Confessions of a Pianist's Wife

Bilkent Symphony

When I was in the acting school in Bilkent University, I used to sneak into the concert hall next door to hear Bilkent Symphony and sit in the balcony and listen… I have to confess that couple of times I fell asleep while they were performing, not because I was bored – I hope- but the music was so soothing after a long day’s work in the acting school. It was also because I didn’t know almost anything about the composers or the pieces and I wasn’t engaged enough with what was happening in front of me.
Then I met Emir. He was a classical pianist. My interest in him was not because he was Mr. fancy pants playing the piano, on the contrary from the get-go I have understood that piano will be his true love and I had to act accordingly!
I remember one day, just couple months after we started dating, he was getting ready for an important concert in which he was going to play Mendelssohn’s Violin-Piano Concerto with Marina. This peanuts-700x290_lineartopia_1was a piece that he never played before and he only had 50 days to get ready (Which is crazy, if you have any idea about playing piano). So he was practicing in the apartment with his second lover, the metronome (Miss Metronome is very annoying) and was working on a particular passage, over and over again. He has started from a VERY slow tempo and one notch at a time he was getting faster and was still struggling. He stopped, and said “Okay” took a deep breath “Let’s start over” And he went back all the way down to the slowest tempo one more time. I was stunned and annoyed and shocked and scared all at the same time. I said “I’m going”, “Where?”, “I will take a walk”. He didn’t question he knew that it was unbearable.
While I was walking I thought “If I keep dating him, and if this relationship goes somewhere, this will be my life… Do I really want this?” Then I called my friend Yasemin telling her what happened and while I was talking to her, I remember feeling good about this overall situation. Because I knew what it was to put up with the struggles and sometimes pain in order to make your dream come true.
photo 1Years went by, piano, metronome, Emir and I are happily married for 6 years now, living in a tiny apartment in New York all four of us. We don’t have children yet, but our foursome gave birth to projects that combine the two loves of our lives; music and theater. Together we created projects like Drama in Beethoven, Talking to Schubert, Genius by Chopin, Two Faces of Schumann… and produced casual concerts and shows in Caffe Vivaldi. Now we are getting ready for a big chamber music concert which will feature seven great musicians from our interdisciplinary group “New Yorker Ensemble” playing a fun concert themed “Folk in Classical Music”.
Obviously along the years I became a huge classical music fan. I often find myself bored while listening to other genres, except when there is a great virtuoso or a truly great voice performing. I find it boring because I feel like the music keeps repeating itself instead of making me travel from land to land, tickling my mind and touching my heart, like classical music does. Some people say that classical music is a “special” thing, they often use the word “education” with classical music. And with “education”, “institutions” come to mind, which I think take it away from our daily life and makes us see it “special”. So this may be seen as a nice round vicious circle, a loop-hole in our culture.
Emir used to say that it takes a little bit more time, maybe requires some effort to become a classical music lover. So you can build patience to follow a long piece of music without words (Of course not every classical music piece is without words, I’m speaking generally here). Also having a context helps, knowing about a composer’s life, what was he or she trying to achieve at that point of his/her life. But hey, every good thing has a price, so this is the price for classical music; taking a moment, slowing the time to breathe with music, to stay present with music. I find it entertaining. I will always remember my first time hearing The Rite of Spring from Concertgebouw Orchestra in Istanbul’s Ataturk Kultur Merkezi. It was like listening to a rock concert, my heart was pounding so hard the whole time. After the concert we couldn’t stop talking about it. So, exposure to live classical music helps tremendously, especially if you are witnessing great musicians playing with all their might.
New Yorker Trio @Caffe VivaldiOur cafe concerts at West Village’s Caffe Vivaldi have been so powerful for our audience, because they get to witness music being created right in front of their eyes; no stage lights, no musicians in black dresses coming from a backstage, no “magic”, just music… Once a young audience member came to us after concert and said “This is the most real thing I have seen for a long time”. His feedback made us very happy. Because that is what we’re tying to achieve. No dress codes, no procedure, no institution, no tickets, just a donation box… We said, if people like what we’re doing, they will support. We named ourselves “Classical for All”
Miss Metronome

As for our “foursome”, I find myself lucky to be sharing my tiny apartment with Emir’s lovers, although I still want to choke Miss Metronome at times.
Here’s a little clip as a sneak peek into Folk in Classical Music that will be performed on May 20th at Greenwich House Music’s intimate Renee Weiler Concert Hall:

Be cool, listen to #classicalmusic

Here I am, proud (and even late), to share #classical4all’s new season program in my blog. But it’s not too late because we have so many wonderful events coming! Be cool, listen to #classicalmusic
A community minded classical music movement
Throughout the 2014-15 season, we will be creating, performing and presenting nearly 50 concerts and performances both in New York and Europe. Our donation based events, as a part of our residency in Caffe Vivaldi, symbolize the spirit of our vision. We’re inviting you to enjoy your drinks while listening to classical music being performed just a few feet away and donate what you can afford.
Looking forward to this colorful season of music and theater!
Check out the full season calendar from this gallery and make sure to click here ; 

Our story on NY Press!

As Emir and I are getting ready for our next performances (Dec. 7-8th 3pm). It was nice to see our story (as a celebrity couple:) and the story of DRAMA in BEETHOVEN on NY PRESS. We hope to bring more music and laughter around the town. Shoot us an email to to receive notices of the upcoming shows and classes.

Striking a Chord with the Younger Generation

Classical music can really bring out the creativity in a couple. Ege Maltepe, an actress from Istanbul, and her husband Emir Gamsizoglu, a Turkish pianist, decided to move to New York City to pursue their artistic aspirations. They credit Gamsizoglu’s constant playing of classical music in their Upper West Side apartment as one of the reasons they created Drama in Beethoven, which they are performing this winter at Caffé Vivaldi in the West Village.

Click HERE to read the rest of the story.


In-Yer-Face with Beethoven!

photo 1I consider myself as a very lucky person, because I’m married to a classical musician whose work involves some of the greatest artists in the history of human kind. Often I get to hang out with people like Chopin, Bach, and Rachmaninoff. Everyday I’m witnessing how music, as one of the most abstract art form, can become the spokesperson of your emotions. Unfortunately I don’t play any instrument ( “Yet!” yells my former acting teacher George Morrison who often speaks to me in my head) but I’m a devoted listener of classical music since the day I met Emir.
Nowadays we are getting ready to perform our show DRAMA IN BEETHOVEN in New York City. This is a project that we’ve developing since 2009.

So ladies and gentlemen, Ludwig is in da house!

Ludwig Van Beethoven
Ludwig Van Beethoven

Reading about Beethoven’s life, his truthfulness, stubbornness and the way he directly speaks his mind, makes me think, “This guy had balls!”, and sometimes I wish I could be like him, even though he had a lonely life full of dysfunctional relationships. But then I think maybe some people has to suffer in order to create masterpieces like Hammerklavier.
The truthfulness, passion and consistency in Beethoven’s music, to me is incomparable even when I consider the other greatest composers (Here,  Emir would argue with me and tell me about the intelligence behind Bach’s Preludes-Fugues, ok I get it!). But to me Beethoven is unique, because when I listen to his pieces I feel like he just speaks to my face, holding me from my shoulders so I don’t run away. He speaks his thoughts, his anger, his love, his victories and losses… and he doesn’t let me go, he wants me to hear and understand every word! And he’s damn honest!
In DRAMA IN BEETHOVEN we conduct an experiment to give an option to the listener while listening to classical music, we link Beethoven’s music to stories. For example an important part of the performance is about the relationship between Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Beethoven’s Tempest Sonata, in that part I get to blush with excitement since two greatest artists are in the room together.
Come, join us and see me blush in West Village’s best music cafe, so Beethoven can talk to your face!
January 25th 6pm January 26th 4pm, at 32 Jones Street, 10014
Read our interview on Manhattan’s West Side Spirit (NY PRESS)

Beethoven is back! This time with stories…

2013_11_08-DRAMAinBEETHOVEN-Poster.001 Once upon a time there was a short German guy with a bad temper and a huge spirit and passion for music. His name was Ludwig.
Drama in Beethoven is a fun experiment to connect stories with Beethoven Sonatas. Developed as a CLASSICAL 4 ALL project, the show aims to create a direct and unique connection between listener and the classical music. “Music is just music! We are the ones who are labeling it with fancy halls and dress codes says Ege Maltepe, an actress, playwright and a former student of Mike Nichols, right before diving into a bloody scenario along with the 2nd movement Sonata No.7.
Emir Gamsızoğlu is a unique type of virtuoso, who started to play the piano at the age of 20, after quitting his career as a basketball player. He suggests using the help of stories about music and also making up your own stories on the pieces you listen or play. “I have my own relationship with music by visualizing stories or creating dialogues while I play. I ended up having scenarios that go along with pieces” This technique gives depth and color to Gamsızoğlu’s interpretation, but it’s also a great way to connect with classical music as a listener.
“I think it opens a door in your imagination, you become a child again! It sets your imagination free of labels, and through that freedom you can have a direct relationship with music. This is a paradox; we give classical music such an importance, which is great, but eventually it becomes so “important” that people think they won’t understand classical music, because it’s complex. There is nothing to not to understand and they just miss an amazing legacy!” adds Maltepe, happy to be developing this project since 2010.
Learn about how Beethoven is related to Shakespeare and how his love to Countess Guicciardi influenced him to compose the Moonlight Sonata and how can a musician creates his own stories through music.
Music plants stories, stories grow with music. Get ready to create your own story with Herr Ludwig !
November 23rd – 24th, 3pm (Saturday-Sunday)
December 7th – 8th, 3pm (Saturday-Sunday)
Caffe Vivaldi, 32 Jones Street 10014
Call 212-691-7538 for reservations
Suggested donation $20


Music Appreciation Classes with pianist/composer Emir Gamsızoğlu
January 5th, 6th, 12th, 13th, Upper West Side
CLASSICAL 4 ALL classes in New York will start with a 12 hour program about classical music composers, instruments, notation, and musical forms. Think of this series as a Music 101 class that is not in a ‘classroom’ atmosphere. We will listen, chat, sip our coffee and discover, re-discover the world of classical music.

Emir gamsizoglu
Emir Gamsızoğlu

I don’t believe in education as a mass production. That can easily turn into some sort of brainwashing. I believe in personal connections. I became a musician after the age of 20, because I was moved by music and that was the only reason. It became my passion, and was never my ‘homework’. Actually the “education” I had in the conservatory almost caused me to lose my connection with music, until I met a master musician and studied with him.
Now, my technique of teaching music, if I have one, is to find a personal connection between the listener and the music.

says Emir Gamsızoglu who became a professional pianist after the age of 20 after quitting his career as a basketball player. Read his story on Manhattan’s news portal DnaInfo here.
This 12 hour program also has a big bonus for you! You will be able to download our inspiring instructor Emir Gamsızoglu ‘s neatly organized 20GB classical music archive!

DATE: Jan. 5th Sat.
Jan. 6th Sun.

Jan. 12th Sat.

Jan. 13th Sun.
11am-2pm / 3-6pm
11am-2pm / 3-6pm
11am-2pm / 3-6pm
11am-2pm / 3-6pm
LOCATION: TBD  (Manhattan – Upper West Side)
FEE: $180 for 4 classes (12 hours)
917 216 9911

Sign up now via Paypal ( use )
More about our instructor, go to wikipedia