Five Phenomenal Music Festivals to Attend In Anatolia

Festivals are great places in the world for music lovers, without a doubt. If you wonder which festivals are noteworthy to visit in Turkey, you are about to find out right now!

1 – International Istanbul Music Festival

Academy of Ancient Music, Pavlo Besnosiuk conductor, Joanne Lunn soprano, 38th International Istanbul Music Festival, 2010, IKSV Archive.

International Istanbul Music Festival takes place during summer in Istanbul and has hosted many universally acclaimed soloists, orchestras, and ensembles such as Elizabeth Scwarzkopf, Kiri Te Kanawa, Kathleen Battle, Fazıl Say, İdil Biret, Rundfunkchor Berlin, New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Filarmonica della Scala until now. Dance companies that also performed during the festival include the Martha Graham Dance Company, Bolshoi Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Bejart Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theatre and Les Ballets de Montecarlo.

Rundfunkchor Berlin (Berlin Radio Choir) performs Human Requiem at the 47th International Istanbul Music Festival

49th Istanbul Music Festival playlist from IKSV (Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts)


2 – The Aspendos International Opera & Ballet Festival

The Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival has been held in the 2000-year-old magnificent Aspendos Ancient Theatre in Antalya for 27 years. It offers an unforgettable experience with a nice view of the city and the fascinating acoustic of the Aspendos.

Berk Dalkılıç and Saliha Pelin Aktaş performs Ange adorable “Roméo et Juliette” by C. Gounod at the 27th Aspendos International Opera & Ballet Festival


3 – Istanbul Jazz Festival

Islandman on the stage, 2020

This festival was established in 1994 and has been bringing jazz lovers together in different venues, halls, and parks in Istanbul since then. However, the line-up of the festival is not restricted only to jazz. The number one aim of the organizers is to have a wide range of music and to also present rock, pop, blues, reggae, funk, and world music. Notable artists who performed at this festival are Tony Bennett, Diana Krall, Ahmad Jamal, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Melody Gardot, Jools Holland, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Eric Clapton, Björk and Bryan Ferry.

Ahmad Jamal’s performance at the 13th Istanbul Jazz Festival from IKSV Archive

27th Istanbul Jazz Festival playlist created by IKSV


4 – International Ankara Music Festival

31st International Ankara Music Festival, Halis Çöllü

This festival has been organized by Sevda-Cenap And Music Foundation every year since 1983. The programme of the festival is determined through surveys that are made each year with the citizens of Ankara. A significant tradition of the festival is that the opening and closing concerts are given by a symphonic orchestra. It also provides an opportunity for young musicians and brings together local and foreign artists and groups. The festival covers diverse categories like chamber music, jazz, nostalgia, vocal, modern dance, and Flamenco.


5 – Konya Mystic Music Festival

South Korean Palsandae at the 10th Edition of the Festival, Reha Bilir

This festival is held between the 22nd and 30th of September to celebrate Rumi’s birthday in Konya every year and many artists from all around the world perform their local music. The audience gets a chance to listen to spiritual tunes and watch dances from South America to Central Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Mohammed Reza Shajarian performs at the 17th Konya Mystic Music Festival


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