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2021 Enescu Festival Program Announced

The Program for the 25th George Enescu International Festival, to take place in Bucharest and several other cities across Romania between August 28 and September 26, 2021, under the tagline ‘History made with love’, was published today on

The organizers kindly ask music lovers to select the concerts in which they are interested ahead of time and to consult the procedure for purchasing tickets and subscriptions, to be well prepared come June, when these go on sale. At the same time, the organizers underscore that changes to the program might occur up until the very last moment, on account of the pandemic. Details on the program can be read here and information about tickets here.

Some of the Most Notable Features of the Artistic Program

  • The most comprehensive presentation of George Enescu’s compositions: 42 works, including all 5 of his symphonies, in the interpretation of international orchestras. Every single international orchestra who will be present at the Festival will perform a piece by Enescu.
  • There will be an Enescu – Stravinsky dialogue, seeing that this year we commemorate 50 years since Igor Stravinsky’s death:
    • Symphony No. 5 by Enescu (completed by Pascal Bentoiu) features in the program alongside two works by Stravinsky that will have their Romanian premiere at the Festival, The Flood and Les Noces (The Wedding), in a concert given by the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Jurowski and the George Enescu Philharmonic Choir. Les Noces is a work difficult to organize, being scored for four pianos. The soloists are the young Romanian pianists: Daniel Ciobanu, Andrei Licaret, Mihai Ritivoiu, and Alexandra Silocea.
    • Symphony No. 2 by Enescu features alongside the Violin Concerto in D Major by Stravinsky, presented by the Baltic Sea Philharmonic Orchestra.
    • The program of the second concert given by the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Vladimir Jurowski, includes the Piano Concerto by Stravinsky, whose soloist will be the winner of the piano section in the 2020/2021 Enescu Competition.
  • Romanian presence in the Festival: “The program of the Jubilee Edition is ideal, full of surprises. Romanian participation will be substantial, involving the best known musical ensembles, such as the Orchestra and Choir of the George Enescu Philharmonic, the Radio Orchestra and Academic Choir, the Philharmonic Orchestras of Iasi, Timisoara, Bacau, Sibiu. We are also planning to organize further events associated with the Festival (with the Romanian National Opera and the National Theatre of the Operetta) if of course time and the times will allow it. It will not be easy. But we will look, together with the artists and orchestras invited, for solutions to have this Festival unfold the very way we have envisaged it. I am glad to have all the actors of this complex event by our side, ready to enjoy together a beautiful, rich, serene, and healthy Enescu Festival.” Mihai Constantinescu, Executive Director, Enescu Festival, stated for the press.
  • Great orchestras to perform at the Festival: the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra will play in the Opening Gala under the baton of Paavo Järvi; the Orchestra and Choir of the Mariinsky Theatre, conducted by Valery Gergiev; the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Philharmonia London, Simfonia of London, the London Mozart Players; the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra will perform under the baton of its new conductor, Lahav Shani; the National Orchestra of France, conducted by its new musical director, Cristian Macelaru; the Munich Philharmonic with Valery Gergiev conducting; Orchestra Del Teatro Alla Scala Milan, with a special program under the baton of Andrés Orozco-Estrada, first-time guest to the Festival and to Romania; Les Dissonances, with David Grimal as artistic director and soloist; the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, with two different conductors for their two concerts – Daniel Harding and Alan Gilbert.
  • Celebrated soloists: Maxim Vengerov; Patricia Kopatchinskaja; American cellist Alisa Weilerstein, who is on her first visit to Romania, together with her chamber orchestra The Trondheim Soloists; brothers Renaud Capuçon (violin) and Gautier Capuçon (cello); violinists Leonidas Kavakos and Dmitry Sitkovetsky; countertenor Philippe Jaroussky; mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and soprano Sonya Yoncheva; pianists of the highest esteem, who have honored the Festival’s stages before: Martha Argerich, Jean Yves Thibaudet, Yuja Wang, Khatia Buniatishvili, Maria João Pires, Kirill Gerstein.
  • The Music of the 21st Century series: the Symphonic Orchestra Bucharest, under the baton of John Axelrod, will perform an interesting program including the Istanbul Symphony by pianist and composer Fazıl Say, the Latin Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by pianist Gabriela Montero, and Setlist with Avisahi Cohen. The series also includes performances by violinist Carolin Widmann, who will play in Bucharest and Bacau, cellist Raphael Wallfisch, and baritone Sir Simon Keenlyside.
  • Opera premieres: Der Zwerg (The Dwarf) by Alexander Zemlinsky, Die tote Stadt (The Dead City) by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. The Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale Di Santa Cecilia, with Daniele Gatti conducting, will perform an outstanding work – Requiem for Strings – by composer Tōru Takemitsu.
  • Two works with narrator Robert Powell (famous for the lead role in Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth, released in 1977) – Oedipus Rex by Stravinsky, performed by the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra and Choir conducted by Valery Gergiev, and Peer Gynt suite by Edvard Grieg, performed by the orchestra Opéra de Marseille under the baton of Gabriel Bebeselea.
  • Concerts featuring Festival artists nationwide: Timisoara, Iasi, Cluj-Napoca, Sibiu, Bacau.
  • Promoting the Winners of the 2020/2021 Enescu Competition in concerts alongside established artists.