PRESIDENTIAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Gökmen became a student of a class for orchestra conductors in Santa Cecilia Conservatory. He also made advanced studies on violin which he had started in Turkey. He was admitted to the course for advanced studies on conducting orchestra in Santa Cecilia National Academy under the direction of Franco Ferrara. Gökmen received his diploma from Santa Cecilia Conservatory in 1978, and in the same year he qualified for “Diploma di Merito” by Accademia Chigiana in Siena. In 1979, Gökmen completed his advanced studies at Academy of Santa Cecilia. His achievements qualified him to conduct a concert with Orchestra Nazionale dell’ Accademia di Santa Cecilia’ at Via Della Concilizione. Gökmen also attended summer courses of orchestra conductor in Austria, England and Netherlands. In July 1980, he was awarded in the "Gino Marinuzzi’’ contest among young international conductors. After returning to Turkey, Gökmen conducted Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and created a huge reaction from audiences and critics. He then began to conduct many orchestras both in Turkey and Europe. During 1984 - 1989 seasons, Gökmen served as a General Music Director in Ankara State Opera and Ballet. In 1989, he was awarded “Cavalleria in ordine di Merito” by the Italian Government. Between 1991 and 2006, he was the music director and the principal conductor of Izmir State Symphony Orchestra. Gökmen also conducted many concerts and made recordings in Turkey and abroad with Izmir State Symphony Orchestra. He was a General Director of State Opera and Ballet in Turkey from 1992 to 1995 and commended by TÜTAV due to his exemplary contribution to present Turkey and abroad. Gökmen received an award of Turkish Presidential Culture and of Art Prize in 1999; and Gold Medal of “Foyer des Artites” in Rome in 2000. Gökmen is a member of the Advisory Committee of Ankara and Istanbul International Art Festivals. Beside his intensive program in Turkey, he continues to conduct orchestras in Europe regularly.