Fazıl Say’s solo viola sonata dedicated to Ruşen Güneş


Monday, 25th March, 9:30am-10am

Viola is an instrument that developed its solo identity later than other string instruments. Starting from the 20th century, composers began to produce more solo works for the viola. The work discussed in this presentation was composed by Fazıl Say, a world-famous pianist, and composer. Say created this piece for the viola player Ruşen Güneş, who had an international career and was the former group leader of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra; he passed away in 2020. Turkish music influences are evident in the general structure of the sonata, with a particular emphasis on the rhythmic structure in the second section (Allegro assai molto energico). The composer crafted a dynamic rhythmic framework by employing various syncopated rhythm patterns successively. The sonata provides an excellent opportunity for the player to showcase the colors of the viola, not only through its rhythmic structure but also with the incorporation of different bow techniques.

The presentation will include a review of Fazıl Say’s composition career, Ruşen Güneş, and the sonata in question. Following the presentation, the work will be performed by me (Portuguese premiere).

About the speaker

Barış Kerem Bahar, Viola

He was born in 1984 in İzmir, Turkey. He has played as a soloist in performances of Mozart Symphony Concertante, A. Stamitz Viola Concerto (Turkey premiere), J. S. Bach Viola Concerto (world premiere in Italy), etc., collaborating with acclaimed ensembles and orchestras. He has given recitals at domestic and international institutions such as Istanbul Philarmonic Institution, Izmir Art Center, Istanbul Technical University, Izmir French Culture Centre, Notre Dame de Sion, Brescia Teatro Grande, and many venues in Germany, France, and Italy.

He actively participated in viola and chamber music workshops and masterclasses with important artists such as Rusen Günes, Aplle Hill Chamber Players, Michael Kelley, Prof. Lukad David, Ellen Jewitt, Bruno Giuranna. He studied violin and viola masterpieces of W. A. Mozart with Prof. Jerreld Rubinstein. He graduated from D.E.Ü State Conservatory with the highest marks in 2007. He completed the viola performing master’s program with “Excellent grades” at Istanbul University State Conservatory in 2012. Invited by Italy’s G. Puccini Conservatory in 2013, he conducted masterclasses with students in viola and chamber music, and he gave concerts. Barış Kerem Bahar works as an Associate Professor at Ankara Music and Fine Arts University.

He played Turkish Composer Ebru Canbey’s viola works as a world premiere in Italy. He completed his DMA degree studies with Çiğdem Epikmen, also focusing on the Baroque period with Luca Morassutti at Brescia Luca Marenzio Conservatory, Italy. He continues his artistic activities and is a member of Ensemble Ianua, Duopontis, and Istanbul Borusan Philharmonic Orchestra.

His first book, “Viola Book,” was published in January 2018. His second book, “Lillian Fuchs, The Portrait of a Violist,” was published in November 2018. His third book, “A Long Story About Love,” was published in 2020.

He is working as an Associate Prof. at Istanbul Technical University. He is a member of the European String Teachers Association and International Viola Society, as well as the President of the Turkish Viola Society.