Born in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1991, Celil Refik Kaya began his interest in classical guitar at the age of six with his father, Dr. Mehmet Refik Kaya. When he was nineteen, Kaya earned his bachelor’s degree of music from the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University State Conservatory in Istanbul and was granted the “Excellence” scholarship from the Turkish Educational Foundation. While an undergraduate, he studied composition with the Turkish composer Mehmet Nemutlu.
As a concert soloist, Kaya has collaborated with such orchestras as the Buffalo Philharmonic, Istanbul State Symphony, Hilton Head Symphony, Brevard Festival Orchestra, Lake Placid Sinfonietta, and the Bilkent Symphony. He is an avid educator and teaches master classes at music festivals and universities throughout the United States and Europe.
Kaya has premiered concertos by Roberto Sierra with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra; Derwyn Holder with the New Jersey Baroque Orchestra; and both Leonard Handler and Suleyman Alnitemiz with the Istanbul State Symphony. Kaya is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Austin’s Butler School of Music.