Meet the Musician: Yankı Karataş

Meet the Musician: Yankı Karataş

Welcome to "Meet the Musician," a behind-the-scenes blog series getting to know the Houston Symphony's exceptional musicians. In this series, we take you up close and personal with the artists who sit on stage at Jones Hall every weekend. Read on to learn more about the inspirations, challenges, and musical passions that drive these remarkable artists. And, of course, you'll learn some fun facts along the way! Dive in and help us celebrate the diverse stories and experiences that make each musician an integral part of our symphonic family.

Name: Yankı Karataş

Position: Second Violin

Hometown: Istanbul, Turkey

Tell us a little about yourself:

Hi everyone! I was born and raised in Turkey (Türkiye), and moved to the US in 2014. I’m currently finishing up a fellowship with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, and am beyond thrilled to be joining the Houston Symphony!

How did you get started playing your instrument?

My parents initially signed me up for piano lessons at a newly opened conservatory in my home city, after I apparently figured out how to play some soap opera jingles by ear on a toy piano. However, my piano career was short lived when I was told my hands were too small, so I was given a violin. I did not envision violin becoming my path at that age, but something about the process of getting better on this instrument grew on me as I got older.

Yankı with her first violin teacher at age 8.

What concert are you looking forward to performing the most this season or next season?

I’m very much looking forward to performing Mahler’s 3rd Symphony with Maestro Valčuha next season! Mahler has this ability to capture every emotion imaginable within the same piece of music in such pure and intense forms. Performing Mahler is always a powerful and meaningful experience for me.

What is your favorite piece of music?

It’s so difficult to answer, as it changes pretty much every week, but it has to be something with a choir, so either Beethoven’s 9th Symphony or Mahler’s 2nd. The human voice can be so powerful.

Outside of classical music, what genre of music is your favorite?

I’ve been obsessed with progressive rock from such a young age as to me it resembles the form and development of classical music in so many ways. I also enjoy funk and jazz.

If you could choose any three people, living or deceased, to have dinner with who would they be?

I think Jack Kornfield, Frank Zappa and Wassily Kandinsky would make a great dinner party!

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