“The Gallipoli Symphony,” an international collaboration by composers from Turkey, Australia and New Zealand, three nations who fought in the Gallipoli Campaign during World War I, made its world premiere in İstanbul on Tuesday.
The 60-piece Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra and a 40-member choir from the İstanbul State Opera and Ballet performed the premiere at the historic Aya İrini museum.
Rock guitarist and songwriter Demir Demirkan, classical composer Kamran İnce and Ömer Faruk Tekbilek, best known for his Sufi-themed world music pieces, are the Turkish composers who took part in the project, commissioned by the Australian Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
For the symphony, the story of the campaign was structured into 11 parts, each themed around an element of the battle and assigned to one composer. Tekbilek wrote the opening part, “Gelibolu,” while İnce composed “The Invasion,” the sixth movement, and Demirkan contributed “Hope of the Higher Heart,” the penultimate piece. Demirkan was in attendance at Tuesday’s premiere, also attended by other international composers of the symphony.
The symphony, marking the 100th anniversary of the campaign, took 10 years to complete, and every year since 2006, a part of the symphony has been performed during a dawn service held in Gallipoli.
“The Gallipoli Symphony” will next be performed by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in November.