Emir Gamsızoğlu has one of the most extraordinary life stories among classical musicians. He started to play the piano at the age of 20 and he was a professional basketball player in the Turkish Basketball League before 20.
After a year of private lessons, he became the oldest student, accepted to the piano department of Istanbul University State Conservatory in 1995. The Lions Club gave him “The Young Musician Of The Year” award in 1999. After completing the conservatoire, he went to Paris to study with Seba Baştuğ Şen and Turkish State Artist Hüseyin Sermet. His life story from sports to music has become a true inspiration for musicians who started their careers late.
Gamsız started playing professional concerts during his studies with Hüseyin Sermet in Paris. Since then, he’s been performing in various European countries, United States and Turkey. Apart from his engagements as a pianist, Gamsız is also known as a composer, a writer (Philosophy and Sociology), a filmmaker as well as his interdisciplinary work that combines music with other fields. He prepared and broadcasted a radio show named “Notada Yazmayanlar (Unwritten on the Scores)”, penned articles for Andante music magazine, created a children’s show that was sold-out for 5 years between 2008-2013 and another season long sold-out children’s show in 2019-2020 called “The Tempest”. He still writes articles for “Milliyet”, a national newspaper in Turkey. In 2008 he became the first Turkish pianist to perform J.S.Bach’s Goldberg Variations in Turkey. Beyond his solo career, he’s often invited to play chamber music by well known artists such as Chen Halevi, Natalie Clein, Marina Chiche, Ittai Shapira and Belcea Quartet. In 2007, Gamsızoğlu, premiered his piece “Rhapsody on Istanbul Tunes” with Halevi, Chiche and Clein in Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall, Istanbul. He founded Istanbul Trio in 2002 and New Yorker Trio in 2013.
Gamsız met Pulitzer Prize wining composer David Del Tredici in The City College of New York. Gamsız was working as an adjunct professor in CCNY when he started to study composition with Del Tredici. Del Tredici encouraged Gamsız to concentrate more on his own compositions. In 2013, he released his first album Alla Turca Around the World (Alla Turca ile Devr-i Alem) that consists his own works.
During the 11 years they lived in New York City, Gamsız created interdisciplinary projects with his wife and artistic partner Ege Maltepe who is an actress, theater director and a playwright. Their partnership created several interdisciplinary projects Variations After Joe (2009); Two Faces of Schumann (2009); Drama in Beethoven (2010), Genius by Chopin (2012), Talking to Schubert (2014) are among those Classical for All projects. Together they organized Classical Sundays and Schubertiades in West Village’s legendary music cafe Caffe Vivaldi, between 2010-17. After meeting Woody Allen in Caffe Vivaldi, the duo started filmmaking. Currently they have three feature films in production; “Greatest Classic”, “Chekhov in New York” and “Transformism”, written by Maltepe and Gamsız, directed by Gamsız. Scenes from Scores is a classical music film project written and directed by Gamsız. Their films question the status quo, common human behavior and our responsibility and power in transforming the culture.
After his concerts in Caffe Vivaldi, Gamsız was known as the Chatty Pianist. His concept concerts under this title continues to attract audiences of all ages and backgrounds. He performed a series of Chatty Pianist concerts in one of the most celebrated venues in New York City, Lincoln Center, and received a welcoming reaction from New Yorker classical music audience. In the meantime, Chatty Pianist concerts continued in different festivals in Turkey. Music and The Boundaries with Chatty Pianist in Antalya Piano Festival, Istanbul – Paris – New York by Chatty Pianist in Beylikdüzü Classical Music Festival in Istanbul. After his Caffe Vivaldi residency Gamsız moved his Chatty Pianist concerts into a salon in Murray Hill Manhattan and performed every Saturday night for two seasons in Manhattan Soiree Concerts.
In summer of 2018 Gamsız and Maltepe returned to their hometown Istanbul and started a cultural institution called Bach Café. Quickly, Bach Café became a new trend in Istanbul’s colorful arts & music scene, until the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gamsız returned to New York in 2019 to participate in a project called “Music, Silence, Memory” with Ittai Shapira, Cornelius Duffalo and Joseph LeDoux in Brooklyn’s celebrated contemporary music venue National Sawdust, co-sponsored by the Contemporary Freudian Society and the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.
During the pandemic, Gamsız started to work on his long time dream of Chatty Pianist animation films, including educational shorts as well as a 80+ min. movie. Gamsız has been working with the great Turkish illustrator and animation artist Nalan Alaca for Chatty Pianist animation films as well as Ege Maltepe as the director.
In 2021 Maltepe & Gamsız produced an application for IOS and Android devices called Bach Café Digital which provides cultural content to audiences as well as recognition and income opportunity for artists with their exceptionally high percentage of sales shares compared to the giant companies of the so called music industry.
Currently Maltepe & Gamsız are working on new printed publications of their works under their own company Bach Café. After many years of stage performances, Emir Gamsız is using the paused pandemic years (in terms of performance) to transform himself into an indefatigable recording artist. He already recorded three albums (Gamsız Piano, Classical Lullabies, Bach’s Educational Works) and continues to record upcoming albums including Goldberg Variations by Johann Sebastian Bach.