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"GEORGE ENESCU" PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA - BUCHAREST
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1868: in a moment of great cultural effervescence following the Union of the Danubian Principalities, the Romanian Philharmonic Society came into being and performed its first concert. The Society was created to cultivate the taste for symphonic music among an ever-growing audience, and structured its programmes, from the very beginning, on the masterpieces of the classical and romantic composers. For more than 125 years, this tradition never failed, keeping apace with the discovery of modern composers, such as: Maurice Ravel, Igor Stravinski, Richard Strauss, Bela Bartok or George Enescu, whose genius inspired the whole of Romanian musical life.

A major event for our national culture, on March 5th, 1889, the first symphonic concert of the Bucharest Philharmonic orchestra took place in the magnificent hall of the Romanian Athenaeum. This hall, inaugurated in February 1888, was built in record time due to popular contribution, and was to become a temple of music and the very symbol of Romanian culture and nation, remaining, to this day, the home of our first symphony orchestra, which, since 1955, bears George Enescu's name.

The monumental building, designed by the French architect Albert Galleron, enthralls us with its lofty columns and harmonious neo-classical style. Somptuous winding stairs open onto great marble and gold foyers which lead to the marvellous circular concert hall of nearly thousand seats. In the interwar period the hall was enriched with an organ and a marvellous circular painting in fresco. Beneath its majestic dome, the most prominent conductors and performers of the century were acclaimed: Erich Kleiber, Sergiu Celibidache, Ionel Perlea and Herbert von Karajan, Dinu Lipatti, Arthur Rubinstein, Pablo Casals and Yehudi Menuhin.

In the Romanian Athenaeum concert halls, the "George Enescu" Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted, through the years, by outstanding musicians, like George Georgescu and Constantin Silvestri, now performs 400 concerts a year, including those of its Academic Chorus (created in 1950), the Chamber Orchestra, other established chamber groups and soloists.

Since its first overseas performances, in the 1920's, the Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra has earned international renown, confirmed by our recent tours in most of the European countries, and our first-time appearances in concert halls in Korea, Singapore and Japan. It should be mentioned that a great number of Romanian musicians and former members of our orchestra perform today with all the leading orchestras of the world.
Over a period of time, the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Romanian Atheneum have merged in the minds of the audience and the musicians. As one entity, they could prove to be an active element in Romania's European reintegration.

The discography of the Philharmonic contains historical recordings, several with George Enescu, as well as Beethoven's symphonies conducted by George Georgescu, or the recording in process of Enescu's complete work conducted by Cristian Mandeal.

Text offered by Philharmonic, 1996


[Filarmonici (Philharmonics)]
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