EXTRAORDINARY, TALENTED, AND ENERGETIC: GISELLE TAVILSON

PRODUCING PROJECTS BACK TO BACK WITH GREAT PASSION, THE ARTIST IS GOING TO JUMP OVER THE BOSPORUS BRIDGE SOON WHILE PLAYING HER VIOLIN.  

Giselle Tavilson is coming from a family that has been in arts for so long. She is the daughter of the famous composer İstemihan Taviloğlu. The father who used to tell her daughter fairytales behind the piano had contributed greatly to his talented daughter’s development. Giselle Tavilson had signed under many colorful projects, combining art and show. She goes on stage with her fun and unforgettable performances. The beautiful artist who also attracts considerable amount of requests from abroad says that although she has a busy schedule, she doesn’t feel like she is working because she loves what she does. She dances with the dancers while playing her electric violin and she flips in the air. Giselle Tavilson who warms our hearts with her energy and her outgoingness answered our questions.

You are the daughter of a musician father, is this the reason of your interest in music?
I am the daughter of a composer. My father is İstemihan Taviloğlu, he used to be the student of Adnan Saygun who is counted among the top five musicians of Turkey. Today, his works are still performed at symphonies. I picked up an interest in violin because I was born to a musician family; I played violin.

You moved to the USA when you were 14, what did you do there?
Yes, you can call me half-Turkish and half-American. My years of youth were spent in the USA. Both Turkish and English are my mother languages. I know Turkish traditions well, and when I am out of country, I don’t become alienated. This has affected my stage life positively.

You also perform out of country, right?
Yes, I get many offers from abroad. This month, an offer came from Germany. Next month, London is going to be followed by Belgium. When you are a person of the world and if your performance is suitable for the world, you get offers from foreign countries. My performances are not limited to Turkey; I was able to open to the world; this makes me so happy.

Where did you receive your conservatory education?
I went to Ankara Hacettepe State Conservatory. When we returned from the USA, my father was assigned to 9 Eylül University as an academician. I continued my education there for two years.

Your father encouraged you to study music; he must have noticed your talent, right?
Yes, if he hadn’t noticed it, he wouldn’t have encouraged me. He was an honest person. I used to listen to his fairytales behind the piano. He used to ask me perform medieval dances. I was brought up in such family.

Is your mother a musician?
My mother is an economist. She is not a musician, but she had learned to play piano by herself. She has a beautiful singing voice. Sometimes she sings. One of my big brothers is a trumpet player. My aunt Oya Kınıklı is an important painter. The Swedish King’s first painting purchase from Turkey was one of her paintings.

Can we say that your childhood was spent among artists?
Yes, that is true. Since my life was busy with music and art shows, I used to think that this was the way that everyone lived, when I was a child. Maybe, that was the reason why I studied commerce; I might have wanted to do something different.

How did you make the decision to study commerce?
I was playing violin, but I was also curious about other things, or if I correct myself, the way that I was playing violin was boring to me. I wanted to do something different. I loved listening to classical music but its taboos and the strict way you have to perform it was boring. When you perform classical music, the ambience should be quiet; you have to dress, sit, and move in a certain way. Since these were all sounding so boring to me, I decided to become an executive in New York.

Was your idea of a violin performance born following this period?    
The idea came up, when I combined my violin and commerce knowledge. Something that I didn’t know that I had it in me came into existence all of a sudden. One of the successful nightclubs in İstanbul asked me, if I could play electric violin. There is no difference between playing an acoustic violin and an electric violin. I said, ‘Okay.’

It must be hard to flip and dance while playing violin…
First, you need the brainpower, you need to believe in that you can do anything you desire. Then, you need to work hard. I rehearse all the time. English has a proverb, ‘practice makes it better.’ I comply with it. I spend my days working non-stop.

Can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
We have significant projects coming up; one of them is the one where we use laser. Another is going to be in a balloon in Ürgüp-Göreme. Lastly, I am going to jump over the Bosporus Bridge while playing my violin. Our preparations continue. We have already applied for the Guinness World Book of Records.

For how long have your shows been continuing?
They have been continuing for 3.5 years. During this time, my name has won recognition. I am an ambitious and passionate person. We are going to create much better projects.

Do you go to classical music concerts?
Until recently, my big brother used to come to the USA to conduct orchestras, and I used to go his concerts; however, I don’t go often any more. Classical music concerts usually take place on the weekends, which is when my performances also take place. That is another reason. In addition, I travel a lot because of my job.

What do you have in your stage performance repertoire?
Covers of popular foreign songs, as well as classical music pieces take place. In the recent period, I included Turkish songs into my repertoire. In fact, everyone wishes to find something familiar in every organization I become involved. Some people say, ‘I don’t listen to Turkish songs,’ but in my opinion, our pop songs are not any worse than the songs that Rihanna sings.

What are your criteria when choosing classical music pieces?
I choose them completely according to their recognition. For instance, everyone knows Vivaldi and Four Seasons. Many genius composers have many heavy works. I don’t choose them. It is just like when doctors speak to you using medical terminology; you don’t understand a word; some heavy works composed are hard to comprehend. I choose popular pieces that have touched the society.

Is there any name that you admire among the musicians of the world who does what you do?
Yes, there is: Lindsay Stirling. She is a very interesting girl. She has been doing this for years. She has made many people fall in love with violin thanks to her albums. She has increased her recognition. People who watch my performance sometimes ask me whether I could play a song of her or not. There is also Kate Linn; she’s from South Africa; she is less known. However, I identify myself with both of them when it comes to my energy on stage.

Do you play another instrument?
When I was a young girl, my father taught me playing piano a little. When I got bored, he didn’t force me into it. I sing but not on the stage, because I don’t want to spoil the magic of my violin performance.

Also, you are creating a new Quartet group, isn’t that right?
Yes, I am going to be able to go on stage both as Giselle Tavilson and Giselle Tavilson Quartet Group. We will have an electric viola, keyboard, and another electric violin. Our spectrum is getting wider.

How do you keep your shape?
I think the most important thing is nutrition. I watch what I eat. I don’t eat white flour, bread, and rice. I do Pilates. We just made a deal with a teacher to work outdoors. Doing sports is important.