In 2020, George Enescu International Competition reinforces its top position in international rankings, as it continues to attract an increasing number of worthy competitors. Moreover, the 17th edition of the event is set to treat its audience to a special experience: a competition aimed to reveal ‘Beauty in Life’.


The George Enescu International Competition launched on the 19th of August, the anniversary of the great composer George Enescu, the „Save the Beauty in Life” Challenge, inviting the whole society to respond and take an attitude in front of fear, adversity and the uncertainty generated by the pandemic, by giving value to life and beauty that gives meaning and joy to every person.  

More about the Challenge | A manifesto of social and personal responsibility

The 2020 Enescu Competition’ spot:
Recording of the “Save the Beauty in Life” discussions:

Musicians, actors, people of culture and lovers of life discussing about the Enescu Competition and about saving the beauty in times of pandemic. 

The Competition acts as an international launching platform for future outstanding musicians, as well as for promoting George Enescu’s work among the new generation of artists worldwide. Enescu Competition is a natural addition to the George Enescu Festival, the most important international cultural event organized in Romania.

The Competition’s structure follows the example set in life by the very artist whose name it bears. It nurtures and promotes young talents from all over the world, just as the great composer used to help young musicians during his life. As the Honorary Director of the Romanian Musical Association, George Enescu made substantial donations to pay for musicians’ scholarships. In 1912 he took a tour through Romania and raised over a thousand sterling pounds – a huge amount of money at that time – to launch a national composition award.

Beauty in Life

Music, said George Enescu, goes from one heart to another. When two hearts speak to each other wordlessly, beauty comes into being, rising above the everyday struggles and gloom. Where words are silent, music finds its voice, guiding us into a life of Pure Beauty. This is why, more than being a competition in artistic virtuosity, George Enescu 2020 Competition wants to embrace beauty into our lives, as well as in the public arena, in denial and defiance of the energy invested in aggressive competitiveness elsewhere.

The 2020 George Enescu International Competition, scheduled to take place between August 29 and September 20, still goes ahead, albeit in a new format with two distinct phases. The first two rounds of the Competition will be held online in September according to the initial calendar, whereas the Semifinals and Finals of all sections are rescheduled for May 2021, at the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest. 

The decision was made by the Competition’s organizer, ARTEXIM, after deliberate discussions with the members of the juries and the Artistic Director of the Enescu Festival and Competition, Vladimir Jurowski, in the context of the escalation of pandemic worldwide, to protect the health of all participants – young musicians, artists who are jury members, general public and the organizing team.

The Program and Stages of Competition (after reorganizing them)

  • The 2020 Edition will open with a Gala Concert on the stage of the Romanian Athenaeum, performed by three of laureates: Gyehee Kim (violin, 2016), Valentin Răduțiu (cello, 2011) and Viktoria Vassilenko (piano, 2016).
  • They will perform the world premiere of “Brahmsodia” – Triple-concert for violin, cello, and piano, op. 169, composed especially for this edition by Dan Dediu, the first winner of the George Enescu Composition Competition, in 1991.
  • Competitors who signed up for violin, cello, and piano will go through a pre-selection process.
  • During the Competition, the public will have online access to the first two stages of the Competition. More details here
  • Several recitals will be held in Bucharest by members of the international juries, all renowned international classical musicians. The recitals will be held in the second phase of the Competition, in May 2021.
  • Three of the world’s greatest conductors – Wilson Hermanto (Principal Guest Conductor of the Cameristi della Scala Orchestra – Italy), Nicolas Altstaedt (Artistic Director of the Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival and of the Haydn Philharmonie), and Josep Caballé Domenech (Musical Director of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic – USA) will join the Competition for the first time. John Axelrod (Music and Artistic Director of the Real Symphony Orchestra of Seville), the fourth distinguished conductor present this year, is already accustomed to the Competition, as he participated in the 2016 Edition.
  • New prizes were introduced to encourage the spirit of competition – not only financial prizes (their total value exceeding 100,000 Euro) but also, and most importantly, prizes destined to encourage the international promotion and artistic launch of the most talented competitors.
  • Winning the 1st place at the Enescu 2020 Competition is the sure ticket to being on stage at the 2021 George Enescu International Festival – the most talented competitors will have the opportunity to perform at the next edition of the Festival with some of the world’s greatest orchestras (such as The Orchestra of the Americas, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, and many others).

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Great International Laureates of the George Enescu Competition

Remarkable soloists such as pianists Radu Lupu, Valentin Gheorghiu, and Dan Grigore; renowned violinist Silvia Marcovici, who performed under the baton of the world’s most famous conductors (Zubin Mehta, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, etc.); soprano Ileana Cotrubaș, mezzo-soprano Vioriorica Cortez, composer Dan Dediu; as well as prominent Romanian musicians of the new generation – Alexandru Tomescu, Vlad Stănculeasa, Remus Azoiței, Ana Țifu, Stefan Tarara, Valentin Răduțiu, Mihai Ritivoiu, – are just a few of the most appreciated international Romanian musicians who made their international debut as winners of the George Enescu International Competition.

Romanian and worldwide important musicians alike have engaged in successful international careers due to the spotlight and recognition granted by Enescu Competition. To name just one – the famous Georgian pianist Elisabeth Leonskaja, “the Great Lady of Piano”, a lifelong friend and musical partner of Master Sviatoslav Richter, who won – in the early days of her career (1964) – the First Prize in the Piano Section at the George Enescu Competition. Agnes Baltsa, Li Ming Qiang, Igor Aleksandrovich Frolov, Arie Vardi, Oleg Moiseevich Kagan, Pascal Mahé Rogé, Cristina Ortiz, Dmitri Alexseev, Valeriy Sokolov number themselves as well amongst the musicians whose international careers have been indelibly shaped by their early participation in the George Enescu Competition. Among the winners of the latest editions we mention the pianists Josu de Solaun and Daumants Liepiņš, cellist Zlatomir Fung, violinists Nemanja Radulović and Erzhan Kulibaev.

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