Conductors of the future: Cristian Spătaru

Cristian Spătaru was born in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova. He started studying music at the age of 8, when he took his first piano and music theory lessons and sang in a choir. In 2008 he started his studies at the College of Music. Cristian won the first prize three times in a row in the National Composition Competition in Moldova. He worked with the National Youth Orchestra for which he composed several works and did over 100 orchestrations. In 2013 he began his studies at the Academy of Music in Chisinau, where he studied composition under the guidance of Pavel Rivilis. At the age of 21, he began his studies in Composition at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, where he is in his final year of study under the guidance of Michael Jarrell. In 2016 he began his orchestral conducting studies with Mark Stringer and choral conducting with Alois Glassner at the same university. In June 2021 he graduated orchestral conducting with distinction, conducting a piece by George Enescu in the Great Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna. He composed almost 100 works of various types which were performed in Joseph-Haydn-Saal MDW Vienna, Vivaldi-Saal, Alte Schmiede Vienna, Kursalon Vienna, Laxemburger Schloss Upper Austria, Altes Rathaus Vienna, Arnold Schönberg Center Vienna, Karlskirche, Konzerthaus Vienna and Musikverein. Among his achievements is the Award for “Best Romanian Conductor” obtained twice at the 10th and 11th edition of the International Conducting Competition “Jeunesses Musicales” in 2019/2021. He also participated in master courses with conductors such as Andres Orozco-Estrada and Wiener Symphoniker – 2021, Marin Alsop – 2021, Cristian Măcelaru – 2020 and 2021, Sian Edwards – 2017, Christian Ehwald und Sigmund Thorp – 2021, Nicolás Pasquet – 2021. As the highlight of the 2021 year he was selected for the Riccardo Muti Italian Opera Academy in Milano, where he had the opportunity to jump in for the Maestro for two Nabucco performances in Rimini and Ravenna.

Cristian, it is a great pleasure to have you here as one of our Conductors of the future protagonists! Thank you for accepting our invitation! As we already know, your musical beginnings date back to the age of 8 when you started taking piano and music theory lessons & later the composition ones. But what we don’t know is when the spark for conducting appeared?

First of all, I share even greater pleasure and gratitude to appear on the Opera Charm Magazine along with the greatest personalities of the music world. Thank you! I started thinking about conducting when I first performed my own composition for a chamber music setting back in 2010 and the best part of it was working with the musicians and trying things out. I found that the creative process of the rehearsal, where more opinions and experiences are merging into one single frequency, is what gives the most satisfaction after hours and days of planning, studying, composing, etc. Since I started studying orchestration and was discovering more orchestral music, I definitely knew that my future musical personality has to embody also some professional conducting skills.

In 2014 you were the first Moldavian musician ever accepted at the Composition department of the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, how was this success reflected in your development as a musician? Also, please tell us more about the experience gained as an orchestral & choral conducting student.

Without any doubt, being accepted as a student in “mdw” was a turning point for my whole life. I went to Vienna full of motivation and curiosity to study from sources I cannot access in my home country and to get to know other colleagues on an international level. Being the largest University of Music in the world by the numbers of the students, it would be rather hard to think of a nationality that I didn’t encounter. I was very much interested in the music of today or contemporary philosophy about music and wanted to bring something genuine from my own culture to it. That’s what’s making Vienna so colorful, culturally speaking, having many creators that combine their background with the modernity of a European capital of music. Thanks to its professors, wide range of subjects and a huge library, this university has an incomparable level of attracting young talents. I had an opportunity to work with great composers as: Beat Furrer, Perluigi Billone, Helmut Lachenmann, Georg Friedrich Haas, Johannes Maria Staud, Thomas Adès and of course my teacher Michael Jarrell. Also, I could enrich my knowledge about contemporary music and its compositional techniques with the musicians from: Klangforum Wien, Geneamus Ensemble and Arditti Quartet. Studying conducting in this university is a great privilege and pleasure, because you get a lot of practical experience beside many theoretical subjects. You get a full orchestra every month and professional choir singers that sing along with us and give practical feedback to our rehearsal. What I find really amazing and tell that to every person I encourage to apply to mdw is that we learn a very wide range of things that encompass: a second instrument, playing and tuning a cembalo, singing microtones, canto, italian language, project management, career development, etc. Also one gets the opportunity to work with great conductors from abroad and have the graduation exams with Arnold Schoenberg Choir in Franciscan Church or with the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra in Musikverein.

Read the entire interview here, in the 1th/2022 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.

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