in 1994 with İbrahim Yazıcı as conductor. Since then the Choir has been conducted by two other musical celebrities, Yiğit Aydın (between May 1995 and February 1999) and Elnara Kerimova (from May 1999 to the present).

In their early phase, Orfeon Chamber Choir took part in international festivals in Miscolo-Hungary, Harhita-Romania, and Ankara-Turkey as well as those organized at national level, recorded music for the Ankara State Theatre's production of Nazım Hikmet's play 'Yusuf and Menofis', and received a good many awards for their achievements.

In June 1998 Orfeon Chamber Choir participated in the 18th Bela Bartok International Choir Contest, one of the world's most important choral events, held in Debrecen, Hungary. There, Orfeon was awarded a special prize by the Hungarian Ministry of Culture for their authentic performance of Hungarian compositions.

In July 1999 Orfeon won the first prize in the 'Choral Arrangements of Folkloric Songs' category at the 17th Teesside International Eisteddfod Festival in England. In September 1999 the group performed at the 5th International Choral Festival in Belgium at a benefit concert for the victims of the 1999 earthquake in Turkey.

In June 2000 Orfeon represented Turkey (under the auspices of the Turkish Ministry of Culture) in the 1st Choir Olympics held in Linz (Austria) and was awarded four silver medals in the categories of Jazz, Folklore, Madrigals and Chamber Choirs.

2002 was another busy year for the Choir. Orfeon participated in a special concert by Swingle Singers in İstanbul, sang with them and attended a workshop held by 'the one and only' Ward Swingle. In the 19th International Ankara Music Festival, the Orfeon concert titled 'From World Folk Music to Jazz', enjoyed an audience of more than a thousand people and turned out to be one of the most popular events in the Festival. Right after this concert Orfeon participated in the 10th Kathaumixw International Choral Festival held at Powell River (Canada). The colourful repertoire as well as the high musical quality produced in performance brought Orfeon not only international popularity but also the 1st prize in the 'Chamber Choirs' category.

Aside from attending artistic activities all over the globe, Orfeon has been involved in various projects including concerts for associations, foundations and charity organizations as well as participating in radio and television programmes and making recordings nationally and internationally. Orfeon's story has already been covered in the book titled 'Türkiye'den Başarı Öyküleri' ('Success Stories from Turkey'). The Choir has also participated in special projects, like the Turkish Premiere of the Special Version of Carl Orff's 'Carmina Burana' with Two Pianos and Percussion and 'A Night of Can Yücel's Poetry'. The Choir has contributed to World Voice 2003 with a concert at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and a workshop that followed the concert. Orfeon has also given concerts in the United Kingdom, Israel, Pakistan, Japan, China and Azerbaijan.

Orfeon Chamber Choir has been carrying on their activities without patronage. Their first album appeared in 2002 and the second one titled '10' in celebration of their 10th anniversary was released in February 2005 by DMC.

  2007 © Orfeon Chamber Choir.