The George Enescu International Festival: Romania’s most important tribute to the Maestro is spreading through Europe

One of the most important classical music festivals in Europe, the George Enescu International Festival has reached its 24th edition this year. 

Held between August 31st and September 22nd in Bucharest, the festival cascades throughout Romania and Europe. 

Bucharest’s biggest concert halls will host over 2,500 musicians from 50 countries, with 84 concerts and recitals taking place throughout the three weeks. Six other European cities will host events related to the festival: Florence (Italy), Berlin and Dresden (Germany), Liège (Belgium), Toronto (Canada) and Chisinau (Moldova). 

In Bucharest, loyal festival goers will once more crowd into the Palace Hall, Romanian Athenaeum, Radio Hall, Small Palace Hall, George Enescu Hall at the National University of Music, and the Excelsior Theatre. 

For the 2019 edition, concerts and recitals have been grouped under six sections: “Great Orchestras of the World”, “By Midnight Concerts”, “Recitals and Chamber Music”, “21st Century Music”, “Mozart Week in Residence” and “International Composers’ Forum”. 

Concerts and events will also be organized in the Festival Square (next to the Athenaeum), along with conferences, record releases, book launches, and extraordinary shows.

As the Festival unfolds in Bucharest, there will be classical music concerts throughout Romania’s largest cities: Iaşi, Sibiu, Braşov, Cluj, Bacău, Bârlad, Ploieşti, Târgovişte, Timişoara, Piatra Neamț and Satu Mare. 

For more details about the Festival, the full Program and how to buy tickets: 


Enescu is considered the most important Romanian musician of all time. He was born on August 19th, 1881, in Botoşani, and passed away at the age of 73, in Paris. He was a composer, violinist, pianist, conductor, and inspiring prodigy.

Enescu studied at the Music Conservatory in Vienna from the ages of eight to twelve, continuing his studies at the Music Conservatory in Paris until 1899. The year before featured Enescu’s debut at the Colonne Concerts in Paris, with the musical work “Romanian Poem” op.1. 

Admired by Queen Elisabeth of Romania (an artist and poet herself, who took the pen name Carmen Sylva), Enescu was a regular guest at Peleş Castle in Sinaia, the summer residence of the Romanian royal family. 

After the First World War, Enescu toured Europe and the United States. In America, he conducted prestigious orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Orchestra and Chicago Symphonic Orchestra.

His mentorship to violinists Christian Ferras, Ivry Gitlis, Arthur Grumiaux and Yehudi Menuhin left an indelible mark on the musicians. Menuhin once said that “for me, Enescu will remain one of the true wonders of the world. His strong roots and his noble spirit come from his own country, a country with no match in beauty.”

Between 1923-1926, Enescu built a house close to the Royal Palace in Sinaia, called the “Luminiş Villa”. For the next 20 years, he spent at least one month a year in this house, where he would compose, resting between his tours in Europe and North America. In 1947, Enescu, who was by then living in Paris, donated the villa to the Romanian state. In 1995, it opened as the “George Enescu” Memorial House. 

His work was monumental and his personality incredibly modest and unpretentious. Enescu’s personal life was more of a subject to public scrutiny and more glamorous than he would have wanted. In 1938, he married Maria Cantacuzino, a Romanian princess and former lady-in-waiting of Queen Mary of Romania, whose first husband had been Prince Mihail Cantacuzino, and whom he had loved for almost three decades. 

His most well-known works are the Romanian Rhapsodies, op.11 (1901-1902), the Suite No. 1 for Orchestra, op. 9 (1903), his first Symphony No. 1 in E flat, op.13 (1905).

We celebrate and honor him as one of the most inspiring Romanians to have ever lived. 

PHOTOS by Vlad Eftenie

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