Ankara to mark Latin American independence with CSO concerts


As part of the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the independence of Latin American countries, Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Peru, the most outstanding examples of symphonic music Latin American will be presented to listeners of the Turkish Presidential Symphony. Orchestra (CSO) Concert Hall in the Turkish capital Ankara on Friday.

Organized by the embassies of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Brazil in coordination with the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the CSO, the concert will commemorate the bicentenary anniversaries of independence.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), eminent conductor Tulio Gagliardo Varas said, “It’s an amazing opportunity to do Latin American music in Turkey.”

Stressing that this is not the first time he has played Latin American music in Turkey, Varas said 90% of the music to be played on Friday will be new to CSO.

Born into an Argentinian family in Buenos Aires, Varas has lived in the Turkish province of Izmir since 2006 and currently directs the Izmir Opera and Ballet Orchestra.

Highlighting the significance of 200 years of independence for Latin American countries, the eminent conductor said the concert will feature 14 pieces from countries celebrating their independence day.

“The music is Latin American music, but not all (the songs) are the same. In the case of Brazil, it’s traditional music from Brazil. But in the case of Costa Rica, it’s lounge music, like a Viennese waltz with a Latin American flavor. In the case of Peru, we have El Condor Pasa. It is a traditional melody that is known to everyone, including Turks,” he said. said while noting that those attending the concert will also be hearing something new.

Describing him as a “great,” Varas said, “Danzon No. 2” will be played in the final part of the concert, noting that the piece is “world famous.”

He said it wasn’t his first time performing with the CSO, adding, “We really enjoy working together. I hope they enjoy it too.”

The Argentinian conductor also praised the presidential orchestra, saying: “It is one of the best orchestras in Turkey and one of the best in this part of the world”, adding that it is an “honour” to work with the CSO.

Commenting on his experience here in Turkey as a foreigner, Varas said he felt he was part of this country as he also got his citizenship.

After settling in the Turkish Aegean province of Izmir, Varas said he “really fell in love with Turkey, and I saw the qualities of this country – the people, the food, everything”.

Noting the importance of having a “balance between freedom and security” in life, he said, “those two things we have here in a good balance”.

“Also, when it comes to my family, I have five children and we came here together. Thinking of my children, I think they will grow up safer and happier here… We have a lot more time together here in Turkey. I love Turkey,” he said, trying not to speak in Turkish.

“I hope everyone will enjoy this concert, because I’m happy about it,” he added.

For his part, Mexico’s ambassador to Turkey, Jose Luis Martinez y Hernandez, told AA that Friday’s event was part of commemorations organized by seven Latin American countries and Turkey.

Noting that the event will be part of an “ongoing celebration” that began at the end of May this year and will continue through 2023, Hernandez said it will be “a fantastic concert that will give you a sense of the cultural richness of our countries”.

The events run from 2021 to 2023 as Brazil is due to mark its 200th anniversary in 2022, while Turkey will celebrate its centenary in 2023, he noted.

To mark the anniversaries of the bicentenary of the independence of Latin American countries, the Turkish Foreign Ministry and the embassies of these countries in Ankara have planned to undertake a series of joint cultural and academic activities. The events began with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and heads of mission of Latin American countries with a wreath laying ceremony at the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey.

Regarding the celebrations, Hernandez said, “Apart from the activities we celebrate with Latin American countries, we (Mexico) have a food festival and an archive exhibition at the National Archives of Turkey, which will show documents related to relations between Turkey, the Ottoman Empire had with Latin America.”

“Next year we will have other events in the field of arts, also archeology,” he added.

He also praised bilateral relations with Turkey, saying, “There has been an increase in relations between Turkey and Latin America.”

The “Bicentenary Concert”, to be held in the New Concert Hall in Ankara, is expected to bring together Turkish authorities and representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in Turkey, as well as representatives of the business and cultural sectors, academia and the Latin American community in Ankara.

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