It is only thirteen years old, but many experts have declared it one of the best orchestras in Romania – possibly even the best. Young Euro Classic visitors already had a chance to convince themselves of the outstanding qualities of the National Youth Orchestra of Romania in 2012, 2014, 2018 and 2019. These are due mainly to the brilliant work of the experienced conductor Cristian Mandeal, who conveys not only technical know-how, but also the enthusiasm that great music requires to the young musicians aged 18 to 28. The orchestra’s high level of playing is also demonstrated by several invitations to perform at the renowned George Enescu Festival in Bucharest. Furthermore, the National Youth Orchestra of Romania has already appeared in Rome, Paris, Brussels, Vienna and Istanbul, as well as the festivals in Ravello and Aix-en-Provence. In 2019, it also made its debut at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. While the first CD production of the National Youth Orchestra of Romania was dedicated to Romanian composers, the second one, entitled Trans-Europa Express, featured works ranging from Grieg to 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, who turns 75 this year, has been active in building up the National Romanian Youth Orchestra, with which he last appeared at Young Euro Classic in 2012, 2014, 2018 and 2019, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Romania.
The 30-year old Romanian pianist Daniel Ciobanu can look back on a multitude of famous concert halls where he has appeared, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Salle Cortot in Paris, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and Salzburg’s Mozarteum. Tours have taken him to Japan, China, Taiwan, South Africa and Brazil. After starting his music education in his homeland, Ciobanu received a scholarship in 2011 to study in Scotland; further studies took him to Berlin’s University of the Arts, where Pascal Devoyon and Markus Groh were his teachers. In 2019 the pianist gave a solo recital at the Konzerthaus’ chamber music hall. In early 2020, invitations took him to debuts with the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; last year also saw the release of his first CD featuring works by Prokofiev and Debussy, Georges Enescu’s Piano Suite No. 3 and Franz Liszt’s Dante Sonata. In 2017 Ciobanu founded the Neamt Music Festival for young artists in the Romanian Carpathian Mountains, which features not just classical music, but also jazz and experimental projects.
Three pieces for String Orchestra op. 4 No. 2 (1933/1950)
Piano Concerto No. 2 in F-major Op. 102 (1957)
Symphony No. 1 B-flat-major Op. 38 "Spring Symphony" (1841)
More than once in recent years, the National Youth Orchestra of Romania earned jubilant applause for its performances under Cristian Mandeal’s baton at Young Euro Classic. Now the charismatic conductor and indefatigable motor of this orchestra turns 75 – giving the Berlin audience an opportunity to renew its applause for him and his musicians. The programme is a familiar mix of the familiar and unfamiliar: it begins with a musical homage to the great Romanian composer and conductor Constantin Silvestri, followed by Dmitri Shostakovich’s Second Piano Concert, which the Russian dedicated to his pianist son Maxim for his 19th birthday. As the main work of the concert, the young Romanian musicians devote themselves to Robert Schumann’s exuberant “Spring Symphony” in B-flat-major.