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Valentina Sandu-Dediu - Doctor Honoris Causa at the National University of Arts George Enescu in Iași

Tuesday, 3 November 2020 , ora 15.37

With the occasion of the Days of the "George Enescu" National University of Arts in Iași, on the 160th anniversary of modern artistic education, the title of Doctor Honoris Causa was awarded to Mrs. Prof.univ.dr. Valentina Sandu-Dediu, musicologist, university professor, pianist and rector of New Europe College in Bucharest.

Here is an excerpt from Laudatio written by Mrs. prof.univ.dr. Laura Vasiliu, vice-rector of the National University of Arts in Iași: "The current image of Valentina Sandu-Dediu, musicologist and pianist by profession, is that of a strong and bright personality who gracefully assumes the role of leader, opinion maker in the Romanian cultural and musical life.She is the musicological and university voice recognized by foreign institutions and cultures, the voice of an undisputed professional and an erudite human of culture who contributes substantially to changing the mentality in the national-universal, traditional-modern relationship and promoting the Romanian musical values in Europe, in the world ".

During the Musica Viva morning show, Valentina Sandu-Dediu discussed with Andreea Kiseleff about the significance of this moment and more.

It is my honour and joy to have Mrs. Prof.univ.dr. Valentina Sandu Dediuas guest live by phone, to mark another important moment in her career, which is added to a long list of awards and distinctions. First of all, we wish her sincere congratulations!

Thank you. And thank you for the invitation.

I must mention that Professor Sandu-Dediu was and is my mentor also and I was lucky that she guided my steps in all cycles of university studies at the National University of Music in Bucharest. However, going beyond the subjective side involved, we are glad that there arecultural moments related to normality in this difficult period for the whole world. Professor, this is not the first time you have felt this kind of emotion. You are also Doctor Honoris Causa of the Gheorghe Dima Academy of Music in Cluj-Napoca, but I would like to ask you, how would you describe the feelings occasioned by yesterday's event?

It undoubtedly is exciting first and foremost. You can't stop your emotions because you feel the warmth of your colleagues and their generosity. Of course, such honours and awards and what you like and honour you are fleeting. What you do every day matters more, in a bigger, I know, penumbra, but these public moments are very pleasant, at least for me and I would be hypocritical not to say that. But, as I said yesterday, in front of my colleagues from Iași, I repeat it now and especially to you, dear Andreea, because we have known each other for so many years, we have always been lucky. I was lucky to have students like you, I was lucky to have generous colleagues, as I said and I was lucky that since I finished college I met people who helped me, supported me and that allows you to keep your humour, your joy and to be able to move on. In any case, I also had a small shock, I didn't realize it, but from yesterday's words, extraordinarily professionally and intelligently prepared by Mrs. Laura Vasiliu and Mr. Rector Aurelian Bălăiță, I had the revelation that 30 years have passed since I graduated from the Conservatory, the current University of Music, and I thought with a shadow of sadness that time passes too quickly.

I also felt the warmth with which Iași received you. I mention that you can already read the materials related to the ceremonyin the online press, through which even those who did not watch it can see it now, and the warm words spoken managed to convey the emotion, even online. I know that you have always had a beautiful collaboration with the University of Arts in Iași. How do you feel about this institution and the teachers here?

First of all, I remember the first personality I met in the '90s, the rector at the time, composer Viorel Munteanu, who surrounded himself with young generations very competent in musicology. He then brought Laura Vasiliu and Gheorghe Duțică to the former Iași conservatory. They are the leading musicology teachers of Iași and not only of Iași, they are very reputable musicologists, with good and solid education in music analysis and I have always had the pleasure to meet them at symposia, conferences, competitions, juries etc. With Laura Vasiliu I have also collaborated for articles written about Romanian music in the Grove Encyclopaedia. Also, I recently collaborated with her husband, Alex Vasiliu, a very famous jazz critic and author of an Oschanitzky monograph, for the volumes that have just appeared yesterday, volumes called New histories of Romanian music, but you may talk about it another time with someone else. They mark the centenary of the Union of Romanian Composers and Musicologists, which is being celebrated these days.

So you have already mentioned a recent project. I know your agenda is always full. You are also the rector of the College of New Europe, and I would like to continue the discussion from here. I was wondering: what else you are working on during this time?

I have just finished coordinating two large projects in which I participated by writing studies. The first is represented by two volumes that total about 900 pages about new histories of Romanian music. It is an initiative started a few years ago by Adrian Iorgulescu, just to mark today's centenary and I worked on coordinating them together with Nicolae Gheorghiță, my colleague from UNMB and a very good friend. I was lucky enough to work with him and we got along well. We were also lucky to have a team of 14 exceptional authors, from different generations, but focusing on the youngest. I reckon that our ambition or intention to launch a new tone in Romanian musicology and in the writings about the histories of Romanian music could be fulfilled through these volumes. And I coordinateda volume about the recent history of the Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra, but that one still hasn't seen the light of day. It was an older initiative, started a few years ago by Horia Andreescu and continued by Andrei Dimitriu. The work is completed and this book will probably appear next year.

Professor, I would also like to ask you how you feel and how you are going through this period emotionally. I already know that Professor Dan Dediu composed during the pandemic; a new creation of his will be performed on November 1st in a concert dedicated to Sibiu Radio Romania Day.

Yes, I think that during the pandemic, the only activity that still saves you from inactivity is, , in the end, writing and reading, so I tried to do this. It is not easy for any of us. Artists represent the extremely disadvantaged category of this period. Independent artists in particular, but everyone else, all those who have to do with the public, with the stage, with the production of live art, suffer enormously and go through very difficult moments. Being a teacher, I am lucky to keep in touchwith my students and with my colleagues, even if only online. Indeed, the only thing I was able to do successfully was to finish working on these volumes. Maybe if I hadn't had this respite, I wouldn't have done it so quickly, but like all my friends and colleagues, we are going through difficult times and even during yesterday's ceremony, I was looking around and I noticed that it had a sad, I would not say grotesque, nuance, for all of us were wearing masks. But it is inevitable, these are the times we are going through, we will remember them, we hope that we will go through them as calmly as possible and we can only adapt and see what else we can do, but, as I said, in the end, reading and writing remain the activities that you can do more successfully during this period.

You mentioned the online courses at the University of Music. I know that the whole process of preparing the logistics of this activity was a difficult one. Can you tell us what difficult times you went through in order to prepare everything online?

I think the difficult moments were in the spring, when we all had to get used to the new environments and Andreea, you who are also a young associate professor of the University, you know what we are talking about, we adapted on the go, I would say that great help came from the dean's office of our theoretical faculty, led by an exceptional musician, such as Olguța Lupu, but not only a musician, a person with an organizing force and an inspiring work force for all of us. She organized the online exams and online lectures so well that it was not so difficult for us, the others, to adapt. It's not easy and it's not pleasant to always learn new things, in terms of the relationship with the internet, with Zoom, with Teams, etc., but you can do it when the institution provides you with the right tools. However, it is difficult to communicate with students. I really liked to see each other face to face, to talk, to have reactions, to contradict each other, to make jokes. Beyond conveying the professional message, of a lecture, these things are important for the warmth of the human relationship and for those professional things to be more pleasantly said. It's much harder to do something like this online, it's difficult, the relationship is not the same, the internet is down, youlose an example from YouTube, because the video doesn't load and so on. But, I will say it again, we have to adapt.

Can you tell us what happens to the students at the Faculty of Music Performance, how they conduct their courses?

Of course. They can choose an option by mutual agreement with their teachers, a hybridoption. I mean, those scheduled theoretical lectures are all online. The practical lecturescannot be done, we are a vocational faculty, the studentshave to sing, practice, and it can't be done by computer. So, those students who want to come to college and their teachers who agree to come face to facedo it with all the security measures provided by law and they can also work like that. It's more complicated for the students who are not from Bucharest the UNMB campus is a risk factor and I don't know exactly to which extentit works. It is difficult to maintain it atits full capacity, as it once was, if not impossible.

We wanted you to point out the aforementioned elements in order to know that the University of Music has provided all the necessary conditions for a good management of the lectures and for the students to continue in optimal conditions. But I would like to ask you, regarding the musical events; I know that there are a series of concerts broadcast online from the University of Music. In terms of concerts in general, do you consider that this online solution works in the long run or is the emotion of being in the hall is missing, the same as atlectures?

Obviously, I don't reckon it can work in the long run. Of course, if we have to, we will continue online. Nobody likes to do that, but something has to be done, you have to keep in touch with your job. First of all, these online broadcasts will saturate, if they have not already saturated a market of receivers, because the offer is very rich online. It's a bit easier to organize than a physical concert, in some ways. But really, that is not the purpose of art. A concert must gather people in the hall and on stage and there must be that exchange. What we are doing now is a surrogate; it is a product of transition and adaptation. I use this word adaptation a lot here. We have nowhere to go and we take it upon ourselves, but we all hope to return to our normal lives. I don't think anyone can say when that will happen.

We all hope to return to the normal life of the past, in terms of culture and more. And, to conclude optimistically, we congratulate you once again for the title you received yesterday in Iași.

Interview by Andreea Kiseleff
Translated by Drangoi Ioana – Alexandra,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year II
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu