Between 2 and 24 September 2017, Bucharest once again hosted the George Enescu International Festival. For my wife and I, it was a real treat. This was our first festival, and we were impressed. Held every two years, the festival is named in honor of the 20th-century Romanian composer George Enescu. The festival draws performers from around the world, from great symphony orchestras to top-notch soloists. It’s one of the largest classical music festivals in Eastern Europe.
During the first week, an outdoor performance space was packed with a variety of performers playing in a variety of musical genres. Located near the historic Ateneu and the massive Sala Palatului, this was a perfect place to enjoy music in the mild late summer temperatures (and only a hint of rain). The free admission allowed people to enjoy the outstanding performances and to come and go as they pleased. As the month progressed, we attended symphonic concerts in the massive Sala Palatului. At first glance, we thought the cavernous venue would stifle the sound; but we were delighted to discover that the acoustics were excellent. (We had already attended many events at the Ateneu, a much smaller but beautifully decorated venue, where we knew the acoustics were exceptional.) Thus, we enjoyed world-class symphony orchestras from Pittsburgh, London, and Paris during the festival, as well as world-class soloists.
Any regrets? Only that ticket availability (they sell-out fast) and our need to work at our jobs kept us from attending even more events.
If you enjoy classical music, set your sights on Bucharest in 2019!
Author: Stephen Greenleaf, English Consultant
with the Stratulat Albulescu team