Artists from all over the world come to Bucharest to rekindle hope through music: the 18th edition of the George Enescu International Competition begins
The George Enescu International Competition takes place between September 4 and 18 in Bucharest. 64 years after its establishment, the event has an online-offline hybrid edition, in which the contestants enter the concert hall directly in the Semi-Finals. The public has free access to the semi-finals of the competition and based on a ticket or subscription, to the extraordinary recitals by internationally renowned artists, the opening concert and to the final galas.
In a world context marked by uncertainties and anxiety, the 18th edition aims to remind us of the healing character of music, which even in the most difficult moments has the ability to rekindle hope and the joy of living. This year’s edition of the George Enescu International Competition is marked by the full return to the performance hall, after two years in which cultural events had to reinvent themselves and move partially or totally online. The Muzica Speranței | Music of Hope is the message that the Enescu Competition 2022 sends.
A true launching pad for the future famous musicians of the world, the Enescu Competition puts Romania on the map of international classical music. The competition promotes George Enescu’s compositions among the new generation of artists from all over the world and sheds light on the remarkable personality of the most famous Romanian composer, who supported young musicians through scholarships and donations during his lifetime.
Starting with the 2014 edition, the George Enescu International Competition is organized as an independent event, distinct from the Festival, with public participation. Having a remarkable international reputation, the Enescu Competition is a member of the World Federation of International Music Competition and of Alink – Argerich Foundation – Piano Competition Worldwide.
“I am extremely happy to welcome you to Bucharest, to send you a message of hope, to invite you to enjoy the coming days in the same way that maestro George Enescu enjoyed creating music and enjoyed supporting young people musicians in becoming great talents. I hope all this brings you happiness and joy and I wish all the contestants the best of luck. Remember that you have already achieved the most important thing: you arrived here. You are already part of a process that will change your life. Good luck to all!”, declared the artistic director of the Enescu Competition, the conductor Cristian Măcelaru during the press conference on September 1, at 12:00.
“Today marks the beginning of the I George Enescu International Competition, an extremely important event, maybe even as important as the Festival, because it comes, exactly as maestro Măcelaru said, to carry forward what Enescu meant: a great creator of music, friend of all the great musicians of his time, but also a great mentor for young artists. The Ministry of Culture, no matter who leads it for now, has an extremely important purpose: to ensure the human and financial resources, both necessary for the cultural events it oversees, as well as for strategic projects. Through Ordinance 83, we will pass the Enescu Festival, the Enescu Competition, but also other important and large-scale events in the category of strategic events, so that they can be financed multi-yearly, regardless of the budget situation of the Ministry of Culture. It is very important to convey the message of Romanian culture to the general public. We must emphasize that the cultural manifestation is not only for the elites, but for all people who want beauty in their lives. There was a period, unfortunately quite long, when we had a break between art and the mass public. Now, through everything we do we try to get closer, because there is no art without an audience, and it must belong to all categories. (….) Last but not least, I repeat, whoever is the minister, through the current legislation and through everything we have built, the Enescu Festival will exist at the highest level, many years from now”, stated Lucian Romașcanu, Minister of Culture.
Carla Tompea, Program Director of the Romanian Television Society stated: “And at this year’s edition of the Enescu Competition, you will be able to watch live and recorded broadcasts, interviews with various personalities, on-air and online, made by the TVR team. We will also have a premiere, a bilingual presentation, Romanian-English, made by my colleague Marius Constantinescu. We are alongside Artexim and we hope that next year we will meet again with the Enescu Competition in the framework of the TVR Cultural program, whose approval file was submitted these very days.”
“In all its 64 years of history, Romanian Radio has been uninterruptedly alongside the George Enescu Competition in many ways, primarily providing the sound for all the transmissions and recordings that you can see and listen to. And this year all the recitals and concerts will be live on Radio Romania Muzical and on Wednesdays and Fridays also on Radio Romania Cultural. The semi-finals will be broadcast starting in October on a dedicated space at Radio Romania Muzical,” pointed out Cristina Comandașu, Manager of Radio Romania Muzical.
“For me personally, winning the competition meant the beginning of my career, it changed everything: from not having concerts, I ended up having to be careful not to schedule too many. Any preparation for a competition of such an international level is in itself a win,” said the artist Valentin Şerban, winner of the Violin Section Competition, at the press conference.
“The 2022 edition is a successful and brave edition so far, because it already started in May, with the registration of competitors for the online stage. We had an impressive number of entries, artists from all corners of the world, over 100 musicians, which once again reveals the reputation and impact that the Enescu Competition has on an international level, and also the importance that the competition has as a strategic event for Romania. During the Competition, we will practically have a micro festival, composed of the opening gala, 3 final galas of concerts with orchestra and 5 recitals, all in Bucharest. In addition, we will also have 3 other recitals in Sibiu by winners of previous editions. The opening concert is already sold out and we expect a large audience for the other concerts and recitals in the program,” said Cristina Uruc, interim ARTEXIM Manager.
“I am very happy to be here and I want to thank the organizers for the invitation. It is an honor and a challenge at the same time”, said Ainars Rubikis, the conductor of the opening concert of the Enescu Competition 2022, on September 4.
Jaemin Han, the youngest winner in the history of the competition, at 15, the cello section said: “The competition opens a small door, but what you do afterwards is just as important. After winning the competition I had many opportunities to perform in front of large audiences, incredible repertoires, things that made me very happy and grateful.”
“I am very proud to be here in this position. My experience in last year’s competition was a special one, because it took place after a period in which I really felt the lack of concerts with an audience. I was very happy to then have the opportunity to perform in front of an audience again as a semi-finalist, then a finalist, and finally win the competition. This competition was a turning point for my career, I am grateful for this opportunity,” said pianist Yeon-Min Park, winner of the first prize at the George Enescu Competition in May 2021.
Program of the George Enescu International Competition 2022
In addition to the semi-finals and the orchestra finals of the competition in the 3 interpretive categories (violin, cello and piano), the 2022 edition also offers the public a series of extraordinary recitals, performed by internationally renowned artists. In the Composition Section, 22 chamber and orchestral works enter the competition, and the winner of the section will be announced on September 18. At this edition of the Enescu Competition, a Prize for Originality is also awarded. All events take place at the Romanian Athenaeum.
Gala Concert and Extraordinary Recitals
The competition will open on September 4 at the Romanian Athenaeum with the Gala Concert performed by the George Enescu Philharmonic, under the baton of conductor Ainars Rubikis, with a world premiere: An Ax For The Frozen Sea by Karlo Margetic, prize-winning work in the composition section (Symphonic Music category ) at the previous edition of the Enescu Competition. The program also includes the Triple Concerto for violin, cello and piano by Ludwig van Beethoven performed by the winners of previous editions, Valentin Şerban (violin), Jaemin Han (cello) and Yeon-Min Park (piano). The concert takes place with a closed box office, the tickets being fully sold out more than a week prior to the start of the event.
The series of extraordinary recitals begins on September 7 with David Grimal (violin) and Itamar Golan (piano) performing works by Maurice Ravel, Francis Poulenc, Sergei Prokofiev and Igor Stravinsky. On September 9, one of the jury members in the violin category, concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, Frank Huang, will take the stage of the Romanian Atheneum, along with cellist Marcel Johannes Kits, laureate of the Enescu Competition, and pianist Angela Drăghicescu. On September 12, the Romanian public has the opportunity to listen to a special work, “Goldberg Variations for String Trio” by Johann Sebastian Bach performed by the president of the jury in the violin category, Dmitry Sitkovetskyi alongside David Geringas (cello) and Alexander Gordon (viola). Daria Parkhomenko, winner of the George Enescu International Competition in 2018, gives a piano recital on September 14, with a program composed of works by César Franck, Robert Schumann, George Enescu and Sergei Rachmaninov. The last recital in the edition’s program is scheduled for September 17 and is supported by Nelson Goerner (piano) with a program composed of ballads by Chopin and Suite Iberia by Isaac Albéniz.
2022 – a special edition of the Enescu Contest: competitors from the online stage qualified directly to the Semifinals
The jury of the Enescu Competition this year has 9 new members compared to previous editions and is composed of established and multiple award-winning musicians at an international level, members of the world’s most prestigious orchestras. Among them we mention: David Geringas, Meehae Ryo, Marin Cazacu, Andrea Lucchesini, Peter Jablonski, Luiza Borac, Remus Azoiței, Krzysztof Wegrzyn, Dmitry Sitkovetsky and many others.
11 candidates have been selected to participate in the Cello Semifinal of the Competition, which will take place on September 5 and 6, in two sessions: starting at 11:00 on September 5, 10:00 on September 6 and 16:00 on both days respectively. The final of the Cello Section will take place on Thursday, September 8, 2022, and the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra will be conducted by maestro Tito Muñoz.
12 candidates selected in the online stage will participate in the Semifinal of the Violin Section of the Enescu Competition. It will take place on September 10 and 11, in two sessions: starting at 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., respectively. The final of the Violin Section will take place on Tuesday, September 13, 2022 and will be accompanied by the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by maestro Wilson Hermanto.
Also 11 candidates participate in the Piano Section Semifinal, and it will take place on September 15 and 16, in two sessions: starting at 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., respectively. The last event of the Competition, the Final of the Piano Section, will take place on Sunday, September 18, 2022, and the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra will be conducted by maestro Kensho Watanabe.
The total value of the prizes is 120,000 EURO, to which is also added the international promotion and artistic launch of the most talented competitors. Winning first place at the Enescu Competition 2022 is the ticket to the stage of the George Enescu International Festival, 2023 edition. Thus, the most talented of the contestants will have the opportunity to perform in the next edition of the Festival alongside some of the world’s greatest orchestras.
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