The 27th Istanbul Jazz Festival to be held with a new programme in September

Organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) and sponsored by Garanti BBVA for 23 years with the support of the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Istanbul Jazz Festival will be held with a new programme in September. The 27th Istanbul Jazz Festival will host leading names, new discoveries, and stars of contemporary music from Turkey between 2 and 14 September 2020 both in Istanbul’s most beloved open-air venues and on the festival’s online platform. The details of the online platform will be announced in the coming days.

The 27th Istanbul Jazz Festival, postponed to a later date due to the COVID-19 outbreak, will meet the festival audience both in open-air venues on 2-14 September and on a digital platform on 5 September-1 November. The concerts will be available for streaming after two days on the online platform for those who would like to experience the festival in distance. The online concerts will be open to worldwide access for 45 days with tickets.

>> Please click here for the festival programme and the tickets.

Despite the difficult circumstances of a pandemic, the decision to hold the 27th Istanbul Jazz Festival was taken to support musicians and workers of the music sector, and to ensure the continuity of cultural activities. With concerts in open-air venues and their online screenings, Istanbul Jazz Festival would like to emphasise the indispensability of cultural life under any circumstance and encourage artistic production by reuniting artists with their audiences. The decision to organise the festival is also important for institutional sustainability in the field of culture and arts. Organised by İKSV, a non-profit cultural institution, the festival invites its audience to support both artists and industry workers in this difficult period.


The programme of the 27th Istanbul Jazz Festival comprises concerts in open-air venues and on the digital platform. Concerts will be held with a limited audience due to pandemic measures. Concerts can also be streamed online from 4 September to 16 October, which will require tickets.

Selen Gülün Quintet feat. Sibel Köse & Ece Göksu
Wednesday, 2 September, 21.30, Sultan Park - Swissôtel The Bosphorus

A team of Turkey’s most acclaimed jazz musicians invite you to relax your body and soul in the greenery of Sultan Park. Led by Selen Gülün, each musician in this team, namely Barış Doğukan Yazıcı, Serhan Erkol, Kağan Yıldız and Ferit Odman, is a star in their respective fields. Furthermore, two equally important names will be accompanying the team on stage; Sibel Köse and Ece Göksu, regarded as the most prominent jazz vocalists of our country. Thus, the all-star team of Turkish jazz emerges! This event, which will bring jazz fans closer together, bears the distinction of being a step towards turning the Turkish Jazz Through Generations night held two years ago into an annual event.

Musical stories from the urban singer/songwriter

Can Güngör
Thursday, 3 September, 21.30, Sultan Park - Swissôtel The Bosphorus

On a gloomy night, Can Güngör returning home from his studio, asked himself ‘I’m not going to die alone, am I?’ In those moments, he wrote and recorded a song and uploaded it to the Internet. So many people found themselves and resonated with the song ‘Yalnız Ölmek’ (Dying Alone) that it was widely circulated and numerous adaptations were made. Shortly after Güngör, who is likened to an urban bard by music critics, saw his career swiftly take off. This year the musician released his 15-song album Sular Dar, which has been well received by the listeners for its calm, vibrant and eerie melodies. He reflects on his album and says ‘It involves an attempt to reach various musical points in song-writing, form, arrangement and orchestration’. At times he exhibits this effort on stage as well, with new versions of his songs. You can lend an ear to the stories of the urban bard at the open-air garden of Swissotel The Bosphorus.

Traditional dance rhythms will be the high point of the Vitrin Showcase

Baba Zula // Make Mama Proud
Vitrin Showcase Nights
Monday, 7 September, 20.00, Feriye

You never know what will happen when they take the stage! We are talking about world-renowned BaBa Zula, who reflects the slum culture of these lands with its music, stance and costumes. What makes their concerts so special is that first and foremost, they entertain themselves; Ümit Adakale may be in the middle of a djembe solo, while Levent Akman plays the spoons. Murat Ertel gets carried away while singing and raising his saz above his head, and Periklis Tsoukalas plays the oud on his knees. The band, who have been making music for 20 years, will liven up the festival stage with a repertoire from their much-loved old albums as well as songs from their latest album Derin Derin. Attention to the festival participants: the band has not performed in a while; their energy and excitement will be excessive! Social distancing rules will be observed during the concert, so there will be no ‘halay’ (circle dance) this time but you can dance in your personal space! The other band that will take stage is Make Mama Proud, who describe their stage as ‘pickaxes, shovels and destruction’. Inspired by garage, stoner, desert rock and blues, the band's musical vocabulary is quite extensive.

Psychedelic Interpretations from Anatolia

Ayyuka // Pitohui // Yasak Helva
Vitrin Showcase Nights
Tuesday, 8 September, 18.30, Feriye

A night at a countryside wedding, we’re dancing ‘halay’ (circle dance) to psychedelic music under colourful bulbs hanging from garden to garden... That’s how Ayyuka’s latest album, Maslak Halayı makes its listeners feel. The ensemble, which started off in Samsun with the desire to make improvisational music and flourished in Eskisehir, brings together surf rock, funk, punk and arabesque genres, with a foundation built on ‘70s psychedelic music and Anatolian rock. Ayyuka has been in a constant state of transformation ever since their debut album. Melodies usually replace lyrics. The band attributes the reason why they prefer nonverbal music to its potential of boundless improvisation. This means listening to different versions of their songs in every Ayyuka concert. Among the bands that will take the seafront stage of Feriye in Ortaköy before Ayyuka, is Yasak Helva, who call their music electric folk and have made a name for themselves at many international festivals, and Pitohui, a band that expands their multi-layered music universe with electronic touches.

Electronic sounds rise from the festival

Islandman // Tuğçe Şenoğul // Guguou
Vitrin Showcase Nights
Wednesday, 9 September, 18.30, Feriye

The last of this year’s festival’s Vitrin Showcase Nights is dedicated to local electronic talents. Guguou, Tugçe Şenoğul and Islandman will be taking the stage at Feriye's garden leaning on the Bosphorus. Known for enriching popular sounds with electronic tones, Guguou began to make music in 2017 when Güneş Terkol was invited to the São Paulo Biennial. Another guest of the night is Tuğçe Şenoğul, who began her music career with the dark synth bands Seni Görmem İmkânsız and Kahinar. She continues her solo career by combining the dark melodies inherited from the bands she performed in with her original lyrics and powerful vocals. For the night she will also perform songs from her latest album Gölgelerine. The closing act of the night is musician and producer Tolga Böyük’s independent music project Islandman. Having proven his talent for dance music and reached global recognition with his first single Ağıt, Islandman introduces shamanic tones into electronic music.

The songs of these lands: Kardeş Türküler

Kardeş Türküler ve konuklar Tuluğ Tırpan & Elina Duni // Andalusia Trio
Thursday, 10 September, 20.00, Kuruçeşme İspark

They have kept the original melodies and dances of these lands, from the Balkans to Mesopotamia, alive without losing their origin. They have been carrying stories that are hundreds of years old to every corner of the world, from Istanbul to Australia, from Morocco to Europe for the last twenty- seven years. Kardeş Türküler, true to its name (Fellow Folk Songs), is visiting the festival with their music that, in their own words, ‘carries the hope of living together peacefully in a multicultural geography’. Architect of original musical projects Tuluğ Tırpan, and Albanian composer and singer Elina Duni will be accompanying the ensemble with their music infused with jazz and local motifs. The night will begin with the oriental tunes of Andalusia Trio. Polarization and prejudices will disappear and bridges of music and fellowship will be established during this summer evening, where your heart will warm up with familiar songs even if they are in different languages, and unforgettable life-long memories will remain.

*The concert is realised with the support of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and Kültür AŞ.

A night of jazz with French gypsy influences

Bilal Karaman’s MANOUCHE A LA TURCA feat. Muhammed Yıldırır & Ramazan Sesler // Büşra Kayıkçı
Saturday, 12 September, 20.00, Kuruçeşme İspark

At this colourful concert MANOUCHE A LA TURCA led by Bilal Karaman, one of the best guitarists and composers of his generation, will take the stage. The band is widely admired for the way it blends French Gypsy Jazz with familiar melodies. Karaman will be accompanied on stage by Muhammed Yıldırır, who entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the Fastest Violin Player, Ramazan Sesler, who is a clarinet virtuoso just like his father, Özgün Bora, who has produced original works in numerous genres and Baran Say, who is a favourite at festivals for his acoustic and double bass skills. Neo-classical composer and pianist Büşra Kayıkçı, one of the Young Jazz finalists, will be opening the concert. The pianist, makes the audience experience the multi-disciplinary work practice she acquired during her interior design career with the melodies rising from her piano. The night will start calmly and conclude with vibrant tunes.

*The concert is realised with the support of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and Kültür AŞ.

Anatolian tales, jazz melodies

Jülide Özçelik // Bilge Günaydın Quintet ‘Daydream’
Monday, 14 September, 20.00, The Marmara Esma Sultan Mansion

Musician Jülide Özçelik has strong ties to the music of these lands, yet she is equally strong in presenting these melodies at universal standards. This time, Özçelik will be on stage with songs from her album Nefes, which she describes as ‘a place where people will put their mind at ease and relax’. Popular names of the local jazz music scene Cem Tuncer, Ediz Hafızoğlu, Efecan Tuncer, and Ercüment Orkut will accompany Özçelik with their instruments as she delivers her interpretations of folk songs. The other guest of the night is pianist Bilge Günaydın, who offers colourful journeys to music lovers with her compositions and arrangements. During the concert, which will also be an occasion to celebrate the release of her first album Daydreams, the pianist will briefly take away the audience from the fast pace of life and open the doors of her tranquil world. The starting point of this musical journey will be the elegant Esma Sultan Mansion.

Festival’s stellar section: Vitrin Showcase for Contemporary Music from Turkey will be held online this year

This year, Vitrin: Showcase for Contemporary Music from Turkey that supports successful musicians and ensembles of the local scene in their global outreach, will be held online with the support of +1 on 7-9 September 2020. A group of international delegates composed of leading representatives of international music industry and journalists will explore contemporary music from Turkey digitally. The series will focus on the successful musicians and ensembles of the local scene and will aim to provide them with an opportunity to reach a wider international audience.

Vitrin: Showcase for Contemporary Music from Turkey was developed to enhance intercultural dialogue through jazz and contemporary music. The rapid development of music production in Turkey and the multitude of recently emerging musicians lead to new projects not only in Turkey but also in the international arena, receiving great interest and demand. This productive environment in the local music industry has motivated the Istanbul Jazz Festival to offer an effective international platform for emerging artists.

The series will once again feature successful contemporary music and jazz artists and ensembles from Turkey. 8 online concerts to be accessed on the festival’s digital platform will be followed by prominent representatives of the international music industry between 7-9 September. The showcase will be complemented by online panels and seminars for the delegates. The sectoral meetings to be held will bring local and foreign music professionals together and establish relations that will encourage local artists to reach out to the international arena.

For more information about Vitrin Showcase for Contemporary Music from Turkey:

Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Awards

The 27th Istanbul Jazz Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to two veteran names of jazz, Atakan Ünüvar and Barbaros Erköse as previously announced. This year, with COVID-19 measures in mind, the festival's Lifetime Achievement Awards will be delivered to our artists without any ceremony.

Young Jazz concerts

Young Jazz is being organised for the 18th time with the 27th Istanbul Jazz Festival. Young Jazz provides a platform for amateur or emerging musicians and bands to make their early professional stage appearance within the Istanbul Jazz Festival. Every year, the festival opens applications for young musicians from Turkey with interest in classical or contemporary forms of jazz, as well as jazz fusions such as rock, funk, Latin, pop, acid or electronic influenced forms of jazz, soul, R&B, or similar genres. The applicants submit demo recordings either of their original compositions, or covers of jazz standards or similar songs of their choice. Musicians and bands to take the stage at the festival’s Jazz in the Parks concert series are selected by the Young Jazz Selection Committee.

The Young Jazz finalists for this year are Afroloji, An Quartet, Büşra Kayıkçı, Deli Bakkal, Saynur Eren Quartet and Udgang Trio. Selected bands and solo projects will meet the audience at Jazz in the Parks concerts to take place in three major public parks of the city. The detailed schedule of the Young Jazz concerts will be announced soon.

Festival tickets

Tickets for the 27th Istanbul Jazz Festival go on sale on Friday, 14 August at 10.30, on

Tulip Card holders receive special discounts of up to 25% on their ticket purchases. Priority sales for Black and White Tulip Card holders take place on 12 August, and on 13 August for Red, Orange and Yellow Tulip Card holders. For details, please visit:

Supporters of the 27th Istanbul Jazz Festival

The 27th Istanbul Jazz Festival is organised with the support of the Festival Sponsor Garanti BBVA as well as a number of different organisations. Vitrin Series Sponsor is +1.

Anadolu Efes and Mastercard also offer their support to the festival.

The 27th Istanbul Jazz Festival also receives support from the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Beyoğlu Municipality, Beşiktaş Municipality, Beylikdüzü Municipality, and Şişli Municipality. The festival is also organised in cooperation with Feriye, The Marmara Esma Sultan Mansion and Sultan Park Swissôtel The Bosphorus.

The Founding Sponsor of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts is Eczacıbaşı Group, Official Hotel Sponsor The Marmara Collection, İKSV Insurance Sponsor is Zurich Turkey, Health Service Sponsor is American Hospital, and other service sponsors are Navitas, GFK, AGC Software, Loodos Tech and OMD.

This year’s festival campaign

The 27th Istanbul Jazz Festival’s campaign was led by an advisory board composed of Uğurcan Ataoğlu, Pemra Ataç and Kenan Ünsal. The festival poster was designed by Onur Aşkın and the film was animated by Baran Baran with soundtrack by Cem Tuncer.

Istanbul Jazz Festival continues to support gender equality in music industry

Istanbul Jazz Festival will keep chasing its goals towards gender equality set by the Keychange Programme that monitors gender equality in the music industry. Pledging for a gender balance of at least 50 percent in music festivals until 2022, Keychange Programme is a pioneering international music initiative based in the UK. Currently over 300 festivals are members of the Keychange programme including Istanbul Jazz Festival since 2019, and others from Turkey such as Ankara Jazz Festival, Bozcaada Jazz Festival and Zorlu PSM Jazz Festival.