Ferhan & Ferzan Önder

Ferhan & Ferzan Önder © Nancy Horowitz

Extensive concert tours have then taken the pianists through all of Europe, the Far East and America. They have performed among others at the Guggenheim Museum New York, Wigmore Hall London, Semperoper Dresden, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Musikverein and Konzerthaus Vienna as well as in Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, Zurich, Barcelona, Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, Taipei or Salzburg.

There is always a special bond between twins – and Ferhan & Ferzan Oender bring this bond on stage. They are two individual artists but together they established a new musical identity, establishing themselves as one of the most promising Piano-Duos of the younger generation in the world’s concert circuit by means of their electrifying playing. What seems to be a cliché at first is not a cliché anymore if you see Ferhan & Ferzan Oender playing piano as they complete each other while playing.

Born in Tokat (Turkey) they moved to Ankara at the age of seven, following their brother who was already studying at the Conservatory. Only at the age of ten, Ferhan & Ferzan Oender began playing the piano. Four years later, they would win the „Jury Special Award” at the International Duo Competition in Terni (Italy). After a series of further prizes, Ferhan & Ferzan Oender won the First Prize at the International Piano Duo Competition in Hamburg.

Ferhan & Ferzan Oender’s talent combined with their ambition followed a decision, which proved to be the right one for the career:  after winning a competition which led to a concert in Vienna, the twins decided to move to Austria in 1985. They studied at the Academy of Music in Vienna with Noel Flores and Paul Badura-Skoda. Shortly before their final exams they met Alfons Kontarsky who became their mentor and a close friend until his death.

Ferhan & Ferzan Oender’s Turkish roots are influencing them regarding their rhythm, they are saying themselves, as they have been used to the irregular rhythms of traditional songs from their earliest childhood. The fact that they continue the tradition of Turkish piano-duos they call a coincidence. The pianist who were important for them and influenced them artistically are, among others, Vladimir Horowitz, Grigori Sokolov, Glenn Gould, Friedrich Gulda as well as Katia and Marielle Labèque.

Ferhan & Ferzan Oender have been invited to perform at various music festivals: Rheingau Musik Festival, Salzburg Festival, Beethoven Festival Bonn, Wiener Festwochen, Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, Istanbul Festival, Sommets Musicaux Gstaad, Festspielen Mecklenburg-Vorpommern or the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival.

In 2003, they performed with Sir Peter Ustinov at the Voestival in Linz. Similar musical-literary projects led to collaboration with Cornelia Froboess, Armin Müller-Stahl, Friedrich von Thun, Günther Jauch und Roger Willemsen.

Ferhan & Ferzan perform regularly with major orchestras like Staatskapelle Dresden, Mozarteum Orchestra, Stuttgarter Philharmonic and have collaborated with conductors as John Axelrod, Hans Graf, Howard Griffiths, Max Pommer, Hubert Soudant, Stefan Vladar or Hugo Wolff.

After releasing several CDs at minor labels they had their break through with their CD “Vivaldi Reflections” which had been released at EMI in 2001. This release also won the coveted ECHO KLASSIK Prize of the German Phono Academy. Their next CD was a “1001 nights” (EMI, 2003) with adaptations of Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, Balakirev and Mozart.

In 2011 a live recording of their concert of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” for choir, soloists, two pianos and percussion at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival had been published with Sony.

Ferhan & Ferzan Oender are living in Vienna. Since 2003 they have been appointed “Goodwill Ambassadors” of UNICEF.