Let's play!

My friends and students are already used to this; I’m always talking about my niece! Defne is almost two years old now,


and the pace of her learning amazes me! Every other day there’s a new song she’s singing in half gibberish half Turkish, or a new game, a new how-to… We skype couple times a week, and her mother feeds me with videos and photos, “feed” is the only correct term to describe it really, because I devour those images. And God bless Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger !
Anyway, my new year’s resolution is not to have a baby of my own, not yet. But the resolution is coming from Defne; her hunger to learn, discover and PLAY and have FUN! She starts the day at 7.30am, and the first thing she says is “Down”, she means let’s get out of the bed and start the day! From that moment on game playing starts, with her dolls, toys, with anything she finds, we paint and draw (her recent discovery is “Murals are cool”:), till she takes a nap, with her aunt’s words “She’s charging herself” . After the nap, the game is on!
This makes me think, I’m a thinker but you already know that, a human being in relatively “normal” conditions, spends her/his whole time “playing”, till the age of 10, even older.
"Where am I?" Defne
“Where am I?” Defne

At least 10 years spent with the hunger to discover and play. Then, usually the things we are “supposed to do” ruin all the fun and most of us become uninterested in learning something new.
Most of us lose the sense of game playing, or we need some alcohol to loosen up first before starting a fun evening… How can we lose something that is so deeply in our core since the day we’re born? Because that’s something built in our system; we are curious and playful creatures! Where does it hide?
I met with Spolin improvisation as an actor in 2007. I was lucky enough to go the acting school founded by Mike Nichols, George Morrison and Viola Spolin’s son Paul Sills.
2013:10 OYUN GUNU - 4
Spolin Workshop – Istanbul

I was amazed by this technique. It was simple and deep at the same time, and most definitely it was lots of fun! All of the classes were like parties in which we got to be silly, and free as if we were kids. I found this so important because most of my acting training till then was very “serious”. In 2009, I decided to bring this work to my home country and founded SPOLIN-IST. Now we have an expanding group of Spolin players, who constantly ask me when will be our next workshop:)
Spolin Books
Spolin Books

Viola Spolin, the grandmother of improvisation, touches us deep inside. She takes us to a place that’s so familiar to us that it is incredibly scary. Because it is scary to be your true self. But once you get there, you get addicted to it!
Here’s my new year’s resolution – finally!- I decided to increase the number of Theater Games addicts in New York City! A very affordable weekly workshop is gathering a diverse group of players. Join us, let’s go back to beginning!

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) http://nypress.com/striking-a-chord-with-the-younger-generation/

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

Summer in the city!

After an ‘eventful’ time in istanbul, Emir and I came back to our little palace on the Upper West Side. New Yorkers know exactly what I’m talking about when I say ‘palace’… Anyway, I was so scared of NYC welcoming us with an unbearably hot weather, but my fear didn’t become my reality. It’s been a humid but not unbearable late July, and I’m hoping the same from August, come on New York!
My main task for the summer is editing my video files that I have from my projects, plays that I was in, and the workshops I’ve been leading since 2009. Since last week I’m going through my videos, watching my performances both as a performer and a teacher. I remember Stanley Tucci telling us in a scene study class to get used to watching ourselves, and how he has filmed himself trying out things before accepting the part in Devil Wears Prada, and that’s also when he figured that this character wears glasses. So, I’m glad to find out that this boring task of ‘editing the videos’, that I’ve been avoiding for months, is actually helpful for my process as an artist.
I already put some new clips from my improvisation shows on my Youtube channel!

photoThe other thing that I’m concentrated on this month is working out! I know, New Yorkers are saying ‘so what?’ because that’s what they do on a daily basis. But this lovely Turkish girl never could make working out a daily habit – YET! We, Turkish people don’t understand why people would be moving during their spare time! But I get it! And apart from the Tai Chi classes in Bryant Park, I’m using the opportunity of having an ex-professional basketball player in the house:) Emir and I are training in Central Park. He made me purchase a WNBA basketball, a smaller and way cooler basketball, as seen in the picture! Today I was finally able to perform a proper left hand lay up. And, let me give you a hint right away, that’s what blogs do right, so here we go;  if you’re close to the rim, you should aim to hit the backboard, you’ll see that the ball will easily go in, it works like magic!

Ege & Emir



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)
CONTACT: classicalforall@gmail.com
917 216 9911

Sign up now via Paypal ( use emirgamsizoglu@gmail.com )
More about our instructor, go to wikipedia