Turkish National Youth Philharmonic


The Turkish National Youth Philharmonic Orchestra is the first national project of its kind in the country,  founded by Cem Mansur in 2007. 



The 100 members  aged  between 16 and 22 are chosen by audition from all of Turkey’s conservatoires. A three-week period of preparation each summer when the various sections of players are coached  by the best tutors and conductor Cem Mansur to reach the highest international standards, is followed by a series of concerts in Turkey and abroad to prestigious theatres and festivals in several countries, such as the Beethovenfest in Bonn, Brucknerfest in Linz, the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, at the Konzerhaus in Berlin and Vienna, Rudolfinum in Prague, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Il Settembredell'Accademia in Verona, Ravello Festival, Taormina Festival, Emilia Romagna Festival.


The Turkish National Youth Philharmonic accompanied distinguished soloists such as pianists Murray Perahia and Ivo Pogorelich, violinists Salvatore Accardo, Shlomo Mintz and Laura Marzadori, cellist Natalia Gutman, and the pianist Constance Principe in the Rachmaninov Concerto No. 3. On the occasion of the celebration of 400 years of diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Turkey, the orchestra also performed a special concert in honour of Queen Beatrix, who attended the event.


Seminars and workshops on music as a social force are also an integral part of the orchestra's work, including the Democracy Workshop, which presents orchestral training as a metaphor for coexistence, respect and responsibility. For the "Music That Unites" project, the orchestra also collaborated with young Armenian musicians to form the Turkish/Armenian Youth Orchestra, which gave concerts in Istanbul and Berlin.



The Turkish National Youth Orchestra is a member of the European Federation of National Youth Orchestras.  



Born in Istanbul, Cem Mansur studied music in London, graduating from the City University (1980) and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (1981). He was awarded the Ricordi Prize and later studied with Leonard Bernstein at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute.


As conductor of the Istanbul State Opera between 1981 and 1989, Mansur conducted a large operatic repertoire in addition to his concert work. He has since worked with orchestras and opera companies in Holland, France, Italy, The Czech Republic, Romania, Slovenia, Hungary, Mexico, Germany, Sweden and Russia where he has been a regular guest conductor with the Kirov Opera at the invitation of Valery Gergiev.


Mansur's work has included further engagements with the English Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, the George Enescu Philharmonic of Bucharest, the National Theatre in Prague, London Mozart Players, City of London Sinfonia, Concerto Grosso Frankfurt and he has recorded with the Hungarian State Orchestra. 


From 1981 to 1989 Cem Mansur worked at the State Opera in Istanbul before moving on to become conductor of the City of Oxford Orchestra. Since 1998 he has been Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Akbank Chamber Orchestra. In addition, he directs an extremely high-quality music festival held in Istanbul’s most attractive historic venues.


In 2009 Cem Mansur conducted the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra for the first European performance of Arvo Pärt’s Fourth Symphony. After this much acclaimed performance, the composer entrusted him with the world premiere of his work "Veni Creator" for choir and orchestra in Poland in May 2010.


Cem Mansur is the Chief Conductor of the Turkish National Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, a young ensemble with more than 100 members.