Visitors to Young Euro Classic have been able to ascertain the high quality of the National Youth Orchestra of Romania, founded in 2008, several times. This is mainly due to the brilliant foundational work of the experienced conductor Cristian Mandeal, who conveys not only technical knowhow to the musicians aged 18 to 28, but also a palpable enthusiasm for music-making. In the meantime, the youth orchestra has also worked with other renowned conductors, such as Cristian Măcelaru, Michael Sanderling, Lawrence Foster and Kristjan Järvi. The fact that the orchestra is invited regularly to play at the renowned George Enescu Festival in Bucharest is another testament to its high level. It has also performed in Rome, Paris, Brussels, Vienna and Istanbul, as well as the festivals in Ravello and Aix-en-Provence. While the first CD production of the National Youth Orchestra was dedicated to Romanian composers, the second, entitled Trans-Europa-Express, featured works by Grieg, Fauré, Tchaikovsky and Khachaturian.
The Romanian conductor Cristian Mandeal, born in 1946, studied at the Music Academy in Bucharest before completing his training with Herbert von Karajan in Berlin and with Sergiu Celibidache in Munich. From 1987 to 2009, he was the Chief Conductor and General Music Director of the Bucharest Philharmonic, guiding its rise to an orchestra of international rank. Apart from Romanian orchestras, he has conducted renowned orchestras throughout Europe and was Principal Guest Conductor of the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester until 2009 and the Copenhagen Philharmonic until 2013. In 2001 and 2003, Cristian Mandeal was the Artistic Director of the George Enescu International Festival. He has conducted more than 60 world premieres of Romanian and other composers and has recorded George Enescu’s complete symphonic works for CD. During recent years, the conductor has been active in building up the National Youth Orchestra of Romania, with which he has appeared at Young Euro Classic several times since its 2008 founding, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Romania.
The pianist Oxana Corjos is one of the leading musicians in her Romanian homeland. Educated at the National Music University in Bucharest, she won prizes in Barcelona (1988) and Rome (1992) which signalled the launch of a very successful concert career throughout Europe. She has performed at the Enescu Series in London and the Gustav Mahler Festival in Toblach (Southern Tyrol). For the Romanian Radio, Oxana Corjos has made many recordings of works ranging from Bach, Mozart and Beethoven via Mussorgsky and Debussy to Prokofiev. The pianist works closely not only with Cristian Mandeal and the National Youth Orchestra of Romania, but also with the George Enescu Philharmonic, with which she most recently recorded Johannes Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 and Richard Strauss’ Burleske – also under the baton of Cristian Mandeal.
The Romanian pianist Cristian Niculescu divides his time between Berlin and Bucharest. In 1986 he made his debut with the National Radio Orchestra of Romania, but moved to Berlin for further studies with Hans Leygraf at the University of the Arts in 1993, after the political changes in Romania. Since then, Niculescu has been working as a pianist, chamber musician and music manager; apart from his solo performances, he appears regularly with members of the Berlin Philharmonic. Other chamber music partners include Jeremy Menuhin, Avi Avital, Angela Denoke, Mihaela Martin, Frans Helmerson and Guy Braunstein. He has been featured on many radio and CD productions in his Romanian homeland. In 2020, Niculescu launched the project “Silvestri – Lipatti – Enescu” to pay homage to these three outstanding artist personalities. In 2022, the pianist was honoured by the Romanian President Klaus Johannis for his championing of Romanian music. Last year, he was also appointed director of the Romanian Cultural Institute in Berlin.
Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra in D-minor (1932)
Symphony No. 8 in C-major “The Great” D. 944 (1825-1828)
About the concert
Romania looks back on a long tradition of classical music. After its political system change, opera and concerts, radio productions and classical music festivals have remained part of the country’s cultural life. This also benefits the National Youth Orchestra of Romania, founded in 2008, which has reached an outstanding artistic level under its chief conductor, the Karajan student Cristian Mandeal – a fact the Young Euro Classic audience has been able to witness on several occasions. This year, the Romanian musicians rise to a special challenge: Franz Schubert’s Great Symphony in C-major with its rich palette of musical colours and atmospheres. Furthermore, a duo of Rumanian pianists tackles Francis Poulenc’s airy Double Concerto of 1932, which is reminiscent of Mozart. As usual, the Romanian orchestra also brings a composition from its homeland: this time, it is the recent work „Panicandemica” by Alin Chelărescu from 2021.
The concert will be recorded by Deutschlandfunk Kultur and broadcast nationwide on 17 AUG, 20:03, in the broadcast “Konzert”– in the Dlf Audiothek app, via FM and DAB+.