With his extraordinary pianistic talents, Faz?l Say has been touching audiences and critics alike for more twenty-five years in a way that has become rare in the increasingly materialistic and elaborately organised classical music world. Concerts with this artist are something else. They are more direct, more open, more exciting; in short, they go straight to the heart. Which is exactly what the composer Aribert Reimann thought in 1987 when, during a visit to Ankara, he had the opportunity, more or less by chance, to appreciate the playing of the seventeen-year-old pianist. He immediately asked the American pianist David Levine, who was accompanying him on the trip, to come to the city’s conservatory, using the now much-quoted words: ‘You absolutely must hear him, this boy plays like a devil.’
Faz?l Say had his first piano lessons from Mithat Fenmen, who had himself studied with Alfred Cortot in Paris. Perhaps sensing just how talented his pupil was, Fenmen asked the boy to improvise every day on themes to do with his daily life before he went on to the essential piano exercises and studies. This contact with free creative processes and forms was the source of the immense improvisatory talent and the aesthetic outlook that make Faz?l Say the pianist and composer he is today. He has been commissioned to write music for the Salzburg Festival, the WDR, the Dortmund Konzerthaus, the Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern festivals and the Munich Biennale, among others. His output includes compositions for solo Keyboard and chamber music as well as solo concertos and large-scale orchestral works.
From 1987 onwards, Faz?l Say fine-tuned his skills as a classical pianist with David Levine, first at the Musikhochschule Robert Schumann in Dusseldorf and later in Berlin; this formed the aesthetic basis for his Mozart and Schubert interpretations in particular. His outstanding technique very quickly enabled him to master the so-called warhorses of the repertoire with sovereign ease. And it is precisely this blend of refinement (in Bach, Haydn, and Mozart) and virtuoso brilliance in the works of Liszt, Mussorgsky and Beethoven that gained him victory at the Young Concert Artists international competition in New York in 1994. Since then he has played with all the famous American and European orchestras and numerous leading conductors and has built up a multifaceted repertoire ranging from Bach, through the Viennese Classics (Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven) and the Romantics, right up to contemporary music, including his own piano compositions.
Guest appearances have taken Faz?l Say to countless countries on all five continents; the French newspaper Le Figaro called him ‘a genius’. In addition, he also appears regularly in chamber music: for many years he formed a fantastic duo with the violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, and among his other notable partners are the Argentinian cellist Sol Gabetta, the Borusan Quartet of Istanbul, and other Turkish instrumental soloists. …/.
Mark Wilde was born in Scotland and was a chorister at Dundee Cathedral. He went on to study at the University of East Anglia and the Royal College of Music.
In 2000 Mark made his Glyndebourne debut as Ferrando in Cosi fan Tutte and appeared as second soldier in Stephen Pimlott’s highly acclaimed production of The Coronation of Poppea at English National Opera. Previously Mark has appeared in Donizetti’s Il Campanello at the Buxton Festival and roles in Vivaldi’s Giustine and Ottone in La Serenissima for BBC Radio 3. Other appearances include Jacquino in Fidelio for Glyndebourne on Tour, Ferrando in Cosi fan Tutte and Seven Deadly Sins for Welsh National Opera, Frederic Pirates of Penzance for English National Opera, Handel’s Saul and Cat in Jonathan Dove’s Pinocchio for Opera North (now released on DVD), Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni for the Mostly Mozart Festival, Don Ottavio, title role Candide, Alfredo La Traviata and Idamante Idomeneo with Birmingham Opera, Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia for the European Opera Centre in St Petersburg and Riga, Giannetto La Gazza Ladra, Albafiorita in Martinu’s Mirandolina, Snout A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Comte Miguel in Offenbach’s La Perichole at Garsington Opera, Rudolf in a new production of Euryanthe for the Netherlands Opera, Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia for Savoy Theatre Opera, Adelaide de Borgogna at the Edinburgh International Festival, Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria and the Madwoman in Britten’s Curlew River including a performance at the BBC Proms. Mark also sung Serano/Bertram in La Donna del Lago for Opera Rara at the Edinburgh Festival, Snout A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Bari and Reggio Emilia, Bird of Night at the Linbury Studio, Covent Garden and Tamino Die Zauberflote, title role La Clemenza di Tito, Farmer Bunce in Picker’s The Fantastic Mr Fox, Flavio and The Fairy Queen for English Touring Opera.
Mark’s regular appearances on the concert platform include Mozart Requiem at the Barbican Hall with Carlo Rizzi for the Mostly Mozart Festival, Christmas Oratorio with the Russian National Orchestra in Moscow, St John Passion at the Perth Festival with the Hanover Band and the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, the St Matthew Passion in Helsinki, The Creation for the International Church Music Festival, Kristiansund, at the Barbican and Royal Festival Halls and for CBSO, Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra and Britten Sinfonia, Monteverdi Vespers at St Paul’s Cathedral, Acis and Galatea at St John’s Smith Square, Messiah at Winchester Cathedral and in Oslo, Britten’s War Requiem in Westminster, Guildford, Ely, Norwich and Ypres Cathedrals. Mark also sung the St John Passion in Turku & Oulu, Finland, and in Hovik Kirke in Norway, as well as on tour in Spain with the Academy of Ancient Music, the Messiah with the Sixteen and City of London Sinfonia, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius in Japan with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, L’Enfance du Christ with Odense Symphony Orchestra, Pacini’s Alessandro nelle Indie with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Jonathan Dove’s On Spital Fields at London’s Spitalfields Festival, and recitals at St John’s Smith Square with Malcolm Martineau and Aldeburgh with Andrew West.
Mark has recorded Handel’s Ode to St Cecilia’s Day for Naxos records, ‘Ancient Melodies’, a recital CD of songs for tenor and guitar on Docker Records, Arthur Sullivan’s The Golden Legend and The Prodigal Son for Hyperion. Opera Rara recordings include Binet in Offenbach’s Vert-Vert, Ricci’s Corrado d’Altamura and Donizetti Pia de’ Tolomeo. Mark’s latest solo recording of Britten Complete Scottish Songs was released by Naxos in 2011.
Engagements in 2012/2013 include Sellem The Rake’s Progress at the Endellion Festival, Frederic The Pirates of Penzance for the RTE Concert Orchestra, title role Albert Herring for ETO, Messiah for Oxford Philomusica, St John Passion in Winchester Cathedral and Pedrillo Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail for Garsington Opera.