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Interview with cellist Marin Cazacu, manager of the George Enescu Philharmonic in Bucharest

Thursday, 5 May 2022 , ora 8.54

Cellist Marin Cazacu is the guest of the week in Perpetuum mobile, in an interview done by Florica Jalbă. The Romanian musician tells us about a new challenge in his career - manager of the "George Enescu" Philharmonic in Bucharest.

You are the creator andcoordinator of the program National Youth Orchestras of Romania, ensembles that, at your initiative, have become part of the National Art Center "Romanian Youth" - an institution that you have led since 2014 and until now. Recently, you took a new step in your career by becoming the manager of the "George Enescu" Philharmonic - an institution where you have been working as a concert soloist since 1983. Please tell us about this career path and what was the basis for the decision to participate in the management project competition organized by the Ministry of Culture for the Bucharest Philharmonic?

Indeed, I have been active at the "George Enescu" Philharmonic since 1979, when I was a recent graduate - first, in the cello part of the Symphony Orchestra; then, from 1983, I became a concert soloist of the institution, until 2014, when I became the manager of the National Art Center "Romanian Youth". I was absent from the institution for a while.

The thought of participating in this contest referred and still refers to the fact that I love this institution, I know it very well. And it's not just about the "George Enescu" Philharmonic, the institution itself, but about the Romanian Athenaeum. There are two brands that merge in this institution - it's the building of the Romanian Athenaeum and the "George Enescu" Philharmonic. Returning to the institution, this time in the position of leader ... of course many people are wondering why I made this decision! It seems natural to me that a person who has grown up here, who has developed and acquired these skills to run an institution and who has a vision and hope for improvement for an institution that he knows well, can straighten and provides services for the development of this institution.

The "George Enescu" Philharmonic offers top events to the Bucharest public and not only - because we are referring to an institution of national and international rank -. What I want in the future is for this institution to open its doors to a wider audience; especially the young people who come and get to know us and discover that this place of Romanian culture is open to everyone, because music is for everyone above all. And what I propose for the next years is for the institution to be attractive for all categories of public.

Precisely because, as you said, you come from within and you know very well the situation of the Philharmonic, in concrete terms, what are your plans? What projects do you want to carry out in this managerial term?

I'm coming to solve more situations. It is a matter of organizing the administrative part much more efficiently and better. I gained this experience, both in communicating with people and in management, because that's what I've been doing for the last few years. The artistic part can be perfected at anytime, and the "George Enescu" Philharmonic has had moments of glory and, perhaps, moments of fall in its history. Certainly, I want the most important Romanian soloists and conductors to appear on the stage of the Romanian Athenaeum, first of all, and above all, top international soloists and conductors. We don't just focus on classical and romantic music, and modern and contemporary music need to be present from time to time to satisfy the curiosity of those who listen to music. Because they will discover that these musics are also part of the universal heritage and can create emotion as strong as any classical or romantic music.

I also want to develop a lot the future of Romanian music in general and of the Romanian public - it can only be ensured by a very strong openness to this educational segment. This will have a significant percentage of the Philharmonic's activity. The chamber will also be developed, because it exists, but at a much more limited level. Allt hese things will happen. Also, the Philharmonic will leave the classical headquarters in the near future - the pandemic could not offer this chance to be present on other stages in the country and abroad.

Let's also talk about tomorrow night's concert at the Romanian Athenaeum. Host and organize an event of the National Art Center "Romanian Youth" - the vocal-symphonic concert "Song of Songs" with the Romanian Youth Orchestra and the Chamber Choir "Prelude". Maestro Cristian Mandeal will be in charge. The program also includes a work in the first absolute audition.

That's how it is. It is a work of maestro Sabin Pautza, who found texts translated into Romanian and verse by a Romanian Orthodox priest. The two ensembles are involved in the vocal-symphonic work - the Prelude Choir and the Romanian Youth Orchestra - and they will give voice tot his music that the maestro Sabin Pautza created with great, great joy. And in the first part, the program includes works for violins and orchestra by Antonio Vivaldi and Johann Sebastian Bach - these are the famous Concerto for two violins in D minor by Bach, the Concerto in A minor for two violins and orchestra by Vivaldi and the famous Concerto for 4 violins and orchestra by Vivaldi. And the soloists are the former and current concertmasters of the Romanian Youth Orchestra: Rafael Butaru - concertmaster of the "George Enescu" Philharmonic and the National Opera in Bucharest, Radu Dunca - concertmaster of the Bucharest National Opera, Roxana Oprea - concertmaster of the Symphony Orchestra of the Philharmonic andTârgu Mureș and Valentin Șerban; four top musicians of the young generation, who will give voice to these works for two and four violins and orchestra by Antonio Vivaldi and Johann Sebastian Bach together with the young people from the Romanian Youth Orchestra conducted by maestro Cristian Mandeal. An attractive program, with music by Sabin Pautza, who is and remains one of the most important contemporary composers in Romania.

Photo credit: Virgil Oprina

Interview by Florica Jalbă
Translated by Medeea Alexandra Stan,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu