BY ŞEBNEM TÜRE (PSYC/II)
Bilkent University Music Preparatory Primary and Middle School fifth-grade student Nil İpek Şabi and her brother, fourth-grade student Kıvanç Arda Şabi, placed first and second in the violin and cello categories at the “Heirs of Orpheus” International Music Competition in Albena, Bulgaria, held October 4–11.
By winning the Grand Prix award for solo violin, ten-year-old Nil also gained an invitation to the International Mozart Competition and Festival that will take place in Tbilisi, Georgia, during the week of January 20–27, 2019. The competition, to be conducted for the fifth time by Georgia’s Art and Music Academies, is open to citizens of any country. The winners of the first prizes and the Grand Prix will also perform at the Festival concert.
Nil started her musical journey at the age of four, after her mother, a physical education teacher, observed her aptitude for rhythm and gave her the opportunity to take piano lessons. When she was five, she began studying violin, which became her main instrument, with Muhammedjan Turdiev. As a scholarship student at the Music Preparatory School, Nil currently studies violin with Elena Rıhsi of the Bilkent Faculty of Music and Performing Arts.
The young musician says that in the future, she would like to perform as a solo violinist with an orchestra. She listens to concertos by many different composers; her favorite violinists are Itzhak Perlman and Turkey’s Suna Kan.
Her nine-year-old brother Kıvanç is also a student at the Bilkent Music Preparatory School; he has been taking cello lessons from Arthur Rahmatullah for three years. In addition to attaining second place at Heirs of Orpheus, he has also played in the Australian Children’s Orchestra in Melbourne, for which he received an honor certificate in 2016. Looking to his future, he says, “My aim is to be the greatest cellist in Turkey when I grow up, and for that, I’m studying hard.”
Their mother, Gamze Şabi, is of course very proud of her children, and also grateful for the opportunities they have had. She notes that Bilkent University and its faculty members have given her children much encouragement, and expresses the desire that all talented children in Turkey might have similar opportunities.
“To educate these children and develop their talent is an important and laborious process,” she says. “As the artists of our future, they all deserve support.”