Symbol of İstanbul Identity
Atatürk Cultural Centre
Atatürk Cultural Centre burned down in 1970, leaving in our cultural life a great void and a sense of absolute emptiness. Thank God, the building was renovated by its architect, Mr. Hayati, and is yet to resurface in our art life after a little while.
My involvement with AKM dates back to the early 1980s. Our Turkish Art and Turkish Tasavvuf Music events, which I used to stage at the Şan Music Hall, drew a lot of attention, including that of the people who were managing İstanbul Festival at the time. Back then, Turkish Music, particularly the Turkish Classical Music of that period, was not featured nor honoured in İstanbul Festival except for one or two specific examples.
When the late Nejat Eczacıbaşı was the president of the foundation and the late Aydın Gün, the festival manager, I got an offer from İstanbul Festival and thus staged a series of Turkish Art and Turkish Music performances in AKM within the scope of the festival and under the name of Güldeste Concerts.
In terms of Turkish Music, the 1980s and 1990s constituted a much productive period. The performances we produced in the fields of Turkish Classical Music, Modern Art Music and Turkish Tasavvuf Music were always met with public approval, and the AKM started to feel like home, following the series of concerts that began with İstanbul Festival and continued vigorously for many years. Thank God, I organised many concerts in AKM’s Grand Hall and Small Hall, whose count I lost in time, and spent some excellent days and nights for which I could never express my gratitude enough and which still linger in my memory.
In short, AKM was always a major centre of attraction, bringing our classical art together with its audiences. AKM, which presents much more than a building and has become a concept of its own, is the common ground where stage plays, exhibitions, interviews, and conferences meet with the public. Buildings can be burned down or destroyed, but a concept would survive all of these.
Today, AKM comes back to life – but this time with the most sophisticated aesthetics and methodology. I want to offer my deepest gratitude to everyone who has taken part in the making of this amazing project and turned it into a reality, and I hope for the return of those lovely days when we would be able to share our works of art with our audiences.