Professional Training and Academic Success

A soloist who played at concerts worldwide, has also touched the lives of children through conducting workshops, doing educational television series and working in community out-reach programs. Following the 19 years she spent in New York, Berlin and Copenhagen, she returned to Turkey and shared her experiences with students at Bilkent University. She came to realize that in order to create a lasting impact in music educati- on, it was a necessity to start working with children from a very early stage. Upon receiving her pedagogical training at Juilliard, one of the most respected schools in the field, she founded BT Music in 1997. Our education program aims at creating a lifelong friendship by making sure that music and theater become a lasting asset in the lives of children. Our education philosophy is that every child can play a musical instrument and can express himself or herself on stage. The most important feature of our education program is to have a curriculum that not only develops the students music and performing skills, but also helps them in their personal, social and academic lives. BT Music was initially founded to give education on musical instruments, throughout the years we have expanded by adding activities, courses and programs such as; First Step to Music, First Step to Piano, Rock-Pop Orchestra, Rhythm-Percussion Group, Guitar Orchestra, Musical Theater, Dance, Programs for Adults, Teacher Training Program, Music Counseling, Summer Camp, International Educational Excursions, International Projects and Social Responsibility, today we operate under the name of BT Music and Performing Arts. During our 22 years, we have followed with unfaltering resolve our goal to help each child to enjoy the opportunity to passionately embrace music, theater and dance education and to turn these gains into a life style. About our Founder Music educati- on and academic achievements Dr. Benal Tanrisever Simsek began her musical education with Prof. Ferdi Statzer at the Istanbul Conservatory. She received a scholarship to continue her work at The Juilliard School of Music, under the supervision of Joseph Raieff, a student of Sergei Rachmani- nov. She became the first student to complete her undergraduate and graduate studies during the same year. Following her outstanding achieve- ment, she was accepted to the Professional Studies Program. She was nominated by the school to play at concerts in various cities in the U.S.A. She was awarded another outstanding achievement scholarship which took her to the Hochschule der Kunste in Berlin, where she worked with Prof. Georg Sava and earned the title “Piano virtuoso”. She attended the Ph.D program at the Graphic Design Department of Bilkent University, earning her doctorate degree. Her doctoral dissertation The Narrative Power of Music in Films was used as reference material in many scientific researches.

Concerts and Recitals

Concerts and recitals in prominent halls around the world She performed in recitals and played as soloist with orchestras in numerous halls around the world, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, Berlin Philharmonic, Stuttgart Lieder Halle, Beethoven Haus in Bonn. She perfor- med as soloist with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, New York Symphony Orchestra, Sibelius Symphony Orchestra, the Presidential Symphony Orchestra, Istanbul, Izmir, Cukurova State Symphony Orchestras, Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, Eskisehir Symphony Orchestra and Akbank Cham- ber Orchestra. She worked with esteemed conductors such as Gurer Aykal, Cem Mansur, Naci Ozguc, Urs Schneider and Gustav Neimann. She joined the Presidential Symphony Orchestra and their conductor Gurer Aykal for a concert tour in the U.S.A. International and national awards, important performances and firsts She received the Women of Outstanding Achievement Award in the U.S. A. In a concert that was broadcasted live by 130 radio stations in the U.S.A., she also included works by Turkish composers in her repertoire. The German Rias television did a documentary on her music and personal life and she was also included in the German Encyclopedia of Music. Her concert at the Nordic House in the Faroe Islands was broadcasted live on Nordic Television. Under the auspices of the President, and the support of the Ministry of Culture, she was the first artist to take concert out of the halls and became a pioneer in organizing open-air classical music concerts in the quarries of Ankara. These concerts were a first, where a diverse audience came together by classical music. In line with the concept of different concerts, she performed with the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra on the pier of the Rahmi Koç Museum, in a benefit event for children with cancer, organized by the Theodora Founda- tion. Becoming a music instructor and children oriented work

Music Pedagogy for Childeren

She worked with Louise Behrend and Sheila Keats, founders of the New York School for Strings for many years, focusing on pedagogical music training and education methods. She got her training on pre-instrument education in New York from Robert Abramson, and was lucky to become one of the last students of this world renowned figure in early music education. Founding BT Music, and spreading the love for music Dr. Benal Tanrisever Simsek returned to Turkey in 1997 with a mission to share her experiences in music with children, and founded BT Music. She created an education program not only based on talent but which would support the personal, social, musical and academic lives of children. In order to unite schools with music, she initiated the Cooperation in Music program. She brought together ENKA, Hisar Egitim, SEV and TED schools in Istanbul and she formed an orchestra with children from these participating schools. To draw the interest of large crowds, especially of children, to classical music, she created educational programs called Jovial Sundays together with ENKA Cultural and Arts department, explaining classical music to families in the form of Family Theaters. The first concert of the series, where she perfor- med the Piano Concerto by Mozart, at the same time explaining the piece, was a great success. Classical Music Stories, the children’s book series on the lives of famous composers, became best-sellers in the category of children’s books in Turkey. The books were also performed live, within the concept of Family Theater. She started conducting international summer camps both at the Juilliard School and in China collaborating with another Chinese Education Institute, The DreamBox. As a firm believer of performance skills which help learn to cope with stress and raise self-esteem, she has been collaborating and preparing students to participate in International Music and Vocal Competitions. She founded the first ever music digital music competition in Turkey embracing both professional and nonprofessional music students nationally and internationally to participate and and support a sense of community.

Dr. Benal Tanrisever Simsek continues her mission is to help spread the understanding and the joy of music and performing arts across the world. To understand and be tolerant to others, you first need to understand and communicate who you are. That is the ultimate power and magic of the arts.