The Society is pleased to have as its President the international conductor Cem Mansur, who has conducted the choir with the City of London Sinfonia, Britten Sinfonia and the Akbank Chamber Orchestra in Istanbul and Izmir.
Born in Istanbul, Cem Mansur studied music in London at the City University and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he was awarded the Ricordi Conducting Prize. He later studied at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute with Leonard Bernstein.
Cem was conductor of the Istanbul State Opera between 1981 and 1989. Following a highly successful London debut with the English Chamber Orchestra in 1985, he conducted various orchestras and opera companies in Holland, France, Italy, The Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Mexico, Israel and Russia, where he has been a frequent guest at the invitation of Valery Gergiev.
Between 1989 and 1996 Cem was Principal Conductor of the City of Oxford Orchestra and became Artistic Director of the Akbank Chamber Orchestra in 1998, winning special recognition for his creative programming.
Cem has appeared in concert with many internationally-renowned soloists. Orchestras he has recently conducted include: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players, City of London Sinfonia, BBC Concert Orchestra, George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra (Bucharest), Concerto Grosso Frankfurt, Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra and the Holland Park Opera Festival in London where he has appeared regularly since 1997.
Cem’s extensive repertoire includes many unusual works. He conducted the first performance of Elgar’s unfinished opera The Spanish Lady in London and in 2004 Offenbach’s opera Whittington had its first performance since its premier in the 19th century under his direction.