About This Performance
The Guardian puts Ilker Arcayürek “in a class all his own” for his gilded tone, dramatic flexibility and captivating presence. “He is a very stylish singer” (Bachtrack). Simon Lepper is an authoritative and polished pianist who is the perfect counterpart to Arcayürek’s radiant technique, “his playing flowing and just on the right side of understatement” (The Guardian).
Works by BEETHOVEN, SCHUMANN, HAHN, MENDELSSOHN, R. STRAUSS, BRAHMS, FAURÉ, and others
The Bernard Osher Foundation
Born in Istanbul and raised in Vienna, tenor Ilker Arcayürek has emerged as one of the most exciting and versatile vocal artists in recent years—hailed by the press for his “golden tenor” (Opera Now Magazine) and quickly establishing himself “in a class of his own” (The Guardian). He is a winner of the International Art Song Competition of Germany’s Hugo Wolf Academy, a finalist of the 2015 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World and was a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist. He was also selected to perform at Ronaldo Vilazon’s “Stars of Tomorrow” for ARTE. In 2017 Champs Hill Records released his first solo album Der Einsame, featuring Schubert songs accompanied by Simon Lepper, to great critical acclaim. His latest recording with Simon titled Path of Life for Prospero Classical has recently been nominated for 2 OPUS KLASSIK Awards.
On the concert platform he has worked with orchestras such as Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Tonkünstler-Orchester, Tokyo Philharmonic, RSO Vienna, Orchestre National de Belgique, Orchestre National de Lyon, Danish Chamber Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Antwerp Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal Northern Sinfonia under conductors such as Mariss Jansons, Ivor Bolton, Laurence Equilbey, Marin Alsop, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Philippe Herreweghe, Riccardo Minasi, Mikhail Pletnev, Lars Vogt, Simon Halsey and Adam Fischer. Recent highlights have included Dvorak Requiem with Antwerp Symphony and Collegium Vocale Gent, a return to Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, tenor arias in St Matthew Passion at the Palau with Simon Halsey and soloists from the Berlin Philharmoniker, Mozart’s Requiem with London Philharmonic Orchestra and with Mannheimer Philharmoniker and performances of Haydn’s Die Schöpfung with Kölner Philharmonie, which was also broadcast on the WDR station.
Highlights for the 2022–23 season include Liszt Eine Faust-Sinfonie with Sinfonieorchester Basel, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Orchestre des Champs Elysees and Collegium Vocale Gent as well as with Symphonischer Chor Hamburg under Matthias Janz, Mozart’s Mass in C with Rundfunk Sinfoniorchester Berlin, a St. Matthew Passion with Residentie Orkest in the Hague, under Matthew Halls and a performance of Britten’s Serenade in Istanbul, with the Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra.
On the opera stage, recent successes include his Canadian Opera Company debut as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Ferrando in Cosi Fan Tutte with Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian and for Opera Vlaanderen and Opéra National de Montpellier performing the roles of Ariel, Pater Ecstaticus in Schumann’s Szenen aus Goethes Faust, in a production to which Ilker will return in the coming season. This season Ilker will also perform the role of Alfred in Die Fledermaus at Musikverein Graz.
Ilker has been a member of the studio of Zürich Opera (2009–2013) a member of the ensemble of the Stadttheater Klagenfurt (2013–15) and Staatstheater Nürnberg (2015–18) singing various roles such as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, the title role Idomeneo, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Ferrando in Così fan tutte and Rodolfo in La Bohème. As a guest artist he has performed at Teatro Real Madrid in Kasper Holten’s production of Wagner’s Das Liebesverbot, Munich Opera Festival of the Bayerische Staatsoper in the world premiere of Nikolaus Brass’ Die Vorübergehenden, Salzburg Festival in Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia, Volksoper Wien in Lortzing’s Zar and Zimmerman and for Opera Graz the role of Lyonel in Flotow’s Martha and as the title role in Weber’s Oberon. In summer 2019 Ilker made his US operatic debut in the role of Nadir in Les Pêcheurs de Perles at Santa Fe Opera.
Alongside his commitments to symphonic and operatic repertoire, Ilker is a passionate exponent of Lied, working with pianists such as Simon Lepper, Hartmut Höll, Ammiel Bushakevitz, Daniel Heide, and Wolfram Rieger. He has given recitals at the Edinburgh International Festival, Oxford Lieder, Wigmore Hall, the Schubertiada Vilabertran, deSingel Antwerp, Life Victoria Barcelona (Die schöne Müllerin) at the Innsbruck Festwochen, Hugo Wolf Academy Stuttgart and the Bibliotheksaal Polling. He made his highly anticipated United States recital debut in February 2019 at the Park Avenue Armory in New York and with San Francisco Performances, accompanied by pianist Simon Lepper.
Simon Lepper read music at King’s College, Cambridge before studying piano accompaniment with Michael Dussek at the Royal Academy of Music and later with Ruben Lifschitz at the Fondation Royaumont. He is a currently professor of collaborative piano and a vocal repertoire coach at the Royal College of Music, London where he also in charge of the collaborative piano course. Since 2003 he has been an official accompanist for the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.
Performance highlights have included an invitation from the Wigmore Hall, London to present a three concert project on the songs of Joseph Marx; recital tours with Stéphane Degout which have included the Ravinia and Edinburgh Festivals and the opera houses of Bordeaux, Dijon, La Monnaie, Lausanne and Lyon; recitals at Carnegie Hall, New York with Karen Cargill and Sally Matthews and at the Frick Collection with Christopher Purves; performances of the Schubert song cycles with Gerald Finley as well as Mark Padmore including at the Schubertiade, Hohenhems, recitals with Christiane Karg at Frankfrut Opera and the Rheingau Fesitval and recitals with Angelika Kirchschlager in Verbier and at the Wigmore Hall.
He has presented an all Schubert program with Ilker Arcayürek in Barcelona, Zürich, New York (Park Armory), San Francisco, and at the Wigmore Hall where further appearances have included recitals with Dame Felicity Palmer, Karen Cargill, Sally Matthews and Mark Padmore. With Benjamin Appl he toured to India including recitals in Mumbai and Chennai and gave the opening performance for the highest concert hall in the world in Shenzhen with Aida Garifulina. Future highlights include a European tour with Stéphane Degout, recitals at the Wigmore Hall and with singers including Ilker Arcayurek, Karen Cargill, Simon Bode,, Elizabeth Llewllyn and Gweneth Ann Rand.
His discography includes 2 volumes of Debussy Songs and a Strauss disc with Gillian Keith, a disc of Mahler songs with Karen Cargill, the complete songs of Jonathan Dove with Kitty Whately and a CD of contemporary violin works with Carolin Widmann which received a Diapason d’or. Recent releases include a song recital disc with Dame Felicity Palmer, a CD of Schubert songs with tenor Ilker Arcayürek a disc of Ballads with Stéphane Degout as well as recital disc Poèmes d’un jour, which was a Gramophone Magazine editor’s choice. Future CD releases include French Song with Karen Cargill, a second Schubert disc with Ilker Arcayürek and the songs of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor with Elizabeth Llewllyn.