#1woman interview – Bushra El-Turk

My first interviewee is a Composer, Artistic Director of Ensemble Zar, Educator – and now wife! I am so honoured to have her as my first 1Woman and I am in awe in her dedication to respond to all questions even on her wedding day! Bushra El-Turk is undoubtedly a One Woman with Many Hats…..

Portrait of Bushra El-Turk


El-Turk’s music of ‘…ironic…’, ‘…arresting…’ and ‘limitless imagination’ forebears the influence of her Lebanese roots and straddles Eastern and Western idioms all the while leaning towards the absurd and the theatrical. Selected by the BBC as one of the most inspiring 100 Women, globally, Bushra’s music has been both performed and broadcast on radio and television in the UK, Europe, the Middle-East, the Americas and Australia.

These include collaborations with the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Royal Opera House (ROH2), Orchestre National de Lorraine (France), Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, the Latvian Radio Choir and the multi-ethnic Atlas Ensemble (Holland) amongst others. Performances have been at venues most notably including the Lincoln Centre (New York), Birmingham Symphony Hall, Bridgewater Hall (Manchester), the Southbank and the Barbican (London).

She is an artistic director and leader of Ensemble Zar, which is a fresh and fearless cross-genre ensemble whose mission is to express the Middle Eastern artistic temperament in its rawest form, and experiment with new sounds in the process.
For more information, please visit www.bushraelturk.com

1w: What was your dream as a kid and why?

BET: To be a writer, a doctor or diplomat. In one way or another, all three ambitions were about making a difference in people’s lives.

1w: What woman inspires you and why?

BET: I can’t think one in particularly, but both the women and men in my life who have influenced and inspired me have had a common ground, in that they are all their own person. Despite external obstacles, they have fought hard and their minds are flying like birds. They have an endless amount of generosity oozing out of them. And they treat everyone equally.

1w: How and where do you find inspiration?

BET: When I’m most relaxed and in transition, e.g. on the way somewhere.

1w: What’s your productivity secret? And how do you balance your interests?

BET: Telling yourself that there is a time and place for everything. Mornings are crucial to have for myself as creative space. It’s the time when I’m most clear. Birds tweet, sun rising, the world’s cogs haven’t started yet.

1w: What accomplishment are you most proud of?

BET: I count all my endeavours big or small as an accomplishment. A little pat on the back should always be given to oneself.

1w: What does ‘successful’ mean to you?

BET: ‘Successful’ means exuding confidence in whatever path you have taken, since there is no one path. ‘Successful’ doesn’t necessarily mean what others have branded you.

1w: What do you want to be remembered for?

BET: For my heart.

1w: What is the best piece of advice you ever got? And your worst?

BET: Well, health comes first. And remembering Woody Allen, 80% of success is turning up.

1w: What was your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?

BET: Well, a lot of my failures were a result of them not feeling right in the first place. And I learnt that that niggling feeling inside you prevents you from trying too hard to try to make it work. I am speaking of career choices or relationships.

1w: If you could call yourself 5 years ago and had 30 seconds, what would you say?

BET: Listen to yourself, dear Bushra. And don’t be afraid to take risks, even if it is against the status quo.

Bushra conducting

1w: Who is the real Bushra when no one’s watching?

BET: Brilliant question. Not far from the Bushra that people are watching, I hope. (apart from the messy hair and pjs at home ;-))

1w: What was the best question anyone has ever asked you? What was your answer?

BET: Who is Bushra when no one is watching?

1w: What are you most afraid of?

BET: Loneliness.

1w: Night owl or early Bird? What is your daily routine?

BET: Early bird. Compose in the morning, walks, exercise…

1w: How do you spend your free time? How do you unwind?

BET: I watch some comedies in my transitionary periods, i.e. between my creative time and the real world.

1w: From the Many hats that you have is there an extra skill you would like to learn? and why?

BET: Well I am quickly falling in love with making films. It’s not too far from composing at all. There is a kind of freedom in creating something without having had any formal training in it.

1w: I am not very good at……

BET: relaxing. That fear of missing out is always there.

1w: People often say……

BET: that I am quirky, sparky, genuine, witty, warm…

1w: My Life Mantra is……

BET: Everything is possible, and that is what I would like to hear from other people too.

1w: A Woman can have it all….Myth or Reality?

BET: Reality. It’s a mindset at the end of the day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *