Celil Refik Kaya


Friday, April 26, 2019
7:30 pm
Sundin Music Hall
1531 Hewitt Avenue
St Paul, MN 55104

Born in Istanbul, Turkey, Celil Refik Kaya began classical guitar at the age of six with his father. When he was 19, he earned his bachelor’s degree from the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University State Conservatory in Istanbul, and won a scholarship from the Turkish Educational Foundation. He also studied composition with Turkish composer Mehmet Nemutlu.

He earned a master’s degree from Mannes College, The New School for Music, where he studied with Michael Newman and Sharon Isbin. He also studied composing, arranging, and transcribing with guitarist-composer Frederic Hand.

Since his concert debut as a child, Kaya has won many awards. In 2012, he was the youngest first prize winner ever in the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition with the Buffalo Philharmonic. He is one of two three-time prizewinners in the Guitar Foundation of America International Guitar Competition, and a prizewinner at other international guitar competitions in Bulgaria, Greece, Austria, Turkey, and the US.

His first recording, Jorge Morel Guitar Music (Naxos) was critically acclaimed. He appears as a soloist, has conducted masterclasses, and appeared on radio broadcasts throughout the US and Turkey. As a concert soloist, he has collaborated with many orchestras and presented premieres of concertos by many well-known composers. Kaya himself is an avid composer. His more than 100 pieces include works for orchestra, solo guitar, violin, piano, string trio, duets, and others. His chamber and instrumental works have been performed in the US, Turkey, South Korea, and Australia, and selected works have been published in Canada and the US. He is only the third recipient of Harvard’s prestigious Dumbarton Oaks—Early Career Musician Fellowship and he holds the Harrington Fellowship at The University of Texas at Austin under guitarist Adam Holzman.