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Simona Strungaru, about the “Contemporary in Romania” concert

Monday, 13 November 2023 , ora 10.32

The "Contemporary in Romania" concert (Thursday, the 9th of November 2023, 7 p.m.), held with Simona Strungaru at the music stand, has in his programme pieces by the pianist George Natsis, the saxophonists Paolo Profeti and Cătălin Milea, the guitarist Liviu Neagu, the trombonist Florian Radu and the trumpeters Laurențiu Moise and Sebastian Burneci. The ensemble's conductor talked about this event at Perpetuum Mobile on Wednesday, the 8th of November.

Live over the phone at Perpetuum Mobile, Simona Strungaru, the conductor of the Radio Big Band. Welcome!

Good evening!

The subject of our discussion today is the "Contemporary in Romania" concert which is going to take place tomorrow evening, at the Radio Hall. The members of the Radio Big Band are going to have a double role on the stage - performers and composers of the pieces which we are going to listen to, some of them being performed for the very first time. How do you describe the pieces written by the members of the Radio Big Band? What is the common aspect of the pieces from tomorrow evening's programme?

The common aspect is, of course, the ensemble for which the pieces are written and… their lovely and vivacious ambience. But the audience shall be able to see that they are very different and I was pleased to discover this side of the Big Band members, as creators with very different inspirations.

The pianist George Ntasis, the saxophonists Paolo Profeti and Cătălin Milea, the guitarist LiviuNegru, the trombonist Florian Radu and the trumpeters Laurențiu Moise and Sebastian Burneci. They composed the pieces which we are going to listen to tomorrow evening, but we are also going to listen to one of the pieces by the late Marian Georgescu. February 2023 marks 4 years since the guitarist, who had been a member of the Radio Big Band, has passed. What's the piece which you have chosen from his creation?

One of his pieces that we are going to perform is Black Funk.

A few words about this piece?

It is, of course, a piece that highlights the guitar (it now being played by Liviu Negru). It's a very rhythmic piece, a very pleasant funk. Also, it has piano or saxophone solos.

"Contemporary in Romania" is a concert for which you have collaborated with Ioana Halunga, who is going to make the video projections on the organ at the Radio Hall during the concert. How is going to complete tomorrow evening's event?

We have been collaborating with Ioana Halunga since last year, a lovely collaboration because she makes these projections on the organ, inspired by the music of each concert which is very different (for each concert, we always try to have another theme and another style of jazz). A mapping on the organ.

At this concert, besides our collaboration with her, we also have a new project with the "Centaur" art exhibition, which brings together paintings and sculptures. These are curated by ms. Iulia Mihalcea. The opening of this exhibition is going to take place tomorrow evening, at 6 p.m.

"Contemporary in Romania" brings together IoanaHalunga's activity with the exhibition curated by Iulia Mihalcea, in collaboration with what we do, as creators.

Will the exhibition be at the Radio Hall even after the concert from tomorrow evening?

Yes. The exhibition will be at the Radio Hall for the next ten days.

So, those who have tickets for the concerts held at the Radio Hall in the next week can also enjoy this exhibition.

What's next for the Radio Big Band until the end of 2023? For one thing, there's "Contemporary in Romania". There have been two concerts so far - the season opening and the Radio România 95 Gala. What's next for the end of 2023?

Before I tell you what we are going to do next, I want to tell you that the "Contemporary in Romania" concert is actually the opening of a series that we want to be part of our seasons, in which we are going to collaborate with artists coming from different areas of art. And to talk about our next projects up until the end of the year… on the 23rd of November, there will be a concert with a saxophonist guest; on the 7th of December, we are going to have a concert with Ana Cristina Leonte; and on the 21st of December, we will have a Christmas concert with the Radio Big Band, the Radio Academic Choir and the Radio Children's Choir, when we are going to perform Romanian carols orchestrated for the Big Band and Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" suite orchestrated by Duke Ellington. Gianni Gagliardi, our guest on the 23rd of November, is an internationally acclaimed saxophonist, who has won many awards as saxophonist and as musician and orchestrator. It is also his first concert when he will fully perform with his pieces orchestrated for the Big Band.

Therefore, three more meetings with the Big Band until the end of this year. But I would like us to get back to the concert from tomorrow evening and I want you to put forward an invitation to the ones who are listening to us right now, because the concert is going to be at the Radio Hall, but starting from 7 p.m., it can also be listened to on the Radio România Muzical station. So, how would the invitation for "Contemporary in Romania" with the Radio Big Band sound like?

We are so excited to have the opportunity to introduce ourselves as creators, besides performers, and from now on, we wish to be able to showcase our pieces, because they are very important and through these occasions, our musical tradition can only grow. We are looking forward to seeing you!

Photo credit:
Barcan Photography

Interview by Lucian Haralambie
Translated by Cristina-Paula Grosu,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu