For more than twenty-five years, Fazıl Say has captivated audiences and critics alike with his exceptional pianistic abilities.
Fazıl Say was born in 1970. He was a child prodigy, who was able to do basic arithmetic with 4-digit numbers at the age of two. After hearing him play “Ah! vous dirai-je, maman” with a flute without prior experience, his father enlisted the help of pianist Mithat Fenmen for three-year-old Say to start his piano lessons.
Say's musical career is distinguished by his dual roles as a composer and a world-renowned pianist. Say composed his first composition, a piano sonata, in 1984, when he was just fourteen years old and a student at the Ankara Conservatory.
His musical conceptions are motivated by his love of jazz and improvisation, which he regularly includes into his compositions, such as the jazz fantasy based on Mozart's Alla Turca (1993), Paganini Jazz (1995), and the 4 Pieces for DJ and Piano (2003). His oratorio Nazım, commissioned by the Turkish Ministry of Cultural Affairs and set to poems by Turkish poet Nazım Hikmet, premiered in Ankara in the presence of the Turkish President in 2001.
In 2002, Say received a commission from Radio France and Kurt Masur to write his third piano concerto, which he debuted with the Orchestre National de Radio France under Eliahu Inbal. In July 2003, he gave the first performance of his oratorio Requiem für Metin Altok before a crowd of 5000 people at the Istanbul Festival. In May 2005, he gave the world premiere of his fourth piano concerto, Thinking Einstein, in Lucerne.
His wealth of melodic ideas may frequently be traced back to motifs from Turkish and neighbouring folk music. In these ways, Fazıl Say follows in the footsteps of composers like as Béla Bartók, George Enescu, and György Ligeti, who relied on their own nations' rich musical history.