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2021 George Enescu International Festival Begins

The 25th edition of the George Enescu International Festival starts Saturday, August 28, despite the uncertainty and complications caused by the pandemic, as a declaration of confidence that together, as a society, we can write a History Made with Love, just as the Festival’s history was built out of love for music and Maestro George Enescu’s legacy.

The 2021 edition of the Festival is a Jubilee, being the 25th since its foundation in 1958 and celebrating George Enescu’s 140th birth anniversary. The official opening was marked today, August 27, in a Press Conference attended by Sergiu Nistor, Presidential Adviser, Department of Culture; Bogdan Gheorghiu, Minister of Culture; Nicusor Dan, Mayor of Bucharest; Vladimir Jurowski, Artistic Director of the George Enescu International Festival (via Zoom); Mihai Constantinescu, Executive Director of the George Enescu International Festival; Paavo Järvi, conductor of the opening concert; Hilary Hahn, violinist, soloist in the opening concert; Sarah Nemtanu, violinist, concertmaster of the opening concert; Kristjan Järvi, conductor of the concerts performed by the Baltic Sea Philharmonic; Mihaela Craciun, Director of TVR 3; Liviu Popescu, Interim President and Director of Radio Romania.

In the Press Conference opening, Presidential Adviser Sergiu Nistor presented the Executive Director of the George Enescu International Festival with the Diploma of High Patronage on behalf of the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis.

Sergiu Nistor said: “Enescu is with us in the most beautiful moments, but also in the worst of times. People who lived through those times (communism – editor’s note) still remember the Radio Free Europe’s intro theme music – the chords of Enescu’s Rhapsody gave us hope for a better world.”

Minister of Culture Bogdan Gheorghiu stated that “the therapeutic values are countless for members of the audience who, starting tomorrow, are expected to come to the concert halls of Bucharest and across the country.”

Kristjan Järvi, the conductor of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic concerts, said that two reference points have linked him to Romania since his youth – the Romanian gold medalist gymnasts and the Enescu Festival. “For me, Romania is the Enescu Festival. I am delighted to be here with my Orchestra. (…) It is an incredible city and an incredible country,” Järvi added.

Regarding the pandemic, the restrictions, and the safety conditions for concerts today, the musicians present at the press conference said that the opportunity to play and perform remains a joy even under pandemic conditions.

Celebrated violinist Hilary Hahn, soloist of the opening concert on August 28, said: “No mask can cover the sound of music and no mask can cover our feelings.” She added that wearing a mask these days is a symbol of solidarity. “Masks are a symbol of the fact that we are in this all together and that we care about music. It’s a meaningful moment.”

Artistic Director of the Festival Vladimir Jurowski joined the conference via Zoom and spoke about the significance of George Enescu’s music to the contemporary world, the works that would be presented for the first time at the Festival, as well as about the social symbolism of works such as Anatol Vieru’s Memorial, Op. 118.


Support for the Festival

The George Enescu International Festival is funded mainly by the Romanian Government, through the Ministry of Culture, from ticket sales and sponsorships. We are grateful to the institutions, sponsors, and media partners who have supported us this year, in times more difficult than ever.

“The 25th edition of the George Enescu International Festival is very special for both audiences and musicians. We are coming after a period of unusual silence in the concert halls caused by the pandemic crisis, which tested everyone’s patience. Classical music lovers and us, partners, have been looking forward to this year’s edition of the George Enescu International Festival with great anticipation; and our joy will be commensurate,” said Steven van Groningen, President and CEO of Raiffeisen Bank.

“The George Enescu Festival is a prestigious international event that promotes the culture, talent, and inspiration of artists from all over the world, who are themselves champions of beauty, love for classical music, and the values left as a legacy by the Romanian composer. It is an honor for Rompetrol to have been a key partner of the event for the last 12 years and to support – especially during this pandemic – a great cultural event and in general the creative industries. Both Rompetrol and George Enescu Festival are strong brands, which correctly represent and promote Romania’s image internationally, based on values such as creativity, national pride, will, and determination. It was through solidarity and commitment that we built this partnership and, together with our partners, we will also overcome the challenges of the pandemic, move forward, and contribute to Romania’s development,” commented Iskander Abdibaitov, Chief Officer for Corporate Development, Rompetrol.