Theodore I. Kartal


Theodore I. Kartal


Theodore I. Kartal joined Lee University in 2011. He is a cellist (1st desk) in the Knoxville (TN) Symphony. He is currently principal cellist of the Oak Ridge (TN) Symphony and Bryan Symphony (Cookeville, TN) Orchestras. In the past, Theodore has performed with the Shreveport (LA) Symphony and also served as principal cellist for the South Arkansas Symphony, Marshall Symphony (TX), Longview Opera (TX), Mimar Sinan Soloisti (Istanbul), and Spoleto Festival (USA & Italy). Other festivals he has participated in include: the Peter Britt Festival, Oregon Coast Music Festival, Texas Music Festival, Round Top Music Festival, and the Chatauqua Music Festival (NY).

Theodore Kartal has performed with world-renowned performers such as: Renata Scotto, Janos Starker, Leonidas Kavakos, Steven Doane, Edgar Meyer, Rinaldo Alessandrini, Dave Brubeck, and Luciano Pavorotti. Some of these performances were recorded and broadcast on live TV throughout all of Europe via Eurovision.

Kartal started studying music at age three, playing piano and violin. He started the cello at the age ten in Istanbul with the great cello pedagogue Resit Erzin. He attended the Paris Conservatory, studying with Bernard Michelin; and Louisiana State University, studying with Dennis Parker. He performed in masterclasses for Anthony Elliott, Lynn Harrell, Maurice Gendron, Desmond Hoebig, Ron Leonard, Martin Lovett, Andre Navarre, Jeffrey Solow, and Janos Starker. Kartal holds two masters degrees in cello performance.

His performances are broadcast frequently on public radio as cellist with the Knoxville Symphony Concertmaster’s Series and the Oak Ridge Symphony Chamber Players. Prior to moving to the United States in 1991, he was a professor of Cello at Mimar Sinan University of Istanbul. As a soloist he performed with orchestras in Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir and did recordings for state TV and radio. He’s also performed as soloist with the Knoxville Symphony, and Oak Ridge Symphony orchestras.

In 1993, he won the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion prize in Houston, Texas. In 1982, he was the first prize winner of the Istanbul Cello competition. As part of this same competition, he won the best interpretation award for his performance of a new contemporary work by Necil Kazim Akses. His debut with the Istanbul State Symphony performing the Dvorak Cello Concerto followed.

Kartal lives is Knoxville, TN and enjoys bicycling and working on cars. As a former rally car driver, he follows WRC (World Rally Championship).

* Member of the Knoxville Symphony Chamber Orchestra

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