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Liliana Staicu in dialogue with Lucian Haralambiela Perpetuum Mobile, about the first part of the new season at Sala Radio

Wednesday, 18 October 2023 , ora 11.25

On Friday, October 13th, at Sala Radio, the 2023-2024 season of the Radio România Orchestras and Choirs will begin. Liliana Staicu, the Director of the Center for Cultural Projects and Events at Radio România, discussed the concerts in the first part during the October 11th edition of Perpetuum mobile.

In the Radio România Muzical studio, we have Liliana Staicu, the Director of the Center for Cultural Projects and Events at Radio România. Hello!

Hello! Thank you very much for the invitation.

A new structure at Radio România that we'll talk about in a few minutes, but first, the opening concert of the 2023-2024 season at Sala Radio (it's the 95th season); a program entirely dedicated to the works of Sergei Rachmaninoff. What's it all about? Who will be the guests?

Indeed, this is the last Rachmaninoff concert of the year. There were a few more in the first part of the season. This concert includes three of Rachmaninoff's "hits" - Vocalise, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini for piano and orchestra, and Symphony No. 2. The protagonists are conductor John Axelrod - an American conductor with an extraordinary career, a friend of Romania as we know, who has visited here many times and has recently started a beautiful collaboration with the National Radio Orchestra - and the soloist, a very young pianist, Roman Borisov - an exceptional interpreter suitable for Rachmaninoff's compositions.

A very young musician, a laureate of the Astana Competition...


Next, on October 20th, there will be a concert with pianist Horia Mihail as the soloist, conducted by David Crescenzi. Beethoven and Wagner masterpieces can be seen on the program on the radio orchestras' website.

Exactly. Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 with Horia Mihail, as you mentioned. In the second part, we'll have a meeting with the National Orchestra and the Academic Radio Choir - it's their first appearance this season - featuring selections from Richard Wagner's operas. We're talking about Tannhäuser, The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, and Lohengrin. So, it's a program with orchestra and choir, and we have invited Maestro David Crescenzi, also a highly esteemed conductor in Romania, with an extraordinary career, who has been 'adopted' by our country where he feels wonderful. He is a specialist in opera and vocal-symphonic genres, so we thought it fitting for him to conduct such a program.

In the last week of October, it's the season opening for both the Radio Chamber Orchestra and the Radio Big Band. What do these ensembles have prepared?

The Radio Chamber Orchestra has a special proposal. Christopher Warren-Green will be at the conductor's stand. He is a British maestro with a well-known name in the music field, specializing in chamber music. The UK has a tradition in this regard. Maestro Warren-Green returns to Bucharest after his first appearance in the previous season, and the soloist is the very young accordionist Ksenija Sidorova. She is one of the stars of the young generation. She performs extensively with orchestras, but even more in chamber music, often in the company of Avi Avital; she is one of his chamber music partners. She is a wonderful musician, a beautiful woman - you will see her if you come to the concert on October 25, but equally talented as a musician. She will perform a piece by Astor Piazzolla, a concerto for accordion and orchestra, Aconcagua, and the program is completed with works by Ravel, Delius, and Stravinsky - Pulcinella Suite.

And as you mentioned, on October 26th, it's also the season opening for the Radio Big Band with a concert from the well-known series, "The Magic of…". This time, it's "The Magic of Thad Jones"; it's in celebration of his 100th birthday, the famous trumpeter, composer, and big band leader. The entire program will be performed by the Radio Big Band under the direction of Simona Strungatu.

The Radio Big Band has accustomed us to having guest performers in the previous season. I'd like to talk about the guests at Sala Radio in general now. Until December, what are some other names that will be gracing this stage?

To continue with the Radio Big Band, the soloists for this ensemble will be saxophonist Gianni Gagliardi and vocalist Ana Cristina Leonte, whom we know well from her appearances in the Romanian music scene.

Among other names in the first part of the season is pianist Simon Trpceski - who will perform Johannes Brahms' second piano concerto, a rather rarely performed piece due to its complexity. This concerto is part of the first Brahms project, a complete cycle this year, including all of Johannes Brahms' concertante and symphonic works. The first concert is on November 10th, and the following three will be in January and June of 2024. The conductors for those will be John Axelrod, Daniel Raiskin, and Naoto Otomo, with soloists Valentin Șerban in the Violin Concerto, Alexei Volodin in the first piano concerto, and the double Brahms will be performed by Alexandru Tomescu and Răzvan Suma.

A comprehensive project with renowned names indeed.

It's a series within the season this time.

Another name I'd like to mention is guitarist Dragoș Ilie, who will return to Sala Radio in December, accompanied by the Radio Chamber Orchestra, in Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Concerto. Also, conductor Finnegan Downie Dear, a laureate of a major international conducting competition... or Spanish clarinetist Pablo Baragan, who will be in Romania for the first time and will perform a Romanian premiere, a clarinet concerto by Oscar Navarro.

Let's talk about the vocal ensembles of Radio Romania - the Radio Children's Choir and the Academic Radio Choir.

The Radio Children's Choir will make its first appearance this season in December, as it has become customary. The Radio Children's Choir's Christmas concert will essentially kick off the Christmas concert series in the last month of the year, on December 9th. And as we mentioned earlier, the Academic Choir will perform Wagner next week. Then, on November 9th, they will have an a cappella concert. At the end of November, they will perform Gioachino Rossini's Stabat Mater alongside the National Radio Orchestra.

These are the choir's performances. I wouldn't want to reveal too much about the Radio Big Band's final concert, but there will be some surprise guests there.

We'll get back to that moment. We will discuss more about the concert closer to the holidays.

I don't want us to forget the concerts dedicated to Radio Day. November 1st - 95 years of existence. On November 3rd, there will be the anniversary concert of the National Radio Orchestra - conducted by Rumon Gamba, with soloist Alexandru Tomescu in Tchaikovsky's Concerto. There will also be a CD release in the foyer. The program also includes a symphonic prelude by Ion Dumitrescu and Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony. And on Sunday, November 5th, the Folk Music Orchestra will hold a concert under the title "95 Years of Folklore on Radio" because, as we know, folklore was the first to be performed live on the radio in 1928. 95 years of folklore, a special concert that I believe will bring together numerousimportant figures in the interpretive field of folk music.

At the beginning of this interview, we discussed the Center for Cultural Projects and Events within Radio România. It's a new structure that you manage. It includes the Radio Music Ensembles, the Gaudeamus Book Fair, and the Casa Radio Publishing House. I would like to talk about the latter two. What are the Gaudeamus projects until the end of the year, and what does Casa Radio Publishing have in store?

The Gaudeamus projects are two until the end of the year. Between November 1, the day we celebrate 95 years, and November 5, the Gaudeamus Book Fair will take place in Timișoara - the European Capital of Culture. The fair returns to Timișoara after several years of absence. At the end of November, as everyone has become accustomed to, at Romexpo, this time in the Central Pavilion, the 30th edition of the Gaudeamus Book Fair will be held - 25 years since we started it at Romexpo, but 30 years of the fair's existence. From November 22nd to 26th, we await you at Romexpo's Central Pavilion, where, in addition to the usual fair activities, there will be many cultural events.

And Casa Radio Publishing, in addition to the titles it launched during the Enescu Festival and the book signing sessions held at Sala Palatului in September, is in the process of releasing 7 more titles that will be published in the near future. Some of them will be launched in November and December; one of the projects, on November 3rd, on the anniversary day when the National Radio Orchestra performs.

These are the highlights of the end of the year in the cultural sphere of Radio România, in addition to, of course, everything prepared by the Radio România stations.

I would also like to mention that on December 8th, as we approach the Callas centenary, we will organize a Callas - 100 concert, with a series of young but very talented Romanian performers under the baton of Sascha Goetzel.

A rich autumn, and a similarly promising start to winter! I'm coming back to the concert on Friday, October 13th, at Sala Radio - the National Radio Orchestra, conductor John Axelrod, with an all-Sergei Rachmaninoff program. Are there still tickets available on orchestreradio.ro?

Very few left! You can visit orchestreradio.ro. From there, you can access the ticket purchase links on entertix.ro and myticket.ro. There are still some available, but very few, so I advise you to hurry if you want to join us in the concert hall. If not, you can catch most of the productions from Sala Radio - the National Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra, the choirs, and the Radio Big Band on Radio România Muzical and Radio Romania Cultural.

From 7:00 PM, on Radio România Muzical, you can listen to this concert live! Liliana Staicu, the Director of the Center for Cultural Projects and Events at Radio România, thank you for being in the Radio România Muzical studio!

Interview by Lucian Haralambie
Translated by Ramona Ana-Maria Ionescu,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu