Biography

Turkish-American pianist, historical keyboard player and conductor Tolga Atalay ÜN was born in 1995, in Ankara, Turkey. He studied piano with Sibel Özgün at the Hacettepe University Ankara State Conservatory, from where he graduated with the “Top of the School Award”; piano with Prof. Norma Fisher and Prof. Niel Immelman; and Historical Performance and Historical Keyboard Instruments with Prof. Terence Charlston and Prof. Robert Woolley at the Royal College of Music London, where he has received his Bachelor of Music (Honours) with First Class, Master of Performance (MPerf) with Distinction and Artist Diploma. Throughout his studies in London he has obtained the titles ‘Mills Williams Junior Fellow’, ‘C. Bechstein Scholar supported by a Christopher Hogwood Scholarship’ and ‘Kenneth and Violet Scott Scholar’ at the RCM. He was generously supported by Sevda-Cenap And Music Foundation and Talent Unlimited for his studies. From 2016 to 2021, Tolga Atalay ÜN was a scholar in the ‘Young Musicians on World Stages’ (YMWS) system created and mentored by Güher & Süher Pekinel with financial support of TÜPRAŞ.

Playing as a soloist with the Ankara Youth Symphony Orchestra, as well as conducting them from the keyboard in the opening concert of 33rd International Ankara Music Festival in April 2016 won him a great recognition amongst the musical authorities. On the 6th March 2019, he played piano in the concert organised for the annual President’s Visit from His Majesty King Charles III to the RCM. On the 4th February 2022, he conducted the Presidential Symphony Orchestra in Turkey from the harpsichord, in his first concert with them, and became one of the youngest conductors to do so. After that, he has performed as a conductor, harpsichordist and pianist with Izmir State Symphony Orchestra, Bursa Regional State Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Academic Başkent. His recent prizes and medals include the 2021 Mills Williams Medal at the RCM, the Beethoven Medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians as a result of winning the First Prize and the Thomas Harris Beethoven Award at the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe’s 2017 Senior Intercollegiate Piano Competition; the First Prize, as well as the Prize for the Best Performance of A.A. Saygun and the Audience Prize at the 4th Ahmed Adnan Saygun Piano Competition in Turkey, 2017; the First Prize at the Kendall Taylor Beethoven Competition at the RCM in 2017 and the Second Prize at the Broadwood Horniman Harpsichord Competition in November 2015. He played numerous concerts in many different countries, such as Turkey, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Greece and Romania; and in prestigious concert halls such as London Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall’s Elgar Room, Cadogan Hall, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Drapers’ Hall, Steinway Hall London, Regent Hall, RCM Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall, Salzburg Mozarteum, Bayerische Musikakademie Marktoberdorf, CSO Main Hall, İzmir Ahmed Adnan Saygun Cultural Centre, Boğaziçi University Albert Long Hall, German Consulate General in Istanbul, Istanbul Arter Museum, Istanbul Notre Dame de Sion High School, Embassy of France in Ankara, Ankara MEB Şura Concert Hall, Bilkent Concert Hall, Antalya Cultural Centre and Mersin State Opera and Ballet. He participated in masterclasses given by renowned pianists and harpsichordists such as Ton Koopman, Carole Cerasi, Pawel Siwczak, Janina Fialkowska, Rolf Plagge, Daniel Shapiro and Jonathan Plowright. He studied conducting with Orhun Orhon, Lior Shambadal, Peter Gülke, Peter Stark, Howard Williams, İbrahim Yazıcı and Burak Tüzün. As a result of this, he conducted numerous concerts with orchestras including Hitit Philharmonic Orchestra (a volunteer orchestra that he formed with his friends), Hacettepe Youth Symphony Orchestra, Ankara Youth Symphony Orchestra and Bodrum Chamber Orchestra.

In 2004, he was accepted as a member to the Polyphonic Children’s Choir of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, conducted by Ahter Destan and Atilla Çağdaş Değer. During 2004-2009, he participated in many concerts, tours and organisations as a choir member and accompanist. In 2007, he was offered a place to start his professional piano studies with Sibel Özgün at the Hacettepe University Ankara State Conservatory. During his seven-year conservatory education; he gave many concerts, premiered many pieces and made many radio recordings as a pianist, conductor, chamber musician and accompanist. He took lessons on Modern Music History and Contemporary Music Techniques given by a famous Turkish composer İlhan Baran in 2009-2013. In May 2009, he was awarded the “honourable mention” in the Fourth International Istanbul Pera Piano Competition and in 2010, the “Jury’s Special Award” in “The National Chopin Piano Competition”, which was organized jointly by Başkent University and Bahçelievler Rotary Club in Ankara, Turkey under the auspices of the Polish Embassy, to commemorate Chopin’s 200th birthday. After winning this prize, he got an invitation to become one of the founder members of Bahçelievler Interact Club. As an Interact, he has had the opportunity of participating in various social activities. He taught as a lecturer at the Ankara Music and Fine Arts University for a term, starting in September 2021. He now continues his professional musical career as a pianist, historical keyboard player and conductor.

Read my CV:

Concerts

Upcoming concerts

2 December 2022 Friday

Izmir State Symphony Orchestra, Soloist: Gülsin Onay

Ahmed Adnan Saygun Sanat Merkezi


9 January 2023 Monday

Karşıyaka Municipality Chamber Orchestra (KODA)

Hikmet Şimşek Sanat Merkezi, İzmir


27 January 2023 Friday

Izmir State Symphony Orchestra, Soloist: Bruno De Sa

Ahmed Adnan Saygun Sanat Merkezi


17 February 2023 Friday

Presidential Symphony Orchestra

CSO Main Hall


23 February 2023 Thursday

Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra

Zorlu Performans Sanatları Merkezi


Click here for past concerts

Friday, 4th November 2022

Izmir State Symphony Orchestra, Soloist: Özgür Aydın

Venue: Ahmed Adnan Saygun Sanat Merkezi (AASSM) - poster:


2 October 2022 Sunday, 11am

Recital with Maria Gilicel

Royal Albert Hall, Elgar Room, London


17 August 2022 Wednesday

AIMA Nükleus Trio Concert

Ayvalık Taksiyarhis Kilisesi Anıt Müzesi


7 April 2022 Thursday, 8pm

Orkestra Akademik Başkent
Conductor: Tolga Atalay Ün
Soloist: İlayda Deniz Oğuz (Piano)

CSO Main Hall - Tickets: biletinial - poster:


24 February 2022

Bursa Regional State Symphony Orchestra

Bursa Atatürk Kongre ve Kültür Merkezi - poster:


18 February 2022

Izmir State Symphony Orchestra

Ahmed Adnan Saygun Sanat Merkezi - poster:


04 February 2022

Presidential Symphony Orchestra

CSO Main Hall - poster:


07 November 2021

Recital with Maria Gilicel

Bilthoven / the Netherlands


30 July 2021

Piano Recital for BPSE

Regent Hall London


09 July 2021

Russian Embassy London


12 June 2021

Tilford Bach Festival


02 May 2021

Keyboard Festival

RCM London


21 April 2021

'Reviving the Kapellmeister'

RCM London


17 November 2020

'Reviving the Kapellmeister'

RCM London


30 March 2020, 1pm

Recital with Violinist Maria Gilicel

St. Martin in the Fields, London - info:


26 March 2020

Recital with Violinist Maria Gilicel

Lake District Festival


22 March 2020

Keyboard Festival

RCM London, Four-Hands


28 February 2020

Young Musicians on World Stages Chamber Music Concert with Veriko Tchumburidze - Violin and Umut Sağlam - Cello

Arter Contemporary Art Museum, Istanbul


27 February 2020

Young Musicians on World Stages Chamber Music Concert with Veriko Tchumburidze - Violin and Umut Sağlam - Cello

German Consulate General, Istanbul


26 February 2020

Young Musicians on World Stages Chamber Music Concert with Veriko Tchumburidze - Violin and Umut Sağlam - Cello

Boğaziçi University Albert Long Hall, Istanbul


12 February 2020, 1.10 pm

Solo Recital at the

Steinway Hall, London


18 December 2019, 1 pm

Recital with the Violist Ana Dunne-Sequi for Talent Unlimited

St James’s Piccadilly


15 December 2019, 5.30 pm

Recital with the Cellist Tamaki Sugimoto

Conway Hall, London


6 December 2019

Young Musicians on World Stages Chamber Music Concert with Veriko Tchumburidze - Violin, Olgu Kızılay - Violin, Umut Sağlam - Cello, Barok Bostancı - Viola and Tolga Atalay Ün - Piano

Ankara MEB Şura Concert Hall, Turkey


4 December 2019

Young Musicians on World Stages Chamber Music Concert with Veriko Tchumburidze - Violin, Olgu Kızılay - Violin, Umut Sağlam - Cello, Barok Bostancı - Viola and Tolga Atalay Ün - Piano

Embassy of France, Ankara, Turkey


28 November 2019

Young Musicians on World Stages Chamber Music Concert with Veriko Tchumburidze - Violin, Olgu Kızılay - Violin, Umut Sağlam - Cello, Barok Bostancı – Viola, Seçil İrem Keskin - Doublebass and Tolga Atalay Ün - Piano

Arter Contemporary Art Museum, Istanbul


9 November 2019, 1 pm

Recital with Maria Gilicel

Croydon, CR9 7AT


19 October 2019, 7.30 pm

Recital with Maria Gilicel

Colyton, EX24 6LJ


9 October 2019, 1 pm

Recital with Maria Gilicel for Talent Unlimited

St. James’s Piccadilly, London


27 September 2019, 7.30 pm

Recital with Maria Gilicel

Music in the Castle, Powderham Castle, EX6 8JQ


25 September 2019, 8.15 pm

Recital with the Violinist Maria Gilicel

West End Centre, 48 Queens Road, Aldershot, GU11 3JD


10 February 2019, 6.30 - 7.30 pm

Norwich Chapel Concerts

The Chapel, 64 Park Lane, Norwich NR2 3EF - info:


4 December 2018, 7-9 pm

Tchaikovsky’s Seasons at Pushkin House

5A Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2TA - info:


16 November 2018, 1.10 pm

Solo Lunchtime Recital at Croydon Minster Church

Church St, Croydon CR0 1RN - info:


12 November 2018

Lunchtime Recital

Austrian Cultural Forum London- info:


30 October 2018

BPSE Prize Winners’ Concert

St. Martin in the Fields, London - info:


25 October 2018

Young Musicians on World Stages Concert

Koç University, Istanbul


24 October 2018

Young Musicians on World Stages Concert

Boğaziçi University Albert Long Hall, Istanbul


7 October 2018

Stonevale Concert Series


Videos

  • In Focus: The Kennedy-Mietke Harpsichord - Tolga Atalay Ün
  • Round Midnight - T. Monk / O. Peterson - Tolga Atalay Ün
  • W.A. Mozart - Piano Concerto No.21 in C Major, K.467, Third Movement - Tolga Atalay Ün
  • Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No.1 in C Major, Op.21 - Conductor: Tolga Atalay Ün
  • J.S. Bach - Toccata in E Minor -Tolga Atalay Ün (Harpsichord)
  • Johannes Brahms, Piano Sonata No.1 in C Major, Op.1 - Tolga Atalay Ün