George Enescu International Festival and Competition in Bucharest is organized by the Romanian Ministry of Culture, Religion and National Patrimony, under the high patronage of the President of Romania.
George Enescu (1881–1955) was a Romanian composer, violinist, pianist, conductor, and teacher and is considered to be the most important of Romania's musicians. The festival was founded in 1958, three years after Enescu's death by his friend and sometimes collaborator, conductor George Georgescu. Designed to honor Enescu, but also, hoping to gain some international good will for the local regime, the festival benefited from the beginning from the participation of major international classical music artists and musicians of the time (Yehudi Menuhin, David Oistrach, Sviatoslav Richter, Herbert von Karajan, Agnes Baltsa, Pascal Roge, Viorica Cortez and many other). During the following years, the festival had an irregular periodicity (every couple of years), until it was stopped (during the 80s), only to be reborn after 1989.
This year's event is being held in four different cities, drawing over 300 international participants. Because of the global economic crisis Romanian cultural sector funding has been reduced. But the Enescu festival, the biggest classical music
festival in Romania and one of the biggest in Eastern Europe, is the only cultural event not to be impacted by the cuts. The 19th biennial George Enescu International Festival and Competition, scheduled for August 30 - September 26, 2009, will pay special tribute to Romania’s most famous composer/musician on the 128th anniversary of his birth, in 1881. World’s top orchestras, conductors and chamber ensembles will perform in Romania – some premiering new works - and jurized competitions will be held for piano, violin and voice. Already on the schedule are:
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France,
English Chamber Orchestra,
London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,
Orchestra Del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino,
Sankt Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra,
Royal Concertgebow Orchestra Amsterdam,
Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse,
Symphonieorchester Des Bayerischen Rundfunks,
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande,
Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne,
Nash Ensemble London,
Choir and Orchestra of Les Arts Florissants,
Basel Chamber Orchestra,
Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremmen,
Munchener Philharmoniker Kammerorchester,
Theatre de Ballet de Monte Carlo "Cinderella",
Bucharest National Opera House,
"Madrigal" National Choir,
"Moldova" Philharmonic Orchestra Iaş,
"Transilvania" Philharmonic Orchestra Cluj,
Radio Academic Choir "Te Deum Laudamus" Orthodox Men Choir,
Chamber Orchestra of the "George Enescu" Philharmonic.
The list of the participants can be found here. The complete program of the festival can be found here.
"George Enescu was one of the most prodigiously gifted musicians of the twentieth century" according to noted biographer Paul Banks, "a great violinist and composer, a distinguished conductor, an accomplished pianist, able cellist and a famous violin teacher who numbered Christian Ferras, Arthur Grumiaux and Yehudi Menuhin among his pupils. His musical memory was phenomenal, a fact that contributed to the loss of some of his own works which he composed but never wrote down".