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History of the George Enescu Festival

The official opening day of the festival took place on September 4th 1958, merely three years after George Enescu’s passing, thus marking the official debut of the most important international musical manifestation hosted by Romania.

A stage for excellence, in classical music
Prestigious music personalities were present for the first two editions of the festival, such as Yehudi Menuhin, David Oistrah, Monique Haas, Iacov Zak or Claudio Arrau. The success of the festival was reconfirmed in 1964, by the presence of exceptional international artists such as: Arthur Rubinstein, Henryk Szering, Gaspar Cassado, Monique Haas, Miroslav Ceangalovici, André Navarra, Herbert von Karajan and Zubin Mehta.

A vibrant and sometimes tumultuos history
At its sixth edition in 1973, the festival was reduced to only one week, due to the discomfort of the communist regime, who considered an artistic manifestation of this kind to be a useless investment. At the time, artists were invited exclusively on political criteria, most of them coming from socialist countries or from the ones sympathizing with the doctrine of the communist government.

Despite this drawback during the period between 1979 and 1989, the festival brought together an array of remarkable guests. The 1979 edition featured the presence of Nikita Magaloff, Viktor Tretiakov, Ludwig Hölscher and Sheila Armstronf.

The 1981 edition (which was a celebration of 100 years anniversary from the birth of George Enescu) also gathered a number of famous guests, among which: Annerose Schmidt, François Joël Thiollier, Vladimir Spivakov, Emil Ceakarov, Isaac Karabtchiewisky and Herbert Kegel.

A glorious new beginning
Starting with the 12th edition in 1991, the first after the fall of the communist regime in Romania, the International Festival “George Enescu” begins to recapture its former glory.

The combined efforts of the organizing institutions succeeded to bring to Bucharest international renowned guests, among which: Mathias Weber, Jean Francois Antionioli, Gerhard Oppitz, Teiko MaMaehashi, Carlos Paita, Levon Ambartumian and Michiyoshi Inoue.

The allocated funds, the facilities and the authorities’ desire to create a new international image of Romania in the 90’s, led to organizing the 1993 edition at incredible high standards.

Important international names participated in this edition, such as: Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Lorin Maazel, Georges Pretre, Zubin Mehta, Yuri Temirkanov, Roberto Benzi, Sergiu Comissiona, Alberto Lissy, Ghenadi Rojdestvenski, Jean Pierre Rampal, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Radio Television Orchestra in Madrid, along with the most important Romanian soloists and instrumental and vocal ensembles.

The 2001 edition was by far the richest and most glamorous of all 15 editions of the festival. An array of famous international artists performed on the Bucharest stages during the three-week festival. Among the participants of the 15th edition were: Helene Grimaud, Vasko Vasiliev, Jean-Phillippe Collard, Rudolf Buchbinder, Maurice Andre, Maxim Vengerov, Pierre Amoyal, Isabelle Faust, Christian Zacharias, Cristoph Eschenbach, Laurent Petitgrard, Kurt Masur, Claus Peter Flor, Alexandros Myrat, Michel Plasson, Seiji Ozawa, Ghenadi Rojdestvenski, Leopold Hager, Sakari Oramo and Riccardo Mutti.

Beside these world renowned personalities were prestigious instrumental ensembles such as: the Paris Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Russian State Symphony Chapel, the Hamburg Radio Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Penderecki Festival Orchestra, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, London Chamber Orchestra, „Sine Nomine” Quartet.

A symphonic experience
The debut at the end of August was a premiere for 2009 edition, which introduced seven musical themed directions (« Romanian Contemporary Creation », « Enescu and His Contemporaries », « Midnight Concerts », « Classical Themes in Modern Interpretation », « Opera and Ballet », « Great Orchestras » and « Chamber Concerts ») and a consistent program. The complexity of the repertoire, a feature of the previous festival editions, reached its peak this year.

In 2013, he 21st edition of the festival brought together in Bucharest famous artists and orchestras like Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Staatskapelle Berlin, London Philharmonic, Münchener Philharmoniker, Royal Philharmonic London, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Academy Saint Martin in the Fields.

Some of the most important personalities of the international classical music were present on the Festival scene: the conductors Daniel Barenboim and Mariss Jansons, the pianists Radu Lupu, Murray Perahia, Pinchas Zuckerman, Maxim Vengerov and Evgeny Kissin.

The 2015 edition: a magical medley
From Sunday, the 3oth of August to Sunday, the 20th of September, the 22nd edition of the festival gathers a total of 58 spectacular events and fills the Romanian capital with magic and enchantment.

The festival will delight you with an abundance of graceful artistic moments and pure musical joy; among the special guests we are proud to announce the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta, Murray Peraha and Staatskapelle Dresden, Elisabeth Leonskay, Christian Zacharias, Maria Joao Pires, Anne Sophie Mutter, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, the Royal ConcertGebouw Orchestra Amsterdam and many more.