I have never travelled as much as I did since late November. It started with a trip to Shiraz, Iran. I have been invited to the teach in Iran since last year. So every few months I am flying to Tehran, but this time I visited Shiraz. As a guest of my dear colleague Fattaneh Shahin I paid a visit to the tomb of one of the greatest poets of history.: Hafiz-, Shirazi. I taught talented young harpists, met their amazing families. Played with local musicians. I am in love with Iran ever since my first visit.
Then came a trip to Hungary, to Szeged where I served as a member of the jury of International Szeged Harp Competition. I made sure to pay a morning visit in Budapest before heading to Szeged. The competition featured an amazing level of talent to my opinion. Although a judge of the under 19 year-old category I was just amazed at how the technique of harp playing has evolved, with contestants coming from all around the world. It was lso a lovely occasion to meet with new and old colleagues. And I will not forget the playing I heard, not the sour cherry, apricot and apple strudels, which were out of this world.
Shortly after Hungary I was in Ankara to attend a televised concert where a song I was commissioned to compose was premiered. Six Turkish composers were asked to set to music poems by Iraqi poets from the Kerkuk region.
I then went to France to accompany friends from my rotary branch in Istanbul. I visited Camac Harpes in Paris who generously lent me a lever harp for a private concert for fellow rotarians in Valenciennes. This northern town is beautiful. A visit to the conservatory where I was greeted by Prof Martine Dompierre was very fructitious in establishing some new grounds of co-operation. Alain Degand from the Rotary Club of Valenciennes made sure our trip ran smoothly and I absolutely loved the guided visit to the library where I had the occasion to see one of the very first manuscripts of polyphony rendered by Jesuit priests. I then returned to Izmir to complete my next recording, the 12th. It is based on the tradition of Turkish baths. More coming on this…
New year’s was spent with guests at home. The Uymaz family from Izmir. A lovely moment my mother did not miss to engrave in our memories, a tea time birthday party for me. Thank you everyone.