London born Tolga is a diverse musician, with success ranging from a critically-acclaimed CD of Richard Strauss tone poems to the musical production of the BBC Children in Need's Platinum- selling single, 'Perfect Day', featuring artists such as Elton John, David Bowie and Bono. The single grossed over £2 million for the charity and led to the receipt of many accolades and awards, not least the British Television Advertising Craft Award for best re-recorded music.
From 1989-2002 Tolga Kashif was the co founder and creative partner at The Music Sculptors, one of the UK’s principal music companies specialising in sound-to-picture.
During this period he worked on numerous ident, title and advertisement commissions for major companies and for broadcastersincludingtheBBC, ITV and Sky. At this early stage of his career he also co-wrote scores for Palm Pictures’ cult British gangster film ‘The Criminal’ and Silver Fox’s BAFTA award winning animationshort, ‘The First Snow of Winter’.
Tolga is probably best known for his Queen Symphony, a chart topping classical CD commissioned by EMI Classics and first performed in 2002 at the Royal Festival Hall, London, in the presence of Jer Bulsara, drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Brian May. The Queen Symphony was nominated for the Classical Brit Album of the Year award, achieved a top 10 position in several territories and has been performed extensively in the last decade across the UK and Europe and in Australia forsold-outperformancesatthe SydneyOperaHouse. Tolga conducted a performance for the Septembre Musicale in Montreux when it was selected as a work to mark Freddie Mercury’s 60th birthday in memoriam.
In 2010, Tolga became Creative Director of the Lightsong Label and released ‘The Genesis Suite’ to follow the Queen Symphony with a classical re-imagining of the rock band Genesis. Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and premiered at The Barbican Centre in London, the album reached number 4 on the Classic FM charts, receiving endorsements from original band members and critics alike.
Tolga has conducted and recorded many world- class orchestras and has a particular relationship with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with whom he has conducted on four ‘Filmharmonic’ albums and toured the Queen Symphony. In 2008, he worked with the RPO in East Asia in a collaboration with the famous Korean Rock Icon, Seo Taiji, combining Seo Taiji's past music and extraordinary hits, with his own orchestral composition in "The Great Seo Taiji Symphony". He conducted a concert performance in Seoul, South Korea at the Gwangju World Cup Stadium to an audience of 34 000 Seo Taiji fans.
Tolga has a passion for composition. Recently, alongside his Production schedule, he has been working on the composition of a new choral piece for Soprano and a commission for a major work to mark the centenary of The Great War, 1914-18.
Tolga has been engaged to collaborate with a number of Classical and cross-over artists, including violinist Vanessa Mae (Sony Classical Records ‘Choreography’), saxophonist TylerRix (UCJ‘Ascent’) - whosealbum, arrangedand produced by Tolga, reached no.1 in the Classical Music charts – and opera singer Lesley Garrett, as an orchestrator, conductor, and producer.
Three songs initially composed for performance by Lesley – ‘Ave Maria’, ‘Safe from Harm’ and ‘New Heaven’ – are expected to be published in 2014 by Music Sales as a song collection for soprano voice.
In March 2002, Tolga received a commission from the National Foundation for Youth Music to write a song for youth: Drop In the Ocean. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, premieredatthe Royal Festival Hall and performed inthe presence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey, its subsequent CD and Education Pack were mailed to every school in the country. As a result of his collaboration with Youth Music, Tolga served until recently on its Board of Trustees and became a patron of the spin-off charity, Future Talent, an organisation that strives for the high prioritisation ofmusicinschoolsacrosstheUKandsupportstalented young musicians. Tolga’s ability to compose simple and emotive songs for young voices found fruition again in 2012 in his composition of the Olympic Torch anthem, Let your Light Shine, for the 2012 Olympics, which was sung by a choir of 2000 children.
Tolga’s personal biography demonstrates the rich diversity of his musical grounding. He was born to a musical family from Turkish Cyprus and learned the violin and piano from a young age. Educated at Forest School in East London, awarded a music scholarship at the age of 7 yrs, he sang in the chapel choir where he came to love the Anglican choral tradition on which he draws so often in his work. He began training as a concert pianist at the Royal College of Music and was a member of Sir David Wilcox’s elite RCM Chamber Choir, before leaving for Bristol University to study with the English composer Derek Bourgeois. Fluent in the Turkish language, Tolga is proud of his Turkish heritage and the discerning listener will recognise its influence in a number of his compositions. Tolga has conducted many times in Istanbul and Ankara and performed the Queen Symphony to a capacity audience of 8000 at the famous amphitheatre in Ephesus in 2003. In 2011 he was a Patron of the London Turkish Film Festival at which he was presented with an honorary award for his services to the Turkish Film Industry in that year.
Tolga lives and works in London.