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Academic Piano Competition, first edition, Râmnicu Vâlcea November 12th-14th 2022, interview with Petruț Constantinescu, the manager of “Ion Dumitrescu” Philharmonic
In Râmnicu Vâlcea was held the first competition open to pianists in higher education, a unique chance of affirmation within the Romanian musical space, offered by the Cultural Association "Irina Șațchi" and professor Dorina Arsenescu along with the Cultural Association "Pianoforte". The event was hosted by "Ion Dumitrescu" Philharmonic.
Mr. Petruț Constantinescu, the manager of "Ion Dumitrescu" Philharmonic was kind enough to share with us the superior reasons in with regard to the organization of this event:
Mr. Manager, the Philharmonic from Râmnicu Vâlcea is again a hub of quality music, but also of excellence in view of the fact that we are witnessing the final of a novel piano competition, but which, at the same time, respects the tradition of your philharmonic, namely promoting young people. What can you tell us about this unique event?
"Ion Dumitrescu" Philharmonic from Râmnicu Vâlcea has made an avowal to supporting young people, first of all through the great festival "Young Talents", which has reached the beautiful age of 42 years old and which, I believe is the longest-running festival for young people eager to assert on a stage with a symphonic orchestra in Romania. Technically, us, the professional institution of the city, we have committed to having this festival for more than 10 years. Thereafter, we have the Piano Contest "Irina Șațchi", which involves various age groups, and now, a new competition, the contest "Academic Piano Competition", exclusively dedicated to students wishing to return on stage after the pandemic. Especially given the fact that these days it is rather hard for a young person to play with an orchestra. I could say that the guideline of our institution is, in addition to our educational and civilizing mission, to encourage the youth,
It will be an exceptional moment for the students tonight, the contest comprises two stages, after a preliminary stage, there are only three young finalists, Mark-Iosuah Lăcătoș, Emanuela Ioniță and Marius-Aram Niță. The program is indeed difficult and due to this, it would have been hard to surmount this number. These young people will musically duel, accompanied by our symphonic orchestra conducted tonight by maestro Florin Totan. The audience will be involved too, because we wish to have the opinion of a music lover, more or less certified.
Apart from the first, the second and the third prize there will be three more awards, an absolutely normal thing, the "Ion Dumitrescu" Philharmonic shouldering the first award, which it will be offering to the young person appointed by the votes of the audience from this night. The Cultural Associations "Irina Șațchi" and "Pianoforte", with the help of some generous sponsors, will provide the other two awards. We really wished that at the end of the competition, and after hearing three orchestra concerts, for our music lovers to have a voice.
Therefore, the high stake is the opportunity to perform along with the orchestra of "Ion Dumitrescu" Philharmonic. Also, I have noticed that a sole challenge would be the requirement to play a classical music concert in the final. I know that at this age, the students would rather tend to romantic concerts... therefore, they were determined to approach the classical concert repertoire, something they usually are reluctant to.
That is true. This first stage of the competition needed a structure and the jury agreed so from the very moment of this competition, given the fact that a young person should learn to build starting from a base. And if during the first stage there was no mandatory preclassical work, a classic concert has been chosen for the final.
It is also true that students hurry, and I dare to say this, because it is visible in the trend of national and international performances. I had the chance to be part of some other juries too, even in international competitions, and there I could notice that a great amount of the contestants tends to choose romantic works since they are more lovely, more sparkling. But as a structure, it all starts from the well-known classics Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven.
It seems that the auditorium will be full to its capacity, I heard there are no more tickets out for selling. It is also given to the fact that is rather an unusual event. But what is the actual feedback from the audience regarding the season concerts of "Ion Dumitrescu" Philharmonic?
We are happy that this first year after the pandemic we are able to slowly come back to the audience we once had, meaning that three years ago the Philharmonic had reached a number over 140 of season tickets, namely almost half of the concert hall capacity. Our hall has 300 seats and there was no clue that the rest of the seats will be filled, in most cases we reached over 200-240 people.
And behold, step by step, we are starting to recover and our great satisfaction is that since the beginning of the season, even though people are still fearful, even there are still economic problems we are all facing, they still come to concerts. We haven't raised the prices of our tickets or of the membership and you can see an increase. There is also the new public gained by our institution, by the fact that we have performed mostly in unconventionally places and we enjoyed appreciations at its best from the audience. We hope that this night too we will have a full hall. On the last concerts we overcame 200 music lovers per show, which I believe it's an optimal average, a very good one. Of course, every cultural institution would like to play, as they say in theatre, full house.
Translated by Andreea-Cristiana Petrescu,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu