The Turkish pianist Zeynep Özsuca has performed worldwide as a soloist, chamber musician and accompanist. Born in Ankara, she began piano lessons at the age of four and continued her studies at Ankara Conservatory of Hacettepe University. After winning Istanbul Symphony’s Young Soloists Competition in 2001, Zeynep moved to the United States to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance
at the Oberlin Conservatory under Prof. Peter Takács. She then majored in accompaniment and vocal coaching at Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler”, Berlin with Prof. Alexander Vitlin and graduated with an MA in 2013. Zeynep currently lives in London and pursues her career as concert pianist and repetiteur.
Zeynep has worked with conductors such as Gustavo Dudamel, Simon Halsey, Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Antonio Pappano, and acted as rehearsal pianist for singers Magdalena Kozená, Rolando Villazón, Gerald Finley, Annette Dasch, Michael Schade to name a few. She has been working as a repetiteur and orchestra member with renowned opera companies and orchestras like London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, Staatsoper Berlin, Aix-en-Provence Music Festival, Royal Opera House Covent Garden and Glyndebourne Festival Opera.
As a chamber musician, she has performed on prestigious stages including the Berlin Philharmonie, Palau de la Musica Valencia, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Queen Elizabeth Hall as well as live radio broadcasts on Deutschlandfunk, Deutschlandradio, RBB Kulturradio (Germany), RNE (Spain), BBC 3 and 4(UK), alongside co-hosting the BBC Young Musician Podcast. She also regularly appears in concert with her duo partners saxophonist Jess Gillam and clarinetist Sacha Rattle, as well as her wind and piano sextet Berlin Counterpoint.
Zeynep has a close working relationship with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she has acted as accompanist, music director of opera scenes and currently as lecturer of the Opera Skills course.
Winner of 2013 Usedomer Musikpreis, Berlin Counterpoint has rapidly established itself in Europe as well as other parts of the world. Through their strong musical ideals, well-thought-out programming and above all, their intense desire to communicate through music, they are considered one of the premier ensembles of its kind. Their goal is not only to make classical music accessible to all audiences, but also to show how important this language is in the world today.
The members have been performing worldwide as individuals, but joined together to find something more fulfilling, where the importance truly lies in the joy inherent in the music, and in communicating that joy to their audiences.
Between them, these six musicians hold passports from Romania, Germany, Slovenia, England, the United States and Turkey. Each nationality brings an inherently different way to approach music, and Berlin Counterpoint takes all these influences to develop a style all its own. The reference to Berlin in the ensemble’s name is not just due to the coincidence of their meeting there, but to the fact that Berlin is one of the few places where such a meeting of creative minds from such various backgrounds is not only likely, but extremely fruitful. It is the modern, energetic and creative Berlin they represent, and like the city is itself, a truly multicultural ensemble. Their
sparkling sound, homogeneous virtuosity and adventurous yet thoughtful interpretations is very much owed to this meeting of different cultural and musical backgrounds.
Berlin Counterpoint’s ever-growing repertoire, spanning from baroque era to contemporary music, includes traditional works for wind quintet and piano, as well as members’ own arrangements and other new works commissioned from young composers. The group performs in varying constellations, from duo to sextet, and is open to collaborations with guest artists.
Since its conception in 2007, Berlin Counterpoint has received great acclaim for its appearances at many prestigious venues such as the Sociedad Filarmónica de Bilbao, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Palau de la Música Valencia, and the Kammermusiksaal of the Berlin Philharmonic. Its highly praised debut CD (2013 Genuin Label) was not only extremely well received by the audiences and critics, but also brought them a nomination for Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik.
Rattle Özsuca Duo
Zeynep and Sacha first met in 2005 in Oberlin Conservatory, studying the Mozart Kegelstatt Trio with Professor Roger Chase. Since then, they have been performing together regularly, both as a duo and in larger ensemble formations.
They both moved to Berlin Germany to study respectively, and here they founded their chamber ensemble 'Berlin Counterpoint', with whom they have had numerous performances and in 2014, released their debut album.
As a duo, they have performed on a wide range of stages, including prominent venues such as Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Würzburg Festival, Queen Elizabeth Hall London, Teatro Villamarta Jerez, Fundation Juan March Madrid and the Berlin Philharmonie.
They have also worked in some smaller, more intimate situations, such as the Vortex jazz club in London, and Klasik Keyifler festival in Cappadocia, Turkey, doing education work with young musicians, as well as recitals. Regarding education, the duo has also been involved with the El Sistema organisation in Venezuela, as well as an off shoot in Istanbul called Music for Peace, and some education work around Germany.
The duo have worked closely with a few living composers, most notably having works dedicated to them respectively by Kamran Ince and Mark Mellits.
In 2014, Sacha and Zeynep got married in Potsdam, Germany, and are now happily living together in London
Jess Gillam/Zeynep Özsuca Duo
The 17/18 season ended on a high for Jess Gillam who closed the 2018 BBC Proms in great style with three appearances in the world famous Last Night of the Proms – performing as part of Radio 2’s Proms in the Park before heading across to the Royal Albert Hall to join the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis for Milhaud’s Scaramouche, and a duet with star baritone Gerald Finley. This was Jess’s fourth appearance at the festival following two performances in 2017 and a cameo at the 2018 BBC Young Musician Prom celebrating 40 years of the competition which brought her into the limelight back in 2016.
In June 2018 Jess made her international debut with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Santtu-Matias Rouvali, and her international appearances build rapidly this season including concerts with the Tampere Philharmonic, at l’Auditori Barcelona, a Swiss debut opening the season at the Argovia Philharmonic and a recital at the acclaimed Philip’s Collection series in Washington D.C. She also appears extensively in recital throughout the UK and performs with orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic (Ben Gernon), BBC Concert Orchestra (Bramwell Tovey), Royal Northern Sinfonia (Jesccia Cottis) and the Manchester Camerata.
Jess programmes and presents shows on TV and radio and hosts the BBC Young Musician podcast with Sam Becker and Zeynep Özsuca. She also recently featured in a documentary celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the BBC Young Musician Competition. Throughout the 2018 Proms season Jess appeared in a weekly slot on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme alongside veteran broadcaster James Naughtie, and she has presented an episode of Saturday Classics on BBC Radio 3.
Jess records exclusively for Decca Classics and was the recipient of a Classic Brit Award in the Sound of Classical Poll 2018 which promotes the best emerging artists and ones-to-watch in classical music. As well as being a Vandoren UK Artist, at just 13 she became the youngest ever endorsee for Yanagisawa Saxophones and she is also a patron for Awards for Young Musicians. Jess also promotes her own series of concerts, bringing international talent to her hometown of Ulverston.
Jess studies at the Royal Northern College of Music with an ABRSM Scholarship, and is mentored by John Harle. She is very grateful for the support she has received from the Young Classical Artists Trust.