MERSİN - Anatolia News Agency
Eser Öktem, who is continuing his education at the Royal College of Music in England, aims to become the Turkish Republic of northern Cyprus' Fazıl Say, a world-renowned Turkish pianist. Öktem, born in Nicosia to a father from Mersin and a Cypriot mother in 1990, drew the attention of the music world as a child prodigy.
Öktem was influenced by his family's passion for music since his early years, and started playing when he was only a 3-year-old. Öktem continued his career in London, visiting his family in Nicosia during holidays. He said he was 10 when he took his first piano lesson. After two years, he got the highest score in the entrance exam and got accepted to Ankara State Conservatory's music department.
During his education in the conservatory, Öktem took lessons from professor Semra Kartal, a famous piano teacher. After becoming successful at playing the piano, he had the chance to benefit from a law that sponsors children who have marvelous abilities in the fine arts, qualifying as a child prodigy.
Öktem said he carried out his studies with Say's teacher, professor Kamuran Gündemir. He then continued his studies at Bilkent University's music and performing arts department, and performed in various places in Europe, Turkey and northern Cyprus.
He graduated as the most successful student from Bilkent University and continued his training with pianist Emre Şen, known as the �devil of piano� in foreign countries. Apart from Şen, the young pianist had the opportunity to study with famous Turkish pianists such as Gülsin Onay and Hüseyin Sermet, as well as Say.
�After I trained with English pianist Murray McLachlan in Manchester's Chetham's School of Music, I took an exam and ranked among the first five people among 1,500 people. I got accepted to one of the most prestigious schools in the world, the Royal College of Music in London. Now I continue my education with classes from world-famous pianist Kevin Kenner from the U.S.�
�I feel like I am conducting an orchestra'
Öktem emphasized that when he plays the piano, he feels as if he is leading an orchestra, and when he sits in front of the piano, he is full of unutterable energy. �I chose playing the piano because it is an instrument with which you can experience many things, play different types of music. Playing the piano is like conducting an orchestra. I play as if I am leading an orchestra. People can hear all the tones that one can get from an orchestra while listening to the piano,� he said.
Öktem, saying that he is an open-minded person to all kinds of music, stated that after he graduates from music school he will participate in an important competition, which one of his teachers offered. His plan is to work with respectable managers and get his name among the most successful pianists of the world.
�Each pianist gives a different feeling and electricity to its audience, with my talent I am planning to attain a worthy place in Turkey and the world's music market,� said Öktem.
Öktem, living away from his parents since he was 11, emphasized that to reach the point where he is, one has to work hard, be determined and sacrifice many things in life.