Cihat Aşkın (1968)
Virtuoso violinist, Composer, Writer
Born in Istanbul, Turkish violinist Cihat Aşkın is recognized as an international representative of Turkish violin school with an identity shaped by mastery of both the Eastern and Western worlds, and as a cultured individual with a foot on two continents. Acknowledged by music authorities as one of the leading violin virtuosos of our time, Aşkın has performed recitals and concerts in 51 countries across North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. He has participated in numerous festivals, sharing the products of Turkish and universal art with global audiences. In these concerts, he has shared the stage with esteemed artists such as Shlomo Mintz, Yoel Levi, Raphael Walfisch, Jesus Lopes-Cobos, and Ida Haendel, receiving acclaim from the international press as a global artist.
Apart from stage performances, Aşkın has been invited for countless radio and TV recordings, educational activities, conferences, and workshops. He is also highly regarded as a versatile and international man of art through the educational and art institutions he has institutionalized.
In 2001, he founded the Cihat Aşkın and Little Friends (CAKA) project with the aim of introducing children to music aesthetics at an early age. Termed as a revolutionary movement in music, this initiative launched the stage careers of many talented artists in Turkey and its neighboring regions. Additionally, Aşkın established the Aşkın Ensemble in 2007 to support young artists and integrated his educational activities under Aşkın Academia in 2017. He organized numerous festivals both domestically and internationally, bringing together children and young musicians under the same roof with the establishment of CAGA (Cihat Aşkın Youth Workshops) and the CAKA Philharmonic Orchestra in 2020.
Apart from being invited as a jury member to international competitions held in countries like Argentina, Bulgaria, China, Israel, Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, Russia, and Serbia, Aşkın has also been invited to give masterclasses and lectures at significant universities in North and South America, Europe, and the Middle East. From 1999 to 2011, he served as a faculty member at the Keshet Eilon Summer School in Israel, and from 2011 to 2017, he served as a faculty member at the Crans Montana Summer School in Switzerland. He also organized summer and winter schools in Italy, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Starting composition work at a very young age, Aşkın has arranged and composed for the violin and various instruments, as well as film music. With his 1998 album "Minyatürler," he endeared the violin to Turkey and began collaborating with Kalan Müzik. Through this collaboration, he realized the first CD recording of many Turkish works and in 2006, he released the "Kreutzer 42 Etüd" album, a first in the world of violin literature. Aşkın's recordings have been released by labels such as Warner Classics, Meridien, CPO, Marco Polo, and Naxos in addition to Kalan Müzik. His most recent project, "Turkish Waltzes," recorded with Kalan Müzik in 2019 and released as both a CD and LP, received wide acclaim. In 2019, Cihat Aşkın's recordings of "Bach Solo Sonatas and Partitas" and Schubert's sonatinas, made in Italy, were released on CD by the Italian Limen Music label.
Aşkın, who has contributed to the music world through various institutions, started the Istanbul Chamber Orchestra in 2001 and began performing season concerts. Under the CAKA educational project, he organized educational concerts in different cities of Turkey and has regularly conducted CAKA Summer and Winter schools domestically and internationally since 2007. Organizing the "World's Violins" festival since 2013, Aşkın has also been hosting regular concerts and radio programs at TRT since 2014, aiming to preserve cultural identity and support young artists.