The Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra (BIFO), founded 15 years ago by Borusan Holding which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, has put a great achievement to its name. Under the baton of conductor Sascha Goetzel, BIFO gave an extraordinary concert to thousands of classical music lovers at London’s historic Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms. 

The BBC Proms is considered one of the world’s greatest classical music festivals. This festival, held for the first time in 1895 and which has been continuing for 120 years without any interruption, brings together the leading ensembles, conductors and artists of the classical music world. For artists and orchestras, taking part in this festival which is attended by an audience of 1 million every year, means that one has reached the pinnacle of the classical music scene. 

BIFO breaks into the international classical music scene 

As a young symphonic ensemble, BİFO has now stepped onto the world classical music stage with a series of successful performances under its belt. Making its first major breakthrough in 2010 by performing in the opening ceremony of Salzburg Festival, considered another pinnacle of the international classical music scene, BİFO made Turkey proud by receiving the same level of appreciation as the world’s greatest orchestras at the BBC Proms. Making a statement on BIFO’s BBC Proms appearance, Borusan Kocabıyık Foundation Chairwoman Zeynep Hamedi said the following; 

“BIFO constantly raises the bar a little more each year, bringing a voice to our country’s culture and arts. The interest in our concerts, the pieces about us in the domestic and foreign press and the verbal and written feedback from music lovers has motivated us even more and given us the power to carry our orchestra even further. We believed that having reached a critical stage in its maturity and with 15 years to its name, BIFO had proved itself in Turkey. So it was time to step outside the boundaries and introduce BIFO to the world. Our continuous efforts have been rewarded with our inclusion in the BBC Proms’ line-up. We will continue to move forward in Europe in pursuit of our goals.” 

The music world gives a standing ovation to BIFO 

BIFO prepared a very special repertoire for the concert performed in London’s Royal Albert Hall, the heart of world classical music. Violinist Daniel Hope performed as soloist under the direction of Sascha Goetzel, Artistic Director and Permanent Conductor of BIFO. 

Focusing on composers and works from eastern Europe, the program featured Balakirev’s Islamey, Holst’s Beni Mora, Mozart’s overture to Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Handel’s overture to Solomon and Respighi’s Nigist Saba. The first half of the concert featured the highly anticipated world premiere of a violin concerto composed by composer, producer and DJ Gabriel Prokofiev, grandson of the great Russian composer Sergey Prokofiev, in memory of those who lost their lives in World War I.

BIFO then went on to play Respighi’s work to great applause and then received a standing ovation for its encore of Ulvi Cemal Erkin’s Köçekçe. Conductor Goetzel rounded off the concert by saying a few words; “BIFO is composed of artists who have grown up in different provinces all over Anatolia. Tonight we have brought you the music that unites us and makes us a whole. Once again we are witness to the power of music that always overcomes boundaries.” 

New CD released in London 

Both BIFO’s first internationally recorded CD, made in 2010 with Sascha Goetzel at the helm and featuring works by Respighi, Hindemith, and second CD Music from the Machine Age, released in March 2012, were met with great acclaim from classical music critics. The highly anticipated third CD was released after the BBC Proms concert in London. Music lovers queued around the block to get hold of a copy of BIFO’s new CD signed by conductor Goetzel.