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George Enescu International Festival 2021: Only Together Can We Write a ‘History Made with Love’

The 2021 George Enescu International Festival is scheduled to take place between August 28 and September 26, 2021, with an exceptional musical program, sustained by 4,700 international and Romanian artists for a total duration of 4 weeks, with measures in place to reduce potential health risks for audiences, artists, organizers, and journalists.

The announcement was made on March 9, in a press conference attended by the Minister of Culture Bogdan Gheorghiu; Presidential Adviser Sergiu Nistor; Col. Valeriu Gheorghita, M.D., President of the National Committee for Vaccination; Vladimir Jurowski, Artistic Director, Enescu Festival; Mihai Constantinescu, Executive Director, Enescu Festival; and Claudiu Popa, Managing Director, Eventim.

It will be an edition meant to restore the joy of celebration to our lives. The 2021 Enescu Festival will celebrate 140 years since George Enescu’s birth and therefore it will offer its audiences, in the interpretation of renowned international orchestras and artists, the most comprehensive program of works by Enescu in its history – 42, with all 5 of the symphonies included. It will furthermore be a Jubilee, as this year the Festival reaches its 25th edition.

“Through its communication theme for this year and through the way it contends with the pandemic, the Enescu Festival reveals the secret which has rendered it possible in its 63 years of existence, sometimes in extraordinarily difficult circumstances: the engagement of organizations, institutions, and people – artists, audiences, experts – who appreciate and love classical music, George Enescu’s music, and the project of the Enescu Festival itself. On this account, for its 25th edition, the Enescu Festival will share with the world how is written a ‘history made with love’. The pandemic forces us more than ever to come together, find solutions, and adapt instead of closing the door on the most important international cultural event Romania organizes,” declared for media Oana Marinescu, Communication Director, Enescu Festival.

“Music not only serves us as entertainment, as nourishment for the soul, but it also serves as a very important communicator between people, so in these difficult times of the pandemic, the world needs beauty, music, culture. That’s why the world needs Enescu Festival. We need the audience, the artists, and the support of the authorities and all sponsors. I urge you to think of the importance of this Festival, particularly this year, both given its illustrious history, but mainly in the view of the future of the culture in this world. Pandemic won’t last forever. Once we are in the post-Corona world, we will feel evermore the necessity of cultural nourishment for our hearts, minds, and souls. Therefore please do everything possible, as we are doing everything necessary and possible on our side, to make this Festival happen, to make it as colorful and as diverse as we have announced it,” Vladimir Jurowski said in his message as Artistic Director of the Festival.

In comparison to previous editions, the 2021 Enescu Festival will undergo a series of transformations and attunements, to handle the challenges posed by the pandemic. First of all, the 66 concerts will be grouped into four series:

The organizers had to cancel the Midnight Concerts Series, which would traditionally take place at the Athenaeum from 10:30 P.M., to reduce the flow of people in the venue and allow for proper venting and sanitizing between concerts and rehearsals.

Due to the pandemic, changes to the Program may occur up until September. Music lovers are kindly asked to understand that such changes might be caused by emergencies or other exceptional circumstances, given the insecurity the pandemic has brought about worldwide.

Moreover, although the organizers closely cooperate with key institutions to find the best solutions for organizing audience-attended concerts without endangering the lives and health of the participants and artists, the uncertainties faced have pushed the announcement of more concrete measures to a later date, most likely to May 2021, and the start of the subscription and ticket sale to June 2021.

The number of available seats in the concert halls will be reduced, for sanitary reasons. For the subscription purchase, a Ballot will be organized, following international procedures, to ensure equity in their distribution. Further details on the Ballot will be provided in May, once things concerning access into concert halls become clearer. Until then, the general Ballot procedure can be consulted here.

Aside from in-person concerts, the 2021 Enescu Festival will grant online access to audiences all over the world, on a pay-per-view basis. This is the first time the Enescu Festival resorts to this system. All revenues will be going towards the defrayal of organization expenses and royalties for the artists involved.

Tickets and subscriptions will go on sale in June, on the websites www.festivalenescu.com and www.eventim.ro.

Some of the Most Notable Features of the 2021 Festival 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.
    • 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.
    • 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 Grieg, performed by the orchestra Opéra de Marseille under the baton of Gabriel Bebeselea.