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On returning back to Bach


FEB 27, 2023 | ISSUE 11

Fazil Say by Fethi Karaduman

Pianist and composer Fazil Say is no stranger to the concert stage or the composition page. Having taken to both at a very young age, he honed his craft through an international circuit of tutors, and undertook work that has flourished into a career spanning nearly thirty years. Born in Turkey in 1970, Say wrote his first sonata at the age of 14 and studied with David Levine at the Musikhochschule “Robert Schumann” in Düsseldorf. He went on to win one of the most prestigious prizes in the United States, the Young Concert Artists Auditions in 1994. He’s since enjoyed an active concertizing career with regular appearances on five continents and with every period and style of music─from Bach to his own compositions.

In December 2016, Say was awarded the International Beethoven Prize for Human Rights, Peace, Freedom, Poverty Reduction and Inclusion in Bonn, Germany, and in the autumn of 2017, he was awarded the  Music Prize of the City of Duisburg in Germany. His latest recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations — a titanic piece of the piano repertoire — is the topic of his conversation with smART Magazine. Contemplating the legacy of Bach’s masterpiece, and how his role as a...