The Turkish harpsichordist and musicologist, Leyla Pınar, studied composition, violin, piano and horn at the Istanbul Conservatory. She privately studied with Cemal Reşit Rey, one of the pioneers of Turkish contemporary music. After graduation and upon his recommendations, she went to Europe to continue her studies. After a year at the Cesare Pollini Conservatory in Padua, she joined the class of Antoine-Geoffrey Dechaume, harpsichordist, eminent musicologist and one of the foremost experts of authentic interpretation in baroque music at Poitiers University in France. During her time there, she became an active member of the “Collegium Musicae Antiquae”. As a pupil of Nadia Boulanger and Solange Corbin, she obtained “first prizes” for harpsichord at Poitiers and the Mons Conservatory as well as “licenses” in chamber music, harmony, counterpoint and the “diplôme supérieure de concertiste” at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris. Also a musicology license in Sorbonne (Ecole des Hautes Etudes.) She received “JMF Rencontres Musicales”, “François Henri Clicquot” and “Melvin-Jones Fellow” prizes.
After returning to Turkey, Leyla Pınar held a teaching post at the Marmara University and Mimar Sinan Conservatory of Istanbul and formed meanwhile an instrumental trio specializing in Baroque music. After being awarded a doctorate in music, she continued to perfect her art under such distinguished harpsichordists as Rafael Puyana (Santiago De Compostela), Jean-Patrice Brosse and Michel Chapuis - organ (Comminges), Christopher Kite - piano forte, Kenneth Gilbert (Guildhall Music School) and studied for three years with Robert Kohnen. She has been invited by the British Ministry of Culture in order to research on English Baroque music. Then she moved to Brussels. She also teaches in the Drama and Music Department of Yıldız Technical University in Istanbul.
Because of her training as a musicologist, Leyla Pınar feels comfortable performing in Baroque, traditional Turkish music and contemporary repertories. She believes that public indifference to contemporary music stems mainly from the lack of familiarity with it. Thus, her last three CD’s (Pavane and MMD Records) includes a considerable number of works for harpsichord and organ by 20th century composers.
Leyla Pınar has given numerous recitals and concerts of Baroque and contemporary music in Europe and the USA. She has recorded and gave live broadcast concerts for French, Swiss, Dutch, Belgian and Turkish Radio-TVs. She appeared as soloist with Ensemble Mondial of Cologne, Amsterdam Calefax Reed Quintet, the Istanbul and Ankara State Symphony Orchestras and the Turkish Radio Chamber Orchestra in well-known concertos such as J.S. Bach’s Brandenbourg concertos, M. De Falla concerto and Francis Poulenc’s Concert Champêtre. She participated in various music festivals such as the International Istanbul Music Festival (twice), the International Al Bustan Festival in Lebanon, I Fiamminghi, the Festival of Contemporary music in Campo-Antwerp and Le Printemps Baroque du Sablon in Brussels. She gave duo concerts with Paul Dombrecht and Robert Kohnen. Also, she gave a recital at the United Nations in New York in memoriam of the 75th anniversary of Turkish Republic. She also gave a special recital in Brussels’ Music Instruments Museum on 3 different periodic harpsichords.
Leyla Pınar did the first world performance with the Ankara Presidential Symphony Orchestra of Ertuğrul Oğuz Fırat’s harpsichord concerto which has been dedicate to her In January 2001, she performed this concerto with Brussels Royal Conservatory Symphony Orchestra led by Jean Baily. She gave master-classes on harpsichord and Baroque interpretation at the Brussels Royal Conservatory.
Leyla Pınar is also the author of several articles on contemporary Turkish music in various publications. In 1975 she founded Istanvul Baroque (Istanbul Barok), initially as harpsichord, violin and flute trio. In 1995, she expanded the group to an international touring ensemble performing concerts, opera, and ballet featuring Baroque music. The ensemble performed the first stage productions and concerts of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, J. Blow’s Venus-Adonis, George Frideric Handel’s Giulio Caesar and Deidamia, Pepusch’s The Three Penny Opera and Georg Philipp Telemann’s Pimpinone in Istanbul. In 1997, on the occasion of its 300th anniversary, Leyla Pınar was also responsible for the first production of Campra’s opera-ballet L’Europe Galante with the Istanbul Baroque ensemble (which she took to the International Sablon Baroque Festival in the same year in Brussels.) In 2004 she did a co-production between Istanbul Baroque and Ankara State Opera for G.F. Handel’s Deidamia. And also conducted the orchestra.
Leyla Pınar is the founder and Artistic Director of the International Istanbul Baroque Music Festival since 1994.
Recordings: Leyla Pinar: Clavecin (Pavane); Leyla Pinar: Yeni Bir Deyiş (Night And Day); Leyla Pinar & İstanbul Barok: Osmanlı Barok Müziği (Ottoman Baroque Music)