Saturday, October 9, 2010

Bilkent Senfoni Orkestrası

So this evening, I managed to indulge in one of my non-history related interests:  classical music!  I went to the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra performance of Schoenberg's Op. 36 (I'd give you the title, but I can't actually read the program, much to my chagrin) and Schumann's Symphony no. 3.  For the cost of 8TL with my student discount (about $5.50 USD and CAD), it was an excellent evening.  The first piece I'd never heard before, and once I got over the intentional dissonance, it was actually pretty enjoyable.  The soloist (Ilya Gringolts, definitely not Turkish) was AMAZING!  For an encore, he pulled out Corelli's Adagio from Concerto Grosso (yeah, I had to look it up, I'm not that good) which was just incredible.  The girls sitting behind me kept saying how beautiful it was (çok güzel!)  Baroque music has always been my favourite, and Corelli is no exception.  For the second half, pretty standard and very well executed, and by the end, the conductor's hair was flying all over and bouncing!  I love it when the conductor is so into it, so enjoying the concert himself, that he just totally lets go and goes crazy on the podium.  Another good tuba teacher was on stage for the first half (sorry, no tuba parts in Schumann)!  Overall, an excellent evening!
PS, I ended up going alone, which is great, cause then no one I know will laugh at me when I start nodding to the music ;)  If any of you have read Patrick O'Brien's "Master and Commander", think how Jack and Stephen meet at the beginning.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall in Ankara starts exactly on Oct. 1st.

As the title implies, fall has started. The weather turned chilly almost instantly on October 1st, from hot summer to cold fall. It's actually pretty cold, like jacket and scarf cold.....instantly. It dropped about 18 degrees Celsius in the space of a week (that's roughly from the high 80's to the mid 60's Fahrenheit, for all you Americans). Unfortunately, all of the trees around campus are evergreens, so no leaves are changing. There's no pumpkins, no cider, no fall spices, no Halloween, none of the usual fall stuff, which makes me just a little homesick. However, there is excessive football, which is kind of AWESOME!!!! ANKARAGÜCÜ!!!! For those of you who don't know, Ankaragücü (pronounced Ankara-guju, all one word) is the local underdog football team, with the most insane fans ever! It's just as much fun watching the fans as it is watching the match. The fans, however, have a tendency to riot after losing important matches. The fans have an entire repertoire of cheers, with accompanying rude hand gestures. They're so crazy, you can't bring water bottles or loose change into the stadium, you get patted down by police twice on the way in, and there's riot squad in full force. Here's some of the crazy stadium antics of the fans (note the police officer in the foreground, orange vest, actually IN the aisle, to prevent "issues").
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Football is definitely serious business here in Turkey, as my students have taught me.  Most of them are fans of one of the Istanbul teams, and advise me not to go to Ankaragücü games, but I'm a sucker for the underdog ;)
On another note, somewhat related note (since beer and sports go together wherever you are) the local beer in Turkey is AWFUL!!!  I'll be SO glad when I can get Newcastle again, instead of having to drink Efes all the time.  Imagine being in a world where the only beer available was Busch, it was served everywhere, in big glasses, and everyone around you told you it was the best beer in the world......yeah.  I'll be glad to go on vacation in November, just for a change of beer.  Oh, and I'm trying to plan my trip, Munich, Vienna, or Edinburgh?  Thoughts?