Violist / Educator
Gizem Yücel is a versatile concert violist equally at home in many genres from jazz, rock, experimental to classical. She holds bachelors and master's degree in viola performance from Hacettepe University State Conservatory and Bilkent University in her hometown of Ankara, Turkey. After moving to the States she received her artist diploma in viola performance from the State University of New York, Purchase College in New York and her doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a cognate in piano and conducting.
Gizem was a member of the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, and Bilkent Young Virtuoso in Ankara, Turkey for two seasons as well as Greensboro Symphony in North Carolina for five seasons under the baton of Dmitry Sitkovetsky. She has been well-received internationally at such notable orchestral, chamber and solo music festivals as the Ayvalık festival in Turkey, Şimdi Now Festival in Belgium and Germany, Łańcut Festival in Poland, Musica en Compostela in Spain, and Festival Del Sole Napa Valley, the Texas Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, Hot Spring music festivals in the U.S.
Gizem has collaborated with numerous esteemed musicians. Her performance credits include a European tour with renowned Turkish pianist Fazil Say and a tour with the legendary rock sensation Jethro Tull. She has also shared the stage with Rod Steward and her band opened for Santigold at an MTV production. Gizem has recorded with many great musicians from various genres such as jazz bassist Eric Revis, jazz pianist Antonio Truyols, classical pianists İdil Biret, Jean-Philippe Collard and folk-pop sensation Pearl and the Beard. She played live on TRT (Turkish Radio Television) radio made weekly appearances on Turkish late night television. Her SUNY quartet's recording has aired on the radio station WQXR NYC's "The Young Artists Of The Hour".
Gizem has relocated to NYC in 2014 and is now the Strings Director at Ethical Culture Fieldston School where she teaches and conducts the student orchestra. She is also teaching artist mentor for the Harmony Program, an organization inspired by El Sistema. Gizem is actively freelancing with various groups in the city such as The Chelsea Symphony, Imaginary Friends Ensemble, her duo "Okyanus" with partner/pianist Antonio Truyols and New Manhattan Sinfonietta. Gizem's primary viola teachers include Betil Başeğmezler, Cavid Cafer, and Scott Rawls.