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Pianist Cadmiel Botac and cellist Cornelius Zirbo, protagonists of the first Heirs of Musical Romania tour, invited to Perpetuum Mobile alongside Cristina Comandașu, the project initiator

Monday, 17 January 2022 , ora 10.03

Before the final act of the first Heirs of Musical Romania tour we have gathered in the studio feelings of nervousness, hope and joy at the idea of meeting the melomaniac audience.

This week's guests at Perpetuum Mobile are pianist CadmielBotac and cellist Cornelius Zirbo. Welcome!

Pleasure to be here!

And last but not least, our colleague Cristina Comandașu, editor in chief at Radio România Muzical and the initiatior of the Heirs of Musical Romania project. We are glad to have you with us!

I'm glad to be here as well.

Cristina Comandașu, this is the first Heirs of Musical Romania tour - a project you initiated in 2018 which has earned a well -deserved place in our musical culture. You must be proud.

Cristina Comandașu: It's not so much about my pride. I think it's about our pride as a collective, us who work at Radio România Muzical. And in fact, it's not only the first Heirs of Musical Romania tour, I think it's the first tour organised by Radio România Muzical. And maybe chance had it that we have visited two cities where radio wavelength doesn't read Radio Romania Musical but we learned that people there listen to us online and we're quite well known. I think this is extremely important. Then, I think for us working at Radio Romania Musical, and I'm certain you will agree, it is essential to support the new generation of performers especially in these trying times. Performing classical music is not like any other occupation. It involves a great deal of work, it requires one to give up play during childhood, you begin very early on and I don't know how many still make these sacrifices today - because it is a great sacrifice - to maybe have the chance of performing on a stage. Therefore, just as our colleagues at Radio Cluj said it during an interview, it is a craft ­that should be supported in order to withstand these times that aren't the most favourable for culture. On the other hand, looking at the audiences we currently have, we can say that there's hope. On Monday is was announced that these are the largest audiences recorded since 2016. Therefore, for an audience that is so keen on authenticity and quality we have these two young men here tonight who can deliver. They are currently creating Romanian culture - what represents us now and will represent us in the future.

I completely agree! CadmielBotac, Cornelius Zirbo, you are practically the stars of this tour. How did you feel in the two cities you performed? Cristina mentioned Cluj-Napoca and
Timișoara - two very important cultural centres.

Cadmiel Botac: We are of course honoured and grateful to have had this concert opportunity in Saturday in Cluj-Napoca and last night in Timișoara. I don't think I would call us stars, though. We are extremely privileged to receive the opportunity to perform. We would like to thank the entire Radio Romania Musical team. It is a unique opportunity for us to promote ourselves, to make out names known and we are truly honoured and looking forward to tomorrow's concert.

Cornelius Zirbo: I agree with my colleague, Cadmiel. Up until now, this is has been a truly memorable experience. We had loved ones, friends, old colleagues, professors, teacher and family in the audience with us in Cluj and Timișoara and this posibillity to share our music with this audience has been a dream come true. We are extremely grateful and look forward with lots of interest and enthusiam to tomorrow's recital, of course.

We invite you to listen to some opinions you have gathered yourself, Cristina, in Timișoara.

In the audience, Dan Simion, artistic director at Banatul Philharmonic:

'Such talented young artists! I'm so glad they they reached us and that we had the chance to witness their performance here in Timișoara, thanks to you and Rotary Club. I spoke with each of them and we intend for them to take part in future programmes at Banatul Philharmonic. They deserve all the support for being so talented and expressive. They show a profound level of musical comprehension for their age, they are mature when it comes to understanding and performing their music for an audience.'

'An incredible evening! I came here for Cadmiel and Cornelius, two extraordinary young men. And if their artistic side was enchanting this evening, their personalities even more so. This is probably why they could communicate so much. Too bad about the audience… there weren't many of us… we show our support firstly through our attendance and then through other means. Quality, high quality!' - Marius Bâc, Arad

The Heirs of Musical Romania project is financed by Pipera Rotary Club. Răzvan Mironescu, president:

'Tonight was a special evening as Pipera Rotary Club aims its projects in three directions - culture, education and health - and I believe that this evening has met all the requirements of both a cultural and education project, in that we have tried to educated through culture - musical education, of course - by having two exceptional young men as protagonists, the winners of the Heirs of Musical Romania scholarship. They have demonstrated to all of us here tonight that young musicians in Romania have an extraordinary future ahead of them.

Cristina Comanda
șu: We have reached our fourth year of collaboration, and after this evening in Timișoara and our second night on the road, maybe some conclusions are due.

'We would prefer to draw our conclusions ten years from now if possible, because the only thing I can say after these two wonderful nights we've had next to our Heirs of Musical Romania - Cadmiel and Cornelius - is that there is an immense satisfaction in seeing these exceptional young men performing on stages in Romanian Philharmonics. And the audience's reaction, their warmth in Cluj and Timișoara as well, both enjoying the satisfaction of seeing a young generation of excellence. And I believe that for us, the two partners - Radio Romania Musical and Pipera Rotary Club - this satisfaction could, on the one hand, give the young men the opportunity to reach Romanian audiences, but also the audience's satisfaction, which for me is an achievement in and of itself. I hope that this motivation we are experiencing together today, this sense of pride and joy can inspire us further into the future.'

You have listened to Dan Popescu, organiser of the Heirs of Musical Romania project, brought by Pipera Rotary Club. Adrian Luca, governor of Rotary International Romania-Moldova branch was part of the audience in Timișoara:

'I'm not the one to get any credits for this… the credit is all theirs, they are the vectors and we are pleased to see that our youth, our children perform music that is so dear to us. Without art and music Rotary couldn't survive, just as the entire human race couldn't. So I congratulate my colleagues. We will further encourage these activities, we fully support them and wish them the best lots of luck in their careers.

Opinions on the opinions? What do you think about these reactions? We have to mention that due to safety and health guidelines, the venues could only be filled to 30% capacity. I expect many have wanted to attend the performance but could not enter the venue.

Cadmiel Botac: I suppose so, too. What I can say is that if the message of our music, the beautiful message we wanted to communicate to our audience has been understood by those who listened, we can say we are honoured and happy. In the end, I think this is the musician's role - to communicate the composer's message, the one that is past the music sheets and notes. And then, this is our greatest joy - seeing the audience supporting, understanding and experiencing this alongside us.

Cornelius Zirbo: I completely agree with Cadmiel. And, all this considered, we still had quite the audience in Cluj and Timișoara as well. Of course, we'd be happy to perform for two or three people as well, but having such large audience was an even greater joy.

I'm glad to hear such positive reactions to the tour's two recitals. Tomorrow, the final act will take place at Radio Hall. Starting at 7PM, dear listeners, you are awaited at Radio Hall to listen and witness these two very talented young musicians in recital.

Cadmiel, this tour has allowed you to introduce your debut album. Tell us a bit about this recording. I assume that tomorrow, at Radio Hall, this project will reach our listeners as well, and if they come in person they can also receive your autograph.

Cadmiel Botac: That's right, with my greatest pleasure and joy. The three pieces on the disc were recorded in 2018 following a prize at the International Piano Competition in Brașov. The disc includes Beethoven's Sonata op. 57, Chopin's Suite no. 2 and George Enescu's Suite no. 2 in Re Major. What I can say is that these three pieces represent a conclusion to my university research while I was studying in Cluj and I'm honoured that these recordings could take the beautiful form of this disc. Thank you again to the Radio Romania Musical team who proposed and produced this disc.

Cornelius, are you planning such a recording project?

Cornelius Zirbo: I am absolutely open to the idea! It sounds interesting. I must acknowledge that putting out a disc involves lots and lots and lots of work and I have some experience with Radio Romania Musical. Of course, after a lot of preparation, I would like to put out my own disc.

The Heirs of Musical Romania tour is the first event in a series marking the 25 year anniversary of Radio Romania Musical. Cristina Comandașu, what can you tell us about this anniversary?

Cristina Comandașu: There will, of course, be more events during the year. There will be concerts and our own editorial events. What I can say is that during the 23rd-25th of March, - those three days marking the actual anniversary - are planned for recitals and concerts produced in collaboration with radio orchestras. These events will also fall under the name of Heirs of Musical Romania (at least the first two concerts), because three of this year's scholarship finalists will also be performing next to the Radio Chamber Orchestra on March 23rd. The finalists are pianists Dominic Iliș, percussionist Sara Gheorghe and soprano Aida Pascu. The following day, on March 24th we will have pianist MihaiRitivoiu in recital. Then, on March 25th we insisted that our Radio Chamber Orchestra be accompanied by two musicians constantly appearing in columns at Radio Romania Musical - violinist Alexandru Tomescu and conductor Cristian Măcelaru. So, yes, we will have a mini-festival for our anniversary and I hope that the pandemic will allow us to do it as we hope, although these are great expectations. And speaking of young musicians… The finalists' concert will take place at the Brașov Philharmonic a week before the anniversary concert. Heirs of Musical Romania means many opportunities brought to young musicians. I want to remind you, for instance, that Cornelius has performed in the 2021-2022 season opening at the Cluj Philharmonic. We have DragoșIlie, and those who listened to his performance on December 10th have realised what an extraordinary guitarist he is. He will be performing again on January 14th alongside the Cluj Philharmonic. And they have open opportunities at the Timișoara Philharmonic. And this is exactly what we want! To bring them out, to open doors for them and to finally reach out, as not only international confirmation can allow you to perform in Romania. We can also discover talent and invest in it. I must say that the jury for Heirs of Musical Romania is impartial and completely professional. Only musical skill matters. And choosing this skill, as you can see, can lead to results you'll be able to witness tomorrow evening. What they didn't mention, of course, is that the audience was enthusiastic because their performance was exceptional. This is the truth.

And the pieces they chose are rarely performed in Romania.

Cristina Comandașu: Indeed. Perfoming Franz Lizst's Sonata in Si minor is a challenge for any pianist, but what the audience in Cluj and Timișoara witnessedwas actually a disc version. And I hope that the recording tomorrow at Radio Hall will reach that level, which it surely will. And it means that our Heirs of Musical Romania already have to discs, both published at Radio House Publishing. This year we are working on a third and maybe this one will be the fourth. And then, we had the Rachmaninoff sonata, which is charming firstly as sheet music. It is so beautiful, and they manage to bring in youthful enthusiasm, romanticism, exuberance and remove us from this grey reality we're living in. And I think this is exactly the purpose of music. As I was saying while presenting the recitals, in order to support them we have to join them, attend their concerts, because music without an audience makes no sense and I truly realised this in the past two years. So… there are only a few tickets left to Radio Hall, this is great news, but whoever else wants to join will be warmly awaited. Who can't make it in person will have the chance to watch the concert on the Radio Romania Musical YouTube channel, and this audio-video recording will be made available on the Radio Romania Musical Facebook on Saturday, right on National Culture Day, starting 7PM.

Cornelius, Cadmiel, you aren't as old as Radio Romania Musical yet, but I believe you grew up with this radio station. What does Radio Romania Musical mean to you?

Cadmiel Botac: For me, personally, but I think also for Cornelius, it is a great opportunity for us to make our names known. I can honestly say that one of the best decisions I've made in my life regarding my profession was participating in the 2010 Dinu Lipatti Competition. Following that contest I have been greatly appreciated by Radio România Muzical, and many opportunities followed - collaborations, concerts, finally a disc, which is a dream come true. Therefore, I can only thank them for investing in young Romanian musicians and I wish them happy anniversary, and lots of luck and success in future endeavours!

Cornelius Zirbo: For me, Radio Romania Musical and its many listeners are living proof that there's still hope. Looking at my past, considering every chapter, Radio Romania Musical was always there with me. I can recall the first Prague Concertino, the first edition of this contest, the Heirs of Musical Romania scholarship. Even if I didn't receive the scholarship, as a finalist I could still benefit from performing in the season opening at the Transylvania State Philharmonic as Ms Comandașu mentioned. Looking back, that opportunity and that institution have mattered greatly in my development as a musician. In this sense, I am filled with gratitude and wish you many successes and ease in your endeavours. Thank you!

What is next for you following tomorrow's recital? Cadmiel, in an interview you mentioned that 2022 is a bit blurry. Has is cleared up?

Cadmiel Botac: Slightly. The near future has cleared up. At the beginning of February I will be participating in a masterclass in Germany with professor Stefan Arnold who is actually my professor. And after that, things are still wide open. We will see, things will clear up depending on what the pandemic will or won't bring.

Cornelius, I'm aware you'll be taking part in a competition. You'll be performing Rachmaninoff'sSonata, though this time without Cadmiel. How does your schedule look after this recital?

Cornelius Zirbo: I'm excited for what's to come! Aside from the chance of performing at Radio Hall next week, if it all goes according to plan I will be travelling to Pretoria, in South Africa, where I'll be taking part in the Unisa International Competition, which to this day is one of the most prestigious competitions I've been a part of. Looking at the participants list I've already seen winners of other important competitions, such as the winner of the Second Place at the Geneva Competition in October. So, the participants are well prepared. I can't wait! It will be a unique experience regardless of the outcome. First and foremost I'm joining the contest because I value the preparation and learning I've done already, I feel like I've gained so much already just through learning and rehearsing. I don't know what will come after, but I hope for the best. Aside from this competition, there will be many concerts with the Romanian Youth Orchestra, and concerts with our cello ensemble Violoncelissimolead by maestro Marin Cazacu. Some concerts are in works already at philharmonics around the country, in Pitești for instance… and we will keep in touch as things become clearer as time goes on.

Thank you joining us here in the studio! Congratulations, Cristina Comandașu on this project! Cadmiel Botac and Cornelius Zirbo, I wish you the best of luck tomorrow evening and in all of your upcoming projects. And you have to promise that every once in a while you'll come back to our studio here at Radio România Muzical in order to share your experiences with our listeners.

Cadmiel Botac: With great pleasure!

Cornelius Zirbo: Certainly!

Interview by Gabriel Marica
Translated by Carla Bețianu,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu