Turkish-American pianist Tolga Atalay ÜN was born in 1995, in Ankara, Turkey. He is currently in his first year of postgraduate studies (MPerf) at the Royal College of Music, London, studying piano with Prof. Norma Fisher, where he is a ‘C. Bechstein Scholar supported by a Christopher Hogwood Scholarship’. He recently finished his undergraduate studies in Prof. Norma Fisher’s piano class at the RCM, where he was a ‘Kenneth and Violet Scott Scholar’ and he has been admitted to the degree of Bachelor of Music (Honours) with First Class. He also studied the harpsichord for two years with Prof. Terence Charlston and piano with Prof. Niel Immelman at the RCM. He was generously supported by Sevda-Cenap And Music Foundation and Talent Unlimited.
In September 2016, Tolga Atalay ÜN was selected as a scholar to the ‘Young Musicians on World Stages’ (YMWS) project created and mentored by Güher & Süher Pekinel with financial support of TÜPRAŞ.
Playing as a soloist with the Ankara Youth Symphony Orchestra, as well as conducting them from the keyboard in the opening concert of 33rd International Ankara Music Festival in April 2016 won him a great recognition amongst the musical authorities. His recent prizes include the Beethoven Medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians as a result of winning the First Prize and the Thomas Harris Beethoven Award at the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe’s 2017 Senior Intercollegiate Piano Competition; the Shared First Prize, as well as the Prize for the Best Performance of A.A.Saygun and the Audience Prize at the 4th Ahmed Adnan Saygun Piano Competition in Turkey, 2017; the First Prize at the Kendall Taylor Beethoven Competition at the RCM in 2017 and the Second Prize at the Broadwood Horniman Harpsichord Competition in November 2015. He played numerous concerts in many different countries, such as Turkey, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece and Romania; and in prestigious concert halls such as London Royal Festival Hall, Cadogan Hall, St.Martin-in-the-Fields, RCM Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall, Salzburg Mozarteum, Bayerische Musikakademie Marktoberdorf, Boğaziçi University Albert Long Hall, Ankara MEB Şura Concert Hall, Bilkent Concert Hall and Antalya Cultural Centre. He participated in masterclasses given by renowned pianists and harpsichordists such as Ton Koopman, Janina Fialkowska, Rolf Plagge, Ian Jones, Gordon Fergus-Thompson, Andrew Zolinsky, and Daniel Shapiro. He also had conducting lessons given by Turkish Conductors Orhun Orhon, İbrahim Yazıcı and Burak Tüzün. As a result of this, he conducted numerous concerts with orchestras including Hitit Philharmonic Orchestra (a volunteer orchestra that he formed with his friends), Hacettepe Youth Symphony Orchestra and Ankara Youth Symphony Orchestra.
In 2004, he was accepted as a member to the Polyphonic Children’s Choir of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, conducted by Ahter Destan. During 2004-2009, he participated in many concerts, tours and organisations as a choir member and accompanist. In 2007, he was offered a place to start his professional piano studies with Sibel Özgün at the Hacettepe University Ankara State Conservatory, where he was graduated with the “Top of the School Award” in 2014. During his seven-year conservatory education; he gave many concerts, premiered many pieces and made many radio recordings as a pianist, conductor, chamber musician and accompanist. He took lessons about Modern Music History and Contemporary Music Techniques given by a famous Turkish composer İlhan Baran in 2009-2013. In May 2009, he was awarded the “honourable mention” in the Fourth International Istanbul Pera Piano Competition and in 2010, the “Jury’s Special Award” in “The National Chopin Piano Competition”, which was organized jointly by Başkent University and Bahçelievler Rotary Club in Ankara, Turkey under the auspices of the Polish Embassy, to commemorate Chopin’s 200th birthday. After winning this prize, he got an invitation to become one of the founder members of Bahçelievler Interact Club. As an Interact, he has had the opportunity of participating in various social activities.