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Since his concert debut at the age of 6, Celil has received high promised repetitions and accolades for his myriad accomplishments at an early age, winning First Prize in the 2012 JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition with the Buffalo Philharmonic; Top prizewinner of international guitar competitions including Sofia Bulgaria, Naxos Greece, Vienna, Istanbul, and throughout the United States, highlighted awards winner at top competitions such as 2012 Guitar Foundation of America(GFA), Indiana International Guitar Competititon, Schadt String Competition, Philadelphia Guitar Competition, Texas International Guitar Competition, Pearl and Julius Rising Young Stars, Columbus State and Louisville Guitar Competitions.
“The clean precision of Kaya’s playing, against the rushing sea of the orchestra, was spectacular and beautiful.” — Sheila Abrahams, NJArtsMaven.com
Celil appears as a soloist and international artist touring around the United States and Europe. As a concert soloist, he has collaborated with professional orchestras such as the Buffalo Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony, Hilton Head Symphony, Izmir State Symphony, Istanbul State Symphony, Bilkent Symphony, Round Top Festival Orchestra, Brevard Festival Orchestra, Lake Placid Sinfonietta, etc. which Celil has gained his great artistic recognition internationally. He conducted many masterclasses in the Music Festivals and Universities throughout the United States.
He had presented the premieres of concertos by Roberto Sierra (Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra), Derwyn Holder (New Jersey Baroque Orchestra), Leonard Handler, and Suleyman Alnitemiz (Istanbul State Symphony). Celil's first debut album "Jorge Morel Guitar Music" was released by Naxos in 2016.
As a soloist Celil works closely with our generation’s great composers including Lowell Liebermann, Jorge Morel, and Roberto Sierra, among many others.
"Young Genius of the Guitar" Composer J. Zenamon
Born in Istanbul, Turkey, Celil began his interest in classical guitar at the age of six with his father, Dr. Mehmet Refik Kaya. Early main instructors included generation-influenced educators such as Yusuf Doğan Büyüköğüt, Raffi Arslanyan, Soner Egesel. When he was 19, Celil earned his Bachelor Degree of Music from the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University State Conservatory with the Highest Honor Degree in Istanbul, and was granted the “Excellence” Scholarship from the Turkish Educational Foundation. During his Bachelor’s degree he studied composition with the famous Turkish composer Mehmet Nemutlu.
Celil expended his worldwide notice throughout the time he pursued his Master Degree of music in New York City at Mannes College The New School For Music. Celil, as a full-scholarship student, has also received the Excellence in Performance Awards by the Mannes College the New School for Music. Celil was proudly studied in the studio of Michael Newman (the disciple of Andrés Segovia, Oscar Ghiglia and Albert Valdes Blain) as well as private studies with Grammy awards-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin. During his master’s degree he studied composition with renowned guitarist-composer Frederic Hand. Celil is currently receiving the Harrington fellowship and teaching assistant –at the University of Texas at Austin’s Butler School of Music as a candidate of Doctoral Degree of Musical Arts program 3rd year, in the studio of prestigious guitarist of out time, Adam Holzman.
“His playing, which was concentrated yet seemingly effortless, created waves of melody and harmony that seemed to hypnotically wash over packed audience in Mayo Concert Hall" Zachary Sclar -The Signal
Celil performed in some of the most prestigious concert halls and the festivals around the United States including solo recital, concerto performances and master classes on the D'Addario Performance Series at Carnegie Hall, The Frick Collection Museum in NYC Summer Artists series, New York Guitar Seminar Festival at Mannes College, Round Top Festival in Texas, Brevard Music Festival in South Carolina, Raritan River Music Festival, also numerous Radio broadcast and concert performances throughout United States and Turkey.
Famous composer Jorge Morel’s prelude and dance and a guitar concerto written by Leonard Handler were dedicated to Celil Refik Kaya. Besides a concert soloist, Celil is also known as an avid composer where his has almost 100 pieces including works for solo guitar, violin, piano, string trio, duets, sonatas etc.
His chamber and instrumental works were performed throughout United States, Turkey, South Korea and Australia Sydney’s Opera House. He also enjoys chamber music, playing traditional Turkish music during his spare time.