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Packed Hall at the First Concert Given by the National Radio Orchestra in Chișinău

Monday, 4 March 2013 , ora 8.07
2,000 people standing up, applauses lasting minutes on end, a lot of flowers on the stage and the entreaty to return, these are the ingredients of a highly successful concert given in Chișinău on Sunday, 3rd March, 2013.

For the first time in its 85-year existence, the National Radio Orchestra gave a concert under the baton of Yuri Botnari, in the National Palace in the capital of Moldova, on Sunday evening. The audience was numerous, very warm and overwhelmed by the importance of the moment.

'I enjoyed it immensely! I listened carefully; I listened with my eyes closed and my imagination was all of a sudden unchained. I felt I was there, in Rachmaninoff's world', says a music lover who brought both his children to the concert.

'It's the umpteenth concert I go to, but this was a complete surprise! You're asking me whether they should return…I wish the whole orchestra remained here!' adds another listener.

'I really enjoyed it, I felt wonderful! I had such a spiritual satisfaction as I haven't felt in a long time. The National Radio Orchestra of Romania knew how to carry us to the Russian composers' world' - said another spectator who spoke half in Russian, half in Romanian.

His Excellency Marius Lazurca, the Romanian Ambassador to Moldova, also attended the concert.

'I regret that it took 85 years for this event to take place. It's obvious that such a high-quality orchestra should have come to Chișinău sooner. Without a doubt, this kind of events contributes to the development of the relations between Romania and Moldova, as well as to a feeling of fraternity between Radio Romania and Radio Moldova. I hope that the standing ovations, heard several times this evening, constitute an inducement for the National Radio Orchestra in Bucharest to come to Chișinău more often.'

The event was broadcast live by Teleradio Moldova - the state-owned national broadcaster in Chișinău - and was also transmitted by Radio Romania Cultural and Radio Romania Music.

The concert of the National Radio Orchestra on 3rd March was part of the International Music Festival 'Martisor', the 47th edition; the evening was organized by Radio Romania and the Russian Music Society.

The concert was conducted by Yuri Botnari, who has a rich artistic activity with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra and is a voting member of the Academy granting the Grammy awards. His career is based on his studies at the Saint Petersburg State Conservatory, rounded out at the Moscow State Conservatory; along the years, Yuri Botnari conducted the great European symphony orchestras. The connection between Yuri Botnari and this project is itself a symbol: born in Chișinău, the conductor grew up in a mixed, Romanian-Russian family; he is currently a Romanian citizen, but with a significant artistic activity in Russia.

The programme of the evening brought together three famous works, creating a beautiful artistic bridge between the Romanian and the Russian music: Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony, Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra and Enesco's Romanian Rhapsody No. 1.

A special presence was that of the pianist Vladimir Ovchinnikov, invited to London to play for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, and granted by Vladimir Putin the highest State music award (the title National Artist of Russia). The pianist performs with the greatest world orchestras, such as the Royal Philharmonic and the BBC Philharmonic (Great Britain), the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Russian State Symphony Orchestra etc.

The event also coincides with and emphasizes a beautiful historical celebration: 2013 marks 85 years since Radio Romania was launched and the National Radio Orchestra was born, an occasion to evoke the local broadcaster Radio Chișinău, the main media partner for the concert. The only radio station of the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Company outside Romania, Radio Chișinău was launched in October 1939 (under the name Radio Bessarabia) and after a long break, on 1st December, 2011 it was launched again under the name Radio Chișinău.

Translated by Mihaela Olinescu and Elena Daniela Radu
MTTLC, Bucharest University