Born in Istanbul, Cem Mansur studied music in London, graduating from the City University (1980) and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (1981). He was awarded the Ricordi Prize and later studied with Leonard Bernstein at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute.
As conductor of the Istanbul State Opera between 1981 and1989, Mansur conducted a large operatic repertoire in addition to his concert work. In 1985 he made a highly successful London debut with the English Chamber Orchestra and the following year he conducted the first performance of Elgar's unfinished opera "The Spanish Lady" at St. John's, Smith Square. He has since worked with orchestras and opera companies in Holland, France, Italy, The Czech Republic, Romania, Slovenia, Hungary, Mexico, Germany, Sweden and Russia where he has been a regular guest conductor with the Kirov Opera at the invitation of Valery Gergiev.
Mansur's work has included further engagements with the English Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, the George Enescu Philharmonic of Bucharest, the National Theatre in Prague, London Mozart Players, City of London Sinfonia, Concerto Grosso Frankfurt and he has recorded with the Hungarian State Orchestra. He has appeared with many distinguished soloists including Midori, Dame Moura Lympany, Mayumi Fujikawa, Dmitri Alexeev, Barry Douglas, Stephen Kovacevich, Mikhail Rudy, Julian Lloyd-Webber, Galina Gorchakova, Lydia Mordkovich, Rivka Golani and Dimitris Sgouros.
Cem Mansur became Principal Conductor of the City of Oxford Orchestra in 1989 and his work with them has included successful tours with concerts in centres such as Vienna, Prague, Budapest and Zurich. He resigned from this position in 1996 to concentrate on his rapidly expanding international career.
Recent engagements include concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, the Barbican, and St. John's, Smith Square (Debussy's rarely heard "Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien"), a new production of Janacek's "Katia Kabanova" in Nancy, Purcell's "King Arthur" in Bucharest, Handel's "Messiah" and Bach's "Christmas Oratorio" at the Auditorio Nacional in Madrid. Mansur's first visit to Mexico in October 1996 has resulted in his becoming a frequent guest with engagements that include the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra.
A new production of Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin" at the Holland Park Opera Festival in London in 1997 resulted in an invitation to return for "Le Nozze di Figaro" in 1999 and "Cosi Fan Tutte" in 2000. In 1998 Mansur conducted a new production of "The Magic Flute" for Mid Wales Opera where he returned for "The Barber of Seville" in 1999. Highlights of recent seasons include further concerts with the London Mozart Players, the City of London Sinfonia and the BBC Concert Orchestra and performances of "Eugene Onegin" with Helikon Opera in Moscow. Mansur has recently conducted his first concerts in Sweden which immediately resulted in several invitations to return.
Cem Mansur was appointed Principal Conductor of the Akbank Chamber Orchestra in Istanbul (constituted of the best young professional musicians in the country) in September, 1998. In May 2000, he toured Turkey with the Manchester Camerata and In June conducted Offenbach's opera "Whittington"at the City of London Festival, the first time the work was heard since its premiere in the 19th century.
note: Cem Mansur grand-grand-son to Meir Dizengoff (1861-1937) founder and first mayor of TelAviv. is fluent in English, French, German and Italian (!)