Recently appointed as music director of the Oratorio Society of Richmond-Virginia, Nisan Ak is a rising female conductor from Istanbul. Currently a Doctoral Candidate at the University of South Carolina, Nisan has conducted concerts in various halls in Vienna including the Wiener Konzerthaus and Palais Eschenbach, as well as various music festivals around the world in cities such as Pärnu, Vienna, Luzern, Istanbul, and the United States. Festival and company highlights include the Eastern Music Festival (NC), Pärnu Music Festival Orchestra and Vienna Summer Music Festival Orchestra. Additionally, Nisan Ak is the acting Assistant Conductor of the Aiken Symphony Orchestra (SC) and makes appearances with the University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Ak, began her musical studies on guitar at the age of nine, and was subsequently accepted at the Istanbul Fine Arts High School, where she added piano and composition to her artistic arsenal. She received her undergraduate education in composition from Istanbul Bilgi University, where she was the highest-ranking full-scholarship student. While there, she also attended Conservatory of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University to participate in conducting lessons. After graduating magna cum laude, she was accepted into the Master’s degree program in Orchestral Conducting at the Aaron Copland School of Music (CUNY), where she studied conducting with Maestro Maurice Peress and theory with William Rothstein and Donna Doyle. During her masters, she was selected by the City University of New York for the honors program and the CUNY value program. Ak graduated with awards and scholarships.
As a new music lover, she conducted many premieres of acknowledged composers including Mandelbaum, Pöğün and Saylor. Her contemporary music repertoire includes, but is not limited to, composers Edgard Varèse, John Williams, Steve Reich, Aaron Copland, Erke Sven Tüür and George Perle.
Ak studied with world-known conductors Paavo Järvi, Neeme Järvi, Donald Portnoy, George Hurst, Tito Muñoz, and Gerard Schwartz. She is now continuing her DMA in the orchestral conducting studio with full scholarship.