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Istanbul Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1961, by Dr. Hamit Alacalioglu. Between 1961-1972, they gave concerts with soloists and musicians of the time and made live recordings at TRT Istanbul Radio. Between 1972-2001, worked with different conductors and re-started giving regular concerts.


The orchestra revived in the leadership of Cihat Askin and Hakan Sensoy and by giving concerts across the country, became one of the most respected ensembles in Turkey.


Between 2001-2009, they gave over a hundred concerts, mainly worked with young Turkish soloists and performed Turkish pieces and realized the first performances of 32 pieces.


The orchestra accompanied world famous violinist Shlomo Mintz in one of the concerts that took place in the 31st Istanbul Music Festival.  In 2004, they performed in the NATO summit. Also, they have been invited to Germany, Albania, Bulgaria, Israel, Italy and Pakistan.


In 2008, the classical music journal Andante, gave 2 CD’s of the orchestra’s concert recordings as a present to its readers. Concert recordings do continue.


The orchestra consists of young and talented musicians whom accompanied extraordinary soloists such as Shlomo Mintz, Raphael Walfisch, Fazil Say, Cihat Askin, Tedi Papavrami, Peter Jablonsky, Bruno Schneider, Gulsin Onay, Emre Elivar, Keneth Hamilton, Suela Mulaj and conductors such as

Rengim Gokmen, Emin Guven Yaslicam, Hakan Sensoy, Miachel Nebe, Ertug Korkmaz, Cem Mansur, Naci Ozguc. Between 2004-2009, in cooperation with Kadikoy Municipality, they performed under the name of Kadikoy Municipality Istanbul Chamber Orchestra at Caddebostan Cultural Center, Kadikoy Public Education Center, Irmak Schools monthly.


Since 2006, Hakan Sensoy is the general music director and permanent conductor of the orchestra.






Founded by Hakan Sensoy and Cihat Askin in 2004, Philharmonia Istanbul is formed by adding wind and percussion instruments to the Istanbul Chamber Orchestra. The orchestra continues its works with the conductor Hakan Sensoy.


They performed in Cemal Resit Rey Concert Hall, Kadikoy Municipality Center and Caddebostan Cultural Center with world famous soloist such as Fazil Say, Cihat Askin, Peter Jablonsky, Rafael Wallfisch, Tedi Papavrami, Suela Mulaj, Bruno Schneider, Mahir Kalmek and Shlomo Mintz. Also accompanied extraordinary music groups such as Terence Blanched Band, Bee Gees Band, George Benson Band.


In order to introduce and popularize classical music among the public, they gave concerts in Bodrum, Aydin, Istanbul and Izmir between 2005-2007. In 2009, they performed in Istanbul Jazz Festival and be mentioned in important media organs.


The orchestra realized the first performances of 32 Turkish pieces. They have been invited to Israel, Holland, Sewden, Italy and Germany.

Both Istanbul Chamber Orchestra and Philharmonia Istanbul give oppurtunity to talented young musicians of their own, to build their own career as soloists. Only in between 2005-2006 13 young Turkish musicians performed as soloists in the concerts.







Born in Istanbul, Cihat Aşkın started his violin lessons at the age of 11 with Prof. Ayhan Turan, at the Turkish Music State Conservatory of Istanbul Technical University, graduating in 1989. He completed his studies in London, studying under Rodney Friend at the Royal College of Music (where he took all the major solo and chamber music awards), and Yfrah Neaman at City University (1992-96, doctorate programme). Upon his arrival in Istanbul he was appointed as a violin professor in 1998 and founded the Advanced Music Research Center (MIAM) and became its first director in 2000 and appointed as an academic Professor in 2006 at ITU.  


He gave his first recital at the age of 12 and was able to play all Paganini Caprices before he was 15. After his recital in 1983 he was invited by the Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra to play Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. Since then Cihat Askin became a prominent figure in the music life and he has been a regular soloist for all the major orchestras of Turkey. He has been invited to give recitals all through Turkey,and made tours as concertist and recitalist to Europe,Asia,Africa and the USA. Askin has appeared with violinist Shlomo Mintz and Ida Haendel, conductors such as J.L.Cobos, Yoel Levi and Alexander Dimitriev and orchetras such as Lausanne Chamber, Hannover NDR Symphony, Dusseldorf Philharmonic, Prag Symphony, Ukraine National Philharmonic and Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra. He was also invited to International Festivals in Turkey, Spain, Belgium, UK, Hungary, Bulgaria, Tunisia and Holland.  


Among his many prizes may be mentioned, the Istanbul Philharmonic Society Award, The Best Bartók interpreter at the 1987 Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition, Outstanding Merit Prize at the 1990 London Carl Flesch International Violin Competition and Foyer des Artistes (Italy, 2002).  


A noted champion and broadcaster of modern Turkish music, Cihat Askin has recorded extensively for Hungaroton, Kalan Müzik, Discovery, Meridian, CPO and UPR Classics, releases including Mozart's Fifth Violin Concerto . His album (Invitation to the Seraglio /Emre Aracı) was released from Warner Classics. He recently released the first integral recording of Kreutzer 42 etudes and highly acclaimed by the ciritics.  


Cihat Aşkın has been invited as a violin teacher to Keshet Eilon Violin Masterclasses in Israel where he teaches as a faculty member since 1999. He served as a jury member in many international competitions in Sofia, Poland, Tel Aviv and Sion.  


Apart from being a performer Aşkın composes pieces for violin and various instruments. His transcriptions for violin and piano are published by Pan Edition of Istanbul.  


Aşkın became the founder and music director of the Istanbul Chamber Orchestra and was the founder of the Istanbul Modern Music Ensemble (IMME). He also established an educational project called CAKA 'Cihat Aşkın and Little Friends' which develops the violin education throughout Turkey. He recently established the 'Aşkın Ensemble' which performs variety of music from chamber works to experimental Turkish music.  


Cihat Askin is currently Professor of Music at the Turkish State Music Conservatory, He uses a violin by Jean Baptiste Vuillaume (1846) in his concerts.



A world-renowned violinist and conductor, Maestro Hakan Sensoy’s musical career first started at the State Conservatory of Istanbul’s Accelerated Special Violin Education Program for young prodigies, taught by the eminent pedagogue Professor Ayhan Turan. As a violinist, Maestro Sensoy furthered his education with Trevor Williams at the London Royal College of Music, and later with the Russian violinist and pedagogue Victor Pikaisen, as well as the celebrated Turkish State artist Ayla Erduran. At age 16, he was named “Most Successful Artist of the Year” by the Istanbul Philharmonic Association. That year he received the most significant award of the Istanbul Technical University, “Superior Success in an Artistic Branch,” given only four times in its entire history. Since his first solo recital at the age of 13, he has appeared as a soloist in some of the most significant concert halls in Europe and the United States, including the Louvre Auditorium in Paris and Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York. On numerous occasions he has performed in such international festivals as the Bari Christoph Colombus Festival, the Istanbul Music Festival, the Izmir Music Festival, the Ankara Music Festival, the Istanbul CRR Young Soloists Festival, the Brasov Chamber Music Festival, the Malmö “Falsterbonasets” Summer Festival, International Como Music Festival and the Swedish Karlskrona Music Festival. In addition, he has performed in other venues in Italy, France, Switzerland, Bulgaria, USA, Romania, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Sweden, Finland, Greece, Kosovo England, Australia, Venezuela, Mexico, Czech Republic, Albania, Bosnia Herzagovina, Macedonia, Cyprus and Turkey.  

Hakan Sensoy’s study of conducting started when he was 16 under the legendary Turkish conductor Demirhan Altug. He furthered his education with Maestro Emin Güven Yaslicam and Gianluigi Gelmetti at the Accademia Cicciana di Sienna. Since then he has conducted some of the most significant soloists of our time, including Sholomo Mintz, Raphael Walfisch, Fazil Say, Cihat Askin, Tedi Papavrami, Peter Jablonsky, Gülsin Onay, Emre Elivar, Milos Karadaglich, and Kenneth Hamilton. As a conductor, he also worked with Terence Blanced, the Bee Gees, Dreamtone, George Benson and Iris Mavraki’s Neverland. Hakan Sensoy is a founding member of the Akbank Chamber Orchestra, and the founder and artistic director of the Istanbul Chamber Orchestra and the Filarmonia Istanbul Orchestra.  

Maestro Sensoy conducted or performed on the violin the world premieres of several new works by contemporary composers. On a regular basis he commissions composers to write new works for violin as well as for his orchestra Filarmonia Istanbul. Turkish-American composer Münir Beken dedicated his first symphony to Maestro Sensoy.  

Hakan Sensoy has appeared in numerous radio and television programs all over the world. Kalan Music and AFM Records have recorded his performances as violinist and conductor.  

Maestro Sensoy holds a doctoral degree in music from the Istanbul Technical University. Currently he is a professor of violin at the State Conservatory of Istanbul Technical University.  

During the 2013-2014 season, Maestro Sensoy has been invited to perform as a violinist and conductor such countries United States, England, Mexico, Russia, Italy, Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia Herzagovina, Kosova, Sweden, France, Bulgaria and Germany.