Project Officers

MAGMA & Boğaziçi Jazz Choir Family

Boğaziçi Jazz Choir, founded in June 2011 by conductor Masis Aram Gözbek and renowned as a pioneer of choral culture in Turkey, holds a broad repertoire consisting of pieces with a wide range from contemporary to jazz and traditional folk song arrangements.. It is possible to watch the choir, who participates in many genuine projects in Turkey, at various prestigious events all around the world. The choir along with its countless achievements in Turkey and abroad, also holds the 1st place in Folklore category and the 13th place overall in INTERKULTUR’s world rankings in 2012.

In September 2014, aiming a leap forward for the expansion of choral culture in Turkey, they established Boğaziçi Youth Choir consisting of around 45 choristers between the ages of 15 and 22. Boğaziçi Youth Choir is a dynamic choir that performed in various cities of Turkey, now preparing to take it to the international scene. Carrying on incessant practices on a tight schedule, the choir also aspires to lead the field of social responsibility projects and to raise awareness of the society in this regard.

In August 2016, the family expanded with the formation of MAGMA Choirs, so that Boğaziçi Jazz Choir has taken yet another grand and significant leap forward for the expansion of choral music all over Turkey. With the founding of MAGMA Performance, MAGMA Chamber Choir, MAGMA Youth Choir and lastly MAGMA Preparation, the family has become a giant establishment, featuring 6 choirs, that unites more than 200 choristers aged between 14 and 70, all of whom combines their forces for production of high quality music.

Let's get to know MAGMA Chamber Choir, the host of The Voice of Cultures project, that will perform in concerts in 7 cities and in the festival to be held in Istanbul:

Established in September 2016 by conductor Masis Aram Gözbek under the roof of the “World Champion” Boğaziçi Jazz Choir, that has been recognized as a pioneer in the widespread use of choral culture in Turkey with its numerous, successful and innovative projects.

The choir, which has emerged as an important step towards the further development of choral music awareness and the common value of polyphony, continues its activities without slowing down, with the dynamic cadre, composed of adults aged over 20, most of whom gained their first polyphonic choral experience and choral music infrastructure in MAGMA.

The choir, that performed songs from a wide repertoire from polyphonic folk songs to contemporary works during the first 3 periods, took part in national festivals by giving concerts with the repertoire of “Anatolian Melodies”, where they performed polyphonic works from different languages of Anatolia, within the scope of the project initiated in 2018-2019 season. The choir, which took the first step to bring the “Voice of Cultures” project to life with these concerts, took the stage in the concerts to be given within the scope of the project, supported the choirs with its experience and ensured the mutual communication in the project process.

Let's get to know Masis Aram Gözbek, who is the Art Director of the project:

MAGMA & Boğaziçi Jazz Choir Art Director & Conductor Masis Aram Gözbek

Born in 1987, Istanbul. His band won the first prize in 2004 at the 'Battle of the Bands' competition by Radio Boğaziçi. His arrangement was awarded the third prize at KASDAV music competition among high schools in 2005. Between 2005 and 2007 he sang with the Turkish National Radio Youth Choir. In 2007, he took over as the conductor of BUMC Jazz Choir. His composition 'Dante’s Last Day' was performed at the 3rd Young Composers Festival. He composed and arranged several choral pieces, among which 'Alive' was awarded the 'World Championship' in the World Choir Championships in Graz, Austria and 'Alive II' earned a gold medal in the 7th World Choir Games in Cincinnati, USA.

He attended countless competitions, festivals and master classes in USA, China, Germany, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Latvia, Hungary, Slovenia, Serbia, Bulgaria and North Macedonia. He studied conducting with Denes Szabo, Tõnu Kaljuste, Volker Hempfling, Johannes Prinz, Georg Grün, Elisenda Carrasco i Ribot, Patrik Andersson, Franz Jochum and composing with Par Lindgren, Richard Ayres, David Lang. He conducted the final concert of HfM Saar Conductors’ Academy both in 2016 and 2017 under the direction of Prof. Georg Grün. He won several international prizes including two 'World Championship' awards and given numerous performances both in Turkey and abroad with Boğaziçi Jazz Choir. He led some workshops and performances with choirs abroad like the worldwide known Dekoor Close Harmony (Netherlands), La Choraline (Belgium) and the Swiss Youth Choir who are the owners of several prestigious awards in the international choral scene.

In 2008, he dropped out of his mathematics major at Boğaziçi University and started studying composition at Yıldız Technical University, Music and Performing Arts Department. The following year, he was accepted by Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University State Conservatory, Department of Composition and Orchestral Conducting.

In 2013, he won Yıldız Technical University 'Rectorship Award' and 'The Most Successful Young Person' award at the Turkey finals of  19. TOYP (Ten Outstanding Young Persons). In 2014, he earned the 'Young Conductor Special Award' in the 35th International May Choir Competition 'Prof. Georgi Dimitrov'. He was awarded 'the Music Entrepreneur of the Year' by the METU Young Entrepreneurs Society. In 2018, he was invited to the 66th European Music Festival for Young People Neerpelt, Belgium (also 2020) as a jury member and to the 11th European Festival of Youth Choirs Basel, Switzerland as a guest conductor. He was invited to the 40th International May Choir Competition Varna, Bulgaria -a member of the EGP For Choral Singing- as a jury member. He was the musical director at the Turkish productions of ‘The Suppliant Women’ by Aescylus and the musical ‘Annie’. Most recently, he was one of the 12 finalists in the World Choral Conducting Competition which was held in Hong Kong.

As the founder and artistic director of Boğaziçi Jazz Choir, Boğaziçi Youth Choir and MAGMA Choirs, he is also working very often with famous singers such as Sertab Erener, Nil Karaibrahimgil, Yasemin Mori, Ali Kocatepe. Besides, he is leading workshops, seminars and performances about choral music in several schools and associations both in different cities of Turkey and abroad. He has been a trustee of Yücel Cultural Foundation since 2018. He also lectured at the Haliç University Conservatory, Opera and Concert Singing Department.

Yücel Cultural Foundation

Since its foundation in 1969, Yücel Cultural Foundation aims to make a difference in the lives of youngsters via events and projects that they organize. As a cultural foundation serving to youth, Yücel Cultural Foundation welcomes all young people who want to develop him or herself in culture, art, peace and who expect to receive support because of the unfavorable material or social circumstances.

In believing that art and culture has transformative and reformative effects, specifically on young people, it dedicates its existence to develop and glorify culture and art. In adopting such a foundational philosophy of "glorifying" art, culture and peace, it acquires its name "YÜCEL" (GLORIFY), from such an effort.

Yücel Cultural Foundation concretizes youth's projects from within a bottom-up manner by encouraging their active participation to the process. Its efforts aim to contribute raising a civilized, well-equipped, responsible young people contributing to their country through the capacity of critical reflection. Moreover, the foundation has a decisive non-discrimination policy in terms of language, religion, ethnic origin, gender or any other irrelevant identity aspects of young people. In being one of the foundations accredited by the European Commission in Turkey, the YKV both hosts and sends young people for the projects in the Framework of the European Voluntary Service. It makes partnerships and initiates applications for the youth projects.

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