Turkey’s first female Western classical music orchestra conductor
I thought, “Why should I not conduct my own compositions?” and wanted to become a conductor.
Date of Birth: 1960
Place of Birth: Ankara
Field of Activity
“I received piano education at Ankara State Conservatory. There, I became interested in composing. My older sister Sıdıka Özdil was also thinking along the same lines. Composing was an important goal for us. We studied at the two departments at the same time. Composing is a magnificent world.
When I graduated from the piano department, I thought, ‘Why should I not conduct my own works, my own compositions,’ and set my foot on the path to becoming an orchestra conductor. When you become a composer, you start to feel all the musical colors an orchestra can convey. Once you really begin to hear the orchestra, you want to perform what you have composed for that orchestra. My experience was something like that. There are still not much female conductors in the world. For some reason this job is considered to be a man’s job, but it is not.”
After I started conducting I just couldn’t compose anymore. Because conducting an orchestra is the kind of thing where you must become one with the composer when you’re conducting. It’s as if that moment the composer’s blood is running in your veins. You just can’t sit down and compose paying no attention to all of that.
I cannot forget the very first second of my debut appearance as a conductor.When I saw myself at the helm of a huge orchestra full of accomplished musicians, I remember being terrified at first. I was trembling as I mounted the conductor’s podium. Before signalling the orchestra to begin the piece, I silently and deliberately scanned each member of the orchestra all the way from left to right. My aim was to meet their eyes. It may be this was the first time any of them had seen a woman conductor on the podium. As I lifted my right hand to conduct the first beat, I fell in love with my lifework at that moment. There was a palpable tremendous energy. I was able to lead them exactly according to the music as I heard it. This gave me great pleasure and a sense of confidence. It was the beginning of a passion that would be a lifelong passion. I realized the instant that passion began that it would last till the end of my life. I still live in that moment as if it will never end.
Zeynep Oral, “Akıl, yürek ve yetenekle kanatlanmak”, Zeyneporal.com, 2.7.2003.
- 1994İnci Özdil formed the Antalya Chamber Orchestra
- 1997İnci Özdil transformed the Antalya Chamber Orchestra into Antalya State Symphony Orchestra
İnci Özdil is the youngest conductor and the first female conductor to form a state orchestra in the Republic’s history.
- 2011Leading Women’s Award of the University Women’s Association of Turkey
- 1988″Best Commentator” Award in Hans Werner Henze Festival, Germany
Member of the Orchestra@Modern
Member of the Konyaaltı Branch of the University Women’s Association of Turkey, Antalya
Ankara State Conservatory, Ankara
Piano Department, student of Nimet Karatekin and Mithat Fenmen
Composition Department, student of Ferit Tüzün, Necil Kazım Akses and Nevit Kodallı
Guildhall School of Music, London
Royal Academy of Music, London, student of George Hurst, Colin Metters, John Carewe, Sir Colin Davis and Horst Neumann
Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena, worked with Carlo Maria Giulini
St. Petersburg Conservatory, St. Petersburg, worked with Ilya Alexandrovich Musin
Contributions to Society
Founding member and the conductor of Orchestra@Modern
Family and Friends
- Mother:(No information available, agricultural engineer)
- Father:Recai Tayyar Özdil (doctor, popular music composer)
- Sister:Sıdıka Özdil (composer)
Projects in her Honour
- Sebati Karakurt, “Kadın ya da erkek değil, iyi müzisyen olmak önemli”, Hürriyet Keyif, 9.10.2011.
- “Türkiye’nin ilk kadın orkestra şefi”, haberler.com, 4.11.2009,
- “Senfoniyi Bursa ile kucaklaştırmak istiyorum.”, dijimecmua.com, July/September 2009.
- Ali Koçak, “Kadın şeften kadın besteciler şöleni”, Açık Gazete, 7.3.2005.
- Zeynep Oral, “Akıl, yürek ve yetenekle kanatlanmak”, Zeyneporal.com, 2.7.2003.
- „Altın kız kardeşler”, Hürriyet, 22.11.1998.
- Nelleke M. Basar, “Inci Ozdil: Uniqe female conductor”, Hürriyet Daily News, 12.8.1997,
- Tarihçe: Ankara Devlet Çoksesli Müzik Korosu, guzelsanatlar.gov.tr
Source of Visual Images:
- İnci Özdil privat archive
Female Conductor Information Pool, Women in Music Internet Site:http://www.kapralova.org/CONDUCTORS2.htm