Private corporation funds Turkey’s Borusan Philharmonic

Posted on: April 1, 2010

In Friday’s (3/26) Times (London), Neil Fisher writes, “It is the place in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony that the tenor dreads. The orchestra turns ‘Turkish’—signposted by bass drum, cymbal and triangle—and jangles along as the singer fields an exposed verse of the Ode to Joy. Sure enough, the singer for the performance by the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra (BIPO) came a cropper. But he was a German import. Turkey’s newest and fastest-growing orchestra honoured Beethoven’s Oriental homage with native panache. The Borusan Philharmonic is riding a new wave of enthusiasm for classical music in Turkey. Istanbul is one of three European Capital of Culture cities in 2010, promising such offerings as a world premiere by Arvo Pärt and a residency by the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra. … Who is paying for all this? … Enter Borusan Holding. The name isn’t snappy, and nor is the company’s raison d’être—the supply of steel pipes around the country. But, motivated by its philanthropic founder, it endows its cultural foundation with some $8 million (£5.3 million) a year. The orchestra, possibly the first in the world to be both owned and run by a private company, is its prize asset.”

Posted April 1, 2010