Gifted Bulgarian Turkish pianist Birsen Ulucan to perform Beethoven’s Symphony No 3 “Eroica” in London

Classical music lovers will know that Franz Liszt’s piano transcription of Beethoven’s Symphony No 3 “Eroica” is both technically and musically very demanding for the performer.

Birsen Ulucan’s performance, a free concert in the heart of London in mid-March offers a rare opportunity to hear this great piece performed as a piano solo.

Of Bulgarian Turkish heritage, Birsen is one of the most highly regarded pianists of her age, who has played at major events with leading orchestras all around the world, sharing the stage with artists such as Maxim Vengerov, Marta Gulyas, Fernando Peres and Laszlo Fenyo.

She was born into a family of doctors, who believed that Art is the most refined form of human expression and, having discovered her talents for the piano as a child, she was encouraged to pursue her musical talents, as were her violinist siblings Ayşen Ulucan and Özcan Ulucan.

The artist has four recordings with Lila Music Label (İstanbul) and two others with Çağsav Music (Ankara).

On 14 March, Birsen will give a free recital of Beethoven’s Symphony No 3 “Eroica” at the wonderful St James’s Church, near Piccadilly Circus. All are welcome!

Concert Details

Title: Birsen Ulucan performs Beethoven’s Symphony No 3 “Eroica”

Date: Thursday 14 March 2024

Start Time: 7pm

Venue: St James’s Church, 197 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LL

Admission: Free – no prior registration is needed.

More info: you can find out more about the concert from the St James’s Church, and about the artist here.

About Birsen Ulucan

Born in the Bulgarian city of Shumen, Birsen Ulucan started learning the piano at the age of seven. In 1984 she was admitted to the piano class of Ekaterina Tszetkova at the Dobri Hristov Music School in Varna. In 1982 she took second in the National ‘Svetoslav Obretenov’ Music Contest, in 1983 first in the performance branch of the National Radio Competition held in Bulgaria and second in composition, and in 1988 second in the ‘Interpretation of Bulgarian and Russian Composers’ Competition, which she entered in Bulgaria.

In 1989, she graduated from the music school and that same year emigrated to Turkiye with her family. At the Istanbul State Conservatory she studied under Prof. Meral Yapalı, receiving her diploma after one year, and for four years she taught there as a lecturer.

In 1992, she and her brother Özcan Ulucan entered the International R. Lipizer Violin Competition held in Italy, and as a violin-piano duo they shared the prize for the best interpretation of a Beethoven sonata.

Birsen continued her education in the class of Joan Havill at the Guildhall School of Music in London, having been awarded a fellowship in 1993 by the Turkish Education Foundation and an additional grant by the Eczacıbaşı Culture and Art Foundation. In 1996, she received the Soloist Diploma from this school, the equivalent of a Master’s degree, and that same year won first prize in the Smith Kline Beecham Music Contest held at Oxford, where she gave concerts.

From 1997-99 Birsen Ulucan studied at the City University of London and was awarded a doctorate. She performed the Liszt Piano Concerto at St. John Smith Square – one of London’s most prestigious concert halls.

Between 2000 and 2004, Birsen was employed as a pianist in the class of the world-famous violinist Maxim Vengerov at the Saarbrücken Music Academy in Germany, thus having the opportunity to study and work on the major compositions in the piano-violin repertoire.

Since 1989, she has played with Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Ferenc Liszt Chamber Orchestra and the leading orchestras of Turkiye. She has also given concerts at such festivals as the Salzburg Mozarteum (1996), International Istanbul Festival (1992 and 1993), France International Flain Music Festival (1996) and Cyprus Bellapais Music Festival and has given concerts in Bulgaria, Turkey, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Italy, France, Austria, Israel and Portugal, the artist continues with her solo and chamber music concerts.

İn February 2023 she was invited to give a piano masterclass at Eton College, London.