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hande özyürek, biography
Munich based Hande Özyürek was born in İstanbul, in 1976. Her talent developed rapidly after she began playing the violin at the age of eleven. She studied violin with Çiğdem İyicil and composition with Cengiz Tanç at the State Conservatory of İstanbul (Mimar Sinan University) and graduated at the age of nineteen with the highest distinction. She continued her studies in Germany with Lukas David and Tim Vogler as a Turkish Education Foundation (TEV) Scholar and graduated at the top of her class from the Music Academy of Detmold. She completed the soloist class with distinction under the guidance of the distinguished violinists Antje Weithaas and Joshua Epstein.
Hande Özyürek's achievements won her several awards, including the "Sedat-Güzin Gürel" Award (İstanbul, 1995), the "Förderpreis" (Career Grant for Young Performers, Lüdenscheid, Germany, 1996) and the "Young Musician of the Year" Award of the British Council (1999). She took part in international competitions; winning second prizes in San Bartolomeo, Italy (for violin in 2001 and for chamber ensemble in 2003), as well as the only violin prize awarded in 2003 by the music competition "Palma d'Oro" in Finale Ligure, Italy. The concert tour through Italy that came with the prize was a great success. Furthermore, in 2003, Hande Özyürek was awarded Junior Chamber International's "Cultural Achievement" award in Turkey.
Since her orchestra debut at the age of 16, Hande Özyürek has performed as a soloist in Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, Italy and Turkey; playing with major orchestras like the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra, the Mozart Symphony Orchestra (Germany), Plovdiv Philharmonic Bulgaria, Sud-West Deutsche Philharmonic, the State Symphony Orchestras of İstanbul, İzmir, Çukurova and Bursa, as well as the Başkent Academic Orchestra of Ankara and several chamber orchestras (Milli Reasürans, Borusan and Camerata Saygun).
On another note, the international festivals she has participated in are the Bach Festival (Marathon), Villingen-Schwellingen Music Festival, Ankara Music Festival, İstanbul Music Festival and Eskişehir Music Festival. Moreover, she recorded some of the most interesting works from her large and varied repertoire for radio and television.
Özyürek's new solo album, "FACE to FACE with SAYGUN", which was released by Kalan Music in September as a tribute to "Saygun Year - 2007", is the first solo album in which our famous composer Saygun's complete violin - piano works have been recorded. This CD also features solo violin pieces by prominent composers Özkan Manav and Babür Tongur, who were also students of Saygun.
Özyürek also came in the news recently with her winning the 15. Vienna International Music Competition.