Pianos in Harmony with Palace Halls


The pianos in Istanbul’s Dolmabahçe Palace, which hosted some 1 million people last year, draw great interest from local and foreign visitors for their magnificence and harmony with their surroundings.

National Palace guide Osman Nihat Bişgin said Dolmabahçe Palace was a Tanzimat (reform-era) palace, adding, “All features of the reform era are clearly seen in Dolmabahçe Palace. This process, which we call the Europeanization and westernization process, made western music enter Dolmabahçe Palace.”

He said the palace had a total of 12 pianos, and all of them had ornamentations suitable to the style and harmony of the palace.

Bişgin said the palace opened in 1856 and the pianos were brought there nearly at the same time. “The wives of sultans were taking piano education in the palace, particularly in the final years of the Ottomans. There are many pianos and none of them were inactive; all of them were being played,” he said.

He said most of the piano brands in the palace were Hertz, Pleyel, Gaveau and Erard, and that the number of grand pianos was less.

Speaking of a striking green piano in Zülvecheyn Hall on the upper floor of the palace, Bişgin said it was a classical Pleyel-brand palace piano.

“Since the magnificence and glory was dominant in the palace, the pianos draw our attention visually. Their sound is not very famous, but they are very important and famous visually,” he said.

Bişgin said Zülvecheyn Hall had gilded ornamentation on its white and beige ceiling, adding, “We see enormous harmony between the piano and the ceiling.”

He said the furniture in Dolmabahçe Palace was in its original place, and added, “We can say that the pianos belong to these halls. The pianos in the Zülvecheyn and Süfera halls were designed to add visual richness to halls like them. They are not generally played.”

Crystal piano and chair in the Glass Kiosk

As for the rare crystal piano in the Glass Kiosk, Bişgin said the following: “The Glass Kiosk is a big venue hidden behind the walls of the palace. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk greeted the public in this place. It is like a winter garden surrounded with glass. In harmony with this kiosk, there is a crystal piano. It is a Paris-made Gaveau piano. Its chair is crystal, too.”

Another piano in the palace is a plain black German-made Steinway. Bişgin said its sound was very strong and it was very valuable.

“It was produced as a Hamburg Steinway in 1912. Then the factory moved to the U.S. Accordingly, there were only five Steinway pianos made in Germany. This is one of them. Its estimated price is 200,000 euros. It also has the emblem of the sultan Abdulmecid,” Bişgin added.

Speaking of the piano, which was used during the acceptance of ambassadors in the Süfera Hall, Bişgin said, “Süfera is the plural of the word sefir [ambassador]. This hall was created to address foreigners. The furniture is gold-plated; the ceiling is the same. There is a boulle-work piano here to show the beauty of metal and gold. This piano is wonderful for decoration.”

More pictures at Pianos in harmony with palace halls – ARTS.

June 12 in Music History


• 1468 ~ Juan del Encina, Composer

• 1526 ~ Marc-Antoine de Muret, Composer

• 1616 ~ Cornelis F Schuyt, Dutch organist/composer, died

• 1761 ~ Meinrad Spiess, Composer, died at the age of 77

• 1858 ~ William Horsley, Composer, died at the age of 83

• 1876 ~ Narciso Garay, Composer

• 1881 ~ Juan de Hernandez, Composer

• 1887 ~ Gustav Weber, Composer, died at the age of 41

• 1892 ~ John Donald Robb, Composer

• 1900 ~ Amadeo Roldan, Composer

• 1904 ~ Eino Roiha, Composer

• 1907 ~ Giorgio Nataletti, Composer

• 1909 ~ Mansel Treharne Thomas, Composer

• 1909 ~ Archie Bleyer, Orchestra leader for Arthur Godfrey

• 1909 ~ Shine On, Harvest Moon by Ada Jones & Billy Murray hit #1

• 1912 ~ Eddie Williams, Blues/jazz bassist

• 1917 ~ Maria Teresa Carreno, Composer, died at the age of 63

• 1922 ~ Leif Thybo, Composer

• 1927 ~ Al Fairweather, Jazz musician

• 1928 ~ Richard Sherman, Composer/lyricist

• 1928 ~ Vic Damone (Vito Farinola), American singer of popular music

• 1930 ~ Jim Nabors, Singer

• 1935 ~ Ella Fitzgerald recorded her first sides for Brunswick Records. The tunes were Love and Kisses and I’ll Chase the Blues Away. She was featured with Chick Webb and his band. Ella was 17 at the time and conducted the Webb band for three years following his death in 1939.

• 1938 ~ Ian Partridge, British tenor

• 1941 ~ “Chick” Corea, American Grammy Award-winning (4) Jazz musician and composer

• 1942 ~ Walter Leigh, Composer, died at the age of 36

• 1942 ~ Paul Whiteman and his orchestra recorded Travelin’ Light on Capitol Records of Hollywood, California. On the track with Whiteman’s orchestra was the vocal talent of ‘Lady Day’, Billie Holiday.

• 1944 ~ Reg Presley, Singer with Troggs

• 1947 ~ Jazeps Medins, Composer, died at the age of 70

• 1948 ~ William Tell Overture by Spike Jones (originally an opera by Rossini) peaked at #6


• 1951 ~ Bun Carlos (Brad Carlson), Musician, drummer with Cheap Trick

• 1951 ~ Brad Delp, Musician, guitarist, singer with Boston

• 1954 ~ Bill Haley’s Rock Around the Clock, was originally released

• 1957 ~ James F “Jimmy” Dorsey, American orchestra leader, died at the age of 53

• 1962 ~ John N Ireland, English Composer/pianist, died at the age of 82

• 1965 ~ The Queen of England announced that The Beatles would receive the coveted MBE Award. The Order of the British Empire recognition had previously been bestowed only upon British military heroes, many of whom were so infuriated by the news, they returned their medals to the Queen. In fact, John Lennon wasn’t terribly impressed with receiving the honor. He returned it (for other reasons) four years later.

• 1965 ~ Rolling Stones released Satisfaction

• 1965 ~ Sonny and Cher made their first TV appearance, “American Bandstand”

• 1966 ~ Hermann Scherchen, German conductor and music publisher, died at the age of 74

• 1966 ~ The Dave Clark Five set record as they appear for twelfth time on Ed Sullivan

• 1968 ~ Fidelio Friedrich Finke, Composer, died at the age of 76

• 1968 ~ “What Makes Sammy Run?” closed at 84th St Theater NYC after 540 performances

• 1977 ~ “Pippin” closes at Imperial Theater NYC after 1944 performances

• 1982 ~ Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel performed in Rotterdam

• 1989 ~ Peter Conrad Baden, Composer, died at the age of 80

• 1992 ~ “Batman Returns”, music by Danny Elfman, was released in America

• 1993 ~ Three Little Pigs by Green Jelly hit #17

• 1994 ~ Cab Calloway suffered massive stroke at his home White Plaines NY

• 1995 ~ Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Italian Pianist, died at the age of 75. He was hailed as one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century.

• 1996 ~ MacKenzie John, Pipe major, died at the age of 83

• 2000 ~ Robert J. Lurtsema, a classical music show host with a sonorous voice and unique delivery who became a fixture of the Boston radio scene over nearly three decades, died of lung disease. He was 68. Lurtsema, who worked at WGBH-FM for more than 28 years, is well-known to classical music buffs as the host of “Morning pro musica”, which could be heard throughout the Northeast.