Tuesday 21 August 2012

Fazil Say - worrying developments

Fazil Say is not necessarily a name that you will know, but he is a distinguished Turkish pianist who studied in Ankara and Dusseldorf going on to perform with orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic and Israel Philharmonic. Now Say will be tried in his native Turkey on 18 October for inciting hatred and public enmity, and insulting religious values. The cause? That notorious weapon of mass media destruction, the Tweet.

Say had an exchange of tweets with a follower which could be seen as simply witty, but reading the conversation, could seem to call into question the notion of paradise and brings up the subject of alcohol. Now the subject of free speech, informed comment and witty retort has long been a problem with the Turkish regime as they attempt to come into line with EU norms whilst understandably wanting to preserve the tenets of Islam. But the reaction to Say's 'offence' seems heavy handed at least; he could face a maximum of 18 months in prison if convicted.

Now the young Turkish pianist AyseDeniz Gokcin has played Say's own Alla Turca Jazz on the 50 street pianos in the City of London in order to highlight Say's trial in October and support her countryman in a musical way.

"Music represents freedom. It is everywhere just like the air we breathe, and as long as the universe exists, it cannot be destroyed, nor can its freedom be taken away... Because the power of the notes is stronger than anything you can ever imagine.

I wish artists, authors and thinkers in Turkey, my home country, could also be as free.

I performed my version of Fazil Say's Alla Turca Jazz (based on Mozart's Turkish March) on 50 pianos presented by the City of London Festival. This project represents my wishes for a more democratic and tolerant Turkey in which artists, writers and intellectuals can think and speak freely.

*Fazil Say is the most celebrated and revered Turkish pianist/composer whose trial is scheduled to begin on October 18, 2012." - AyseDeniz

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