Biography

Born in Istanbul, a city, where the two continent meets, violinist Cihat Aşkın is known as one of the most anticipated international representative of the Turkish violin school. He has given recitals and concerts in 51 countries in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa, and shared the Turkish and universal music with the world audience. He shared the same stage with artists like Jesus Lopes-Cobos, Yoel Levi, Raphael Walfisch, Shlomo Mintz and Ida Haendel and praised by the world press.

Aşkın, who has been invited to numerous radio and TV recordings, educational programs, conferences and masterclasses, as well as stage performances, has also been appreciated as a versatile international artist, with his progressive educational side, which he successfully institutionalized.

After graduating from Prof. Ayhan Turan’s class, he gave his first recital at the age of 11 and by the time he was 15, played all Paganini caprices. He continued his studies with Rodney Friend at the Royal College of Music in London and Yfrah Neaman at The City University and completed his Master’s and Doctorate programs. Aşkın became Associate Professor in 1998 and Professor in 2006 at Istanbul Technical University, and continued his academic duties and artistic activities as the founder and co- chair of the Center for Advanced Studies in Music (MIAM) between 1999 and 2012 under the same roof. He was the director of the Turkish Music State Conservatory between 1999 and 2012

Some of the awards received by Cihat Aşkın:

1985: İTÜ Achievement award

1985: İstanbul Philharmonic Association award

1987: Best Bartok interpreter mention at Menuhin Violin Competition

1990: Outstanding Merit Prize at Carl Flesh Competition

1990: Percy Coates award

1990: Leonard Hirsch Prize

1990: Kathleen Long Prize

1990: Isolde Menges Prize

1991: Isolde Menges Prize (second time)

2002: Roma, Foyer des Artistes medal

2008: TROYA Culture-Art Modern Folk Music Award

2009: The Kennedy Centre gold medal

2010: Best string player award, by Andante Music Magazine

2014: Mersin Festival, Lifetime Achievement Award

2017: Buenos Aires City medal of honour

2018: Afyon, Kocatepe University- Lifetime Achievement Award

2018: ADD Enlightenment Award

2019: Isparta, Süleyman Demirel University- Lifetime achievement award

2021: 49th Istanbul Music Festival, Honorary Award

2021: Sevda Cenap And Foundation Honor Award Gold Medal

CALF AND INTERNATIONAL JURY CHAIRS

Cihat Aşkın has founded CALF (Cihat Aşkın and Little Friends) in 2001, with the aim for children in all parts of Turkey to meet the music aesthetics at an early age. This project was regarded as an evolutionary movement, and became a platform for many talented young artists to start up their career.

Aşkın also established the Aşkın Ensemble in 2007 to support young artists and gathered his educational activities under the roof of Aşkın Academia in 2017.

CAYW (Cihat Aşkın Youth Workshops) and the CALF Philharmonic Orchestra which established in 2020, gathered many children and young musicians under the same roof.

He participated as a jury member in international competitions in Argentina, Hungary, Bulgaria, China, Serbia, Russia, Poland, Israel and Switzerland.

Between 1999 and 2011 he was a faculty member at Keshet Eilon Summer School in Israel, and at Crans Montana Summer School in Switzerland between 2011-2017, and organized summer and winter schools in Italy, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

ALBUMS AND RECORDINGS

He started composing in a very early age, not only for violin, but also for other instruments, and composed film music and arrangements. His Miniatures album, released in 1998 became the most popular violin album in Turkey. With that album, he has started working with Kalan Music Label, with a long lasting collaboration until today. He made the first premiere integral recording of Kreutzer 42 Etudes in 2006. Aşkın’s recordings have been published by Warner Classics, Meridien, CPO, Marco Polo and Naxos companies as well as Kalan Music. Aşkın’s recording of Turkish Waltzes in 2019 also with Kalan Music (CD and LP), and has attracted a lot of attention and praise. His recording of Bach solo sonatas and partitas and Schubert’s Sonatinas were also recorded in 2019 in Italy, and published by the Italian label Limen Music.

INSTITUTIONAL WORKS

Aşkın has founded many institutional structures in Turkey’s musical life, among them are the Istanbul Chamber Orchestra in 2001 and CALF educational project in 2007.  CALF Summer and Winter schools are held nationally and internationally on regular terms.

He is also the founder and the organizer of the  “Violins of the World” Festival since 2013, and has also been organizing regular concerts and radio programs for TRT since 2014 in order to protect the cultural identity and support young artists.

DEDICATIONS

Aşkın is extremely keen on performing Turkish composers works all around the world, and as a result, he has inspired many composers to dedicate their works for him.

1988 Hakan Şensoy –Haydar for solo violin

1988 Münir Beken –The tale of Giant-

1988 Münir Beken – Kanto

1995 Yalçın Tura -Violin Concerto

1995 Faruk Ceviz –Bursa for solo violin

1995 Faruk Ceviz –Mountains for violin and guitar

1997 Meliha Doğuduyal -Vacuum

1997 Musa Göçmen -2 Elegies

1998 Ertuğrul Oğuz Fırat -Violin Concerto No.3

1999 Herman Özkalfayan -Tristezza Profondo

2001 Cem Küçümen -Prelude, Fugue and Allegro

2006 Arda Agoşyan -Violin Concerto

2007 Oğuzhan Balcı -Violin Concerto

2008 Aycan Teztel -Bosphorus

2009 Kamran İnce -Partita

2014 Hasan Tura -Concertango

2018 Cem Esen -Elegie

2020 Saim Akçıl -Paganini Variations

2020 Aydın Karlıbel -Violin Concerto

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VIOLINS: Aşkın performs with Jean Baptiste Vuillaume (1846) and  Gaetano Sgarobotto (1924) violins .

COVID-19

As one of the leading artists of the Corona era, Aşkın has been on the agenda of the public and the press with the online concerts that he initiated in order to give hope and morale to the society. During this difficult period, Aşkın also gave free lessons to students and contributed to the positive direction of the society in this process.