25 memorable things about the 25th edition of the Enescu Festival

With a tradition of bringing the biggest international stars of the classical music to Bucharest and keeping Romania anchored in the international cultural circuits, the Enescu Festival 2021 promises an unforgettable experience for public and artists. These are the most memorable 25 things about the 25th edition of the Enescu Festival. For a full experience tough, we invite you to the concerts! Check their schedule here.

1. The Enescu Festival takes place despite the pandemic, continuing the 2020 achievements, when the organisers managed to save the Enescu Competition by reinventing it in a hybrid format. The pandemic has complicated the organisational effort and has also caused programme changes. The festival asks the public coming to the halls to respect health rules. All foreign artists coming to the festival are vaccinated and have a COVID Green Certificate.

2. Longest duration in the history of the Festival – 4 weeks. 3500 Romanian and foreign artists come to the Festival. The events take place in Bucharest and other several cities in Romania, such as Sibiu, Timișoara, Cluj, Iași, Pitești, Ploiesti, Bacău, Râmnicu Vâlcea, Constanța, Satu Mare, Păulești. In parallel with the four main series of concerts, many musical institutions in Bucharest join the Festival with events included in the Creative Bucharest series: George Enescu National Museum, Cotroceni National Museum, Bucharest National Opera, Ion Dacian National Operetta and Musical Theatre. 

3. Record number of Enescu works presented in the festival on the occasion of the 140th anniversary of the composer’s birth: 37.

4. The Oratorio Strigoii – an Enescian manuscript completed posthumously and recorded for its world premiere in Berlin in 2019 with the Radio Symphonieorchester Berlin – will be heard for the first time at the Festival on September 23th. 

5. José Cura – renowned Argentine tenor, composer and conductor – has composed a Te Deum dedicated to the anniversary edition of the Enescu Festival, which he will conduct on September 5th at the s Great Palace Hall. The piece will be presented as a world premiere with multimedia projections, stage directed by Carmen Vidu, based on the original exhibition “Enescu. Genius and Festival. Faces of Love”, created by the communication team of the Enescu Festival, with photos of the official photographers of the Festival – Andrei Gândac, Cătălina Filip, Alex Damian – as well as photos from the Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the George Enescu Museum.

6. French violinist Nicolas Dautricourt, already known as a passionate ambassador of Enescu’s music, has prepared a special event dedicated to the anniversary of the great composer: The Enescu Project, on September 25th at the Romanian Athenaeum.  

7. The Enescu Festival brings new 20th century landmark works to Romanian stages for the first time, such as Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg, Korngold’s Die tote Stadt, Berg’s Lulu

8. Several vocal-symphonic pieces presented in the festival will be accompanied by multimedia projections by Carmen Lidia Vidu and Nona Ciobanu.

9. Enescu and his contemporaries series returns to the festival programme and presents the chamber music universe of the first half of the 20th century, through 8 programmes built around Enescu’s music that will be offered to the public at the Auditorium Hall of the National Art Museum of Romania.

10. In the 21st Century Music series, a record number of world premieres will be presented: Exile, Concert for cello, baritone and orchestra by Jonathan Dove, A Symphony by Tim Benjamin, Der Nachbar des Chaos by Mihnea Brumariu, Concerto for violin, live electronics and orchestra by Fred Popovici and Obelisk by Adrian Iorgulescu. 

11. The International Composers’ Forum, led by Dan Dediu, a novel concept now in its third edition, brings composers face to face, challenges them to discuss and share their creative universe and thus completes the triad of the musical phenomenon: creation – interpretation – reception.  

12. Fantesy for piano and orchestra, a piece by Enescu from his youth, will also be performed for the first time at the festival by Saskia Georgini, a musician who released a disc of pieces by Enescu in 2019. 

13. The 50th anniversary of Igor Stravinsky’s passing into eternity will be celebrated with a number of works composed by Igor Stravinsky, creating a true Enescu-Stravinsky dialogue in 2021.

14. On September 1st the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and conductor Vladimir Jurowski present an exclusive Stravinsky concert. 

15. Stravinsky’s musical-theatrical work The Flood is performed for the first time in Romania. The narrator’s voice is none other than Robert Powell, an actor famous for his role in Franco Zeffirelli’s film Jesus of Nazareth

16. Also on September 1st, to perform Stravinsky’s Wedding – a piece performed for the first time in Romania – in which four pianos will be used on the stage of the Palace Hall, brought by Bösendorfer from Vienna especially for this concert. 

17. An Enescu-Stravinsky programme will be presented at the Sala Palatului on August 29th, with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. 

18. The Festival will be attended for the first time in Romania by Sonya Yoncheva, Sir Simon Keenlyside, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Gil Shaham, Lahav Shani, Daniel Harding, Baltic Sea Orchestra, Athens and Zagreb Philharmonics, Alisa Weilerstein, Santtu-Mattis Rouvali, Nemanja Radulovic, London Mozart Players, Felix Klieser, Ramon Vargas, Avishai Cohen, Gabriela Montero.

19. Several soloists who have sold out previous editions of the festival return to the stage: Joshua Bell, Joyce DiDonato, Yuja Wang, Diana Damrau, Philippe Jaroussky, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Maxim Vengerov, Valery Gergiev, Daniele Gatti and many others.

20. No fewer than 32 orchestras from 14 countries are taking part in this year’s edition. However, due to the pandemic, orchestras from the Americas and Israel, who were invited, were unable to attend.

21. The best-known Romanian music ensembles give concerts in the series of the Festival, the Music of the 21st Century series being almost entirely dedicated to Romanian orchestras.  

22. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam continues the tradition of closing the Festival on September 26th, this time with a conductor who will be in Romania for the first time, Daniel Harding. 

23. Historically informed performance is an increasingly prominent trend on the world classical music scene that will also be present at the festival thanks to several renowned early music ensembles: L’Arpeggiata, Orchestra Controcorrente, LA CETRA BAROCKORCHESTER Basel, LES ARTS FLORISSANTS, MÜNCHENER BACH-ORCHESTER and MÜNCHENER BACH-CHOR. 

24. Three great actors will premiere on the stage of the George Enescu International Festival in 2021 – Robert Powell, Maia Morgenstern and Vlad Ivanov – with roles in piece by Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg and Edvard Grieg.

25. Check their schedule here and watch the performances in live-streaming!


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