A Young Turkish Prodigy studying at Julliard is called:
"School of Musical Genius"

Arzu Kaya URANLI

Kara Miyase Unal is only fourteen years old yet her experience in music goes far beyond her fourteen years, in fact, she has been playing the violin since she was the age of 2 and a half...

Kara spent three summers studying at the Indiana University of Music String Academy in Bloomington, Indiana. The past three summers were spent at Greenwood Music Camp in Massachusetts studying chamber and orchestral music.

At the age of five, Kara was a soloist with the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra for their tiny tot performances.

In 1994, Kara was a performer on Ankara, Turkey State Radio and Turkish National TV. Again, in 1995 through 1997 Kara was featured on the Ankara State Radio children's program.

At the age of 10, her solo debut was with the Bilkent Sinfonia, a professional orchestra comprised of musicians from different countries, in Ankara, Turkey, under baton of Peter Marchbank. She performed the Concerto in g minorNo.1 Opus12 by Antonio Vivaldi.

In July 1997, Kara was a featured performer at the opening ceremony of the Performing Arts Center for Youth in Izmir, Turkey. As a result of this performance, she was on various national TV programs and newspapers. Miss Unal was featured in the 6 August 1997 edition of the Turkish magazine Aktuel.

In December 1997, Kara had the honor of playing for the Turkish Consulate general and the Turkish delegation to the United Nations in New York City.

Ms. Unal performed a recital in July 1998 in Bursa, Turkey. At that time, conductor Hikmet Simsek was in the audience and invited her to perform four days later with the Bursa Symphony Orchestra at their final concert of the 1998 season. Kara performed the first movement of the Concerto#3 in G major by W. A. Mozart. This program was filmed and broadcast nationwide by Turkish station TRT 1.

Her most recent performances have been in New York City at  Colombia University in a program celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Turkish Republic and recital in Paul Hall at The Juilliard School of Music.

Kara is a brilliant student in the Pre-College division of the Julliard School of Music in New York City. Some of the most famous graduates of Julliard are violinists Yirsak Periman, Issac Stern and Nigel Kennedy well know pianists are the siblings Guther & Suher Pekinel.

My fist question to Kara's parents was "How they recognized her talent at such a young age?"

Her mother Donalee Unal answered, " When Kara was a baby, I read her Suziki's biography, who was a Japanese composer. She was impressed by his thesis. With her recomendation I read the book, too. In that book, Suziki states that every child can play an instrument by listening in the same way that they learn how to speak."

Donalee liked the idea and when Kara was 2 and a half they bought her a tiny violin and she started practicing.

I couldn't keep myself from asking them "Is it difficult to be a parent of an artist?"

That became the reason for her father, Cardiologist Dr. Abdurrahman Unal to become more involved in his daughter's talent. He stated that Kara has been taking private violin lessons for 3-4 hours every day since she was 2 and a half years old. She attends public school and has lots of homework, of course. As parents we try to keep her environment quite and neat. Being talented is not enough for being successful, she must practice all the time. She must be organized and disciplined. As a matter of fact, Kara knows her responsibilities, she has the discipline and enthusiasm and realizes that success doesn't come easily and is willing to work for it. As parents we believe in her and support her."

I turned to Donalee and asked, "Do you believe that Kara will be a successful talent someday? why did you want her to play the violin?"

Donalee answered so frankly, "I think that it is important for children to be exposed to music, the arts must be part of their education in order to appreciate the arts and to be a better audience member, you must be exposed. This exposure is very important in order to follow your child's interests and to give them support and encouragement. You do it as a labor of love, as a parent."

All of a sudden I wondered "What would Kara want to accomplish by the age of twenty?"
Kara replied, "I want to be a world renowned violinist and model."

Although she is only thirteen years old, she is a very good violinist. I don't see any obstacles that she cannot face and she will be a world famous violinist by the age of twenty. She also has every opportunity to become a beautiful model which was evident in her photo shoot in the February/March 1999 issue of Girl's Life magazine.

Kara continued by saying that with dedication and confidence she too can claim what the world famous violinists prior to her have, Yitzak Periman represented the Jewish community, Yo Yo Ma reminds everyone of China, and Kara Unal, I want to represent Turkey all over the world, too. There are no but's, or's or if's about that."

While I was listening to Kara, I was truly amazed by her. I realized that her teacher Shirley Givens joined us, too. She has been teaching Kara for three years. I asked her "What are you most impressed by Kara?"
She said, "Kara is a very talented young lady, and of course Julliard attracks the very best talent. What impresses me most about Kara is her absolute dedication to what she is doing and her absolute enthusiasm. She is very devoted and dedicated. It's wonderful to teach her because she has a very definite idea of what she really wants to do and she is very imaginative and expressive. It's really exciting to teach her because she is very enthusiastic. She is not doing it because someone makes her do it. She is doing it because she wants to do it. It makes me very excited to teach such a talent like her. She is a wonderful talent.

When I heard that, I was kind of anxious, what if she would be disappointed in the future? And I asked, "How bright is Kara's future?"

"One can never predict what will happen to a talented person. The world is changing so fast. They have to be extremely well prepared. They have to be the very best of what they do. Competition is great. If you are at the top of what you do, there are many opportunities. Kara makes improvements every single week and I believe she'll have many opportunities." said Ms. Givens.

Dr. Unal added, "In Julliard, students are supported by their ethical background, and we want the Turkish Community to support her as an artist. It would be wonderful for her if she could be given more opportunities to perform. As a talented and enthusiastic artist, Kara does what she has to do. However, the Turkish Community would be more active for her and she'd be so happy to serve the community in this way.

We ended our conversation to remember Cahit Unyaylar, who is a very well known Turkish classical musician, who performed with Kara when she was on a television program in Turkey. Cahit Unyaylar's wish for Kara was to "let God bless Kara and all talents like her."

When I was getting ready to leave, Kara whispered to me, "I love Turkey so much, " and smiled.
"Turkey loves you too, and we are proud of you, " I replied.

BAHAR sayisi web'dedir.



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