With the Sabancı Foundation as its principal supporter, The Turkish National Youth Philharmonic Orchestra was founded by Cem Mansur in 2007. The members, aged between 15 and 22 are chosen by audition from all of Turkey’s conservatoires.
The orchestra has appeared with distinguished soloists since its first concert with the great pianist Murray Perahia. Salvatore Accardo, Shlomo Mintz, Natalia Gutman, Alice Sara-Ott, Stephen Kovacevich and Kristof Barati are some of the artists who have performed with the orchestra in some of Europe’s most prestigious festivals and concert halls.
Since 2008, when the Turkish National Youth Philharmonic Orchestra undertook its first international tour, audiences have witnessed the virtuosity and infectious energy of these young musicians.
The Turkish National Youth Philharmonic Orchestra has appeared among others, in the Konzerthaus in Vienna, Konzerthaus in Berlin (2008, 2010, 2015, 2017 when the concert was broadcast live by Arte TV, 2019, 2022), Sala Santa Cecilia in Rome (2010, 2013, 2014), Auditorium di Milano, Brucknerhaus in Linz (taking part in the prestigious Brucknerfest), the Essen and Dortmund Philharmonie, Prague (at both the Smetana Hall and the Rudolfinum), Budapest, Bratislava, Bologna, Florence, the Ravello Festival, Teatro Filarmonico di Verona, the Bozar concerts in Brussels, the Bayer Concerts in Leverkusen/Köln where the young orchestra had the honor to open the season. The orchestra’s concerts at the “Festival of the Nations” in Bavaria in both 2011 and 2014 were recorded and broadcast by Bayerischer Rundfunk. Slovak Radio has also recorded and broadcast the orchestra.
The orchestra was in residence at the Beethovenfest in Bonn for four days in September 2012. This tour also included workshops, seminars and public rehearsals in Berlin and Bonn, and these were recorded by Deutsche Welle Radio. Concerts in the Netherlands (The Hague & Amsterdam) marked 400 years of diplomatic relations with Turkey and included a special concert in honor of Queen Beatrix, attended by Her Majesty.
In the summer of 2014, the young musicians were in residence of the Taormina Festival, playing a successful production of “Tosca” and in January 2015 the orchestra played a series of performances of “La Boheme” in a production of the Royal Opera House. In the summer of 2019, TUGFO became the resident orchestra of the Palermo Classica Festival.
Workshops and seminars about music as a social tool have become an integral part of the orchestra’s work. Principal among these is the “Laboratory of Democracy”, where Cem Mansur guides the musicians and audience through a journey demonstrating the structure of an orchestra as the perfect metaphor for learning about co-existence, leadership, self-respect and responsibility. This event was also organized in Berlin in 2014, as part of an intensive two-day event aimed at cultural integration and celebrating 25 years of the twinning of the German capital and Istanbul.İn 2017, this workshop/open rehearsal took place in the Konzerthaus, Berlin in collaboration with the Berlin Senate, with hundreds of first-time visitors to this venue.
In the summers of 2010 of 2012, 35 members of the orchestra combined with a similar number of young musicians from Armenia to form the Turkish/Armenian Youth Orchestra, “Music That Unites” with concerts in Istanbul and Berlin. The members of the Turkish National Youth Philharmonic Orchestra also took part in the Greek/Turkish Youth Orchestra every year.
The 2018 tour included returns to Vienna (concert broadcast by ORF),Prague, Budapest and the orchestra made its debut at Warsaw’s National Philharmonic.
The Turkish National Youth Philharmonic Orchestra is a full member of the European Federation of National Youth Orchestras.