The George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra, previously known as the Romanian Philharmonic Society, is turning 145 today. The most famous musical institution in Romania, the Philharmonic Society was then conducted by Eduard Wachmann, who aimed to create a permanent symphonic orchestra in order to promote musical culture and to popularise classical music masterpieces.
Under the baton of its initiator, the Romanian Philharmonic Society held its first concert on December 15 of the same year.
When the Palace of the Romanian Athenaeum was inaugurated, on March 5, 1889, concerts began to be held in this hall and the Romanian Athenaeum became the headquarters of the Philharmonic.
Wachmann managed the institution until 1907, being followed by Dimitrie Dinicu (1868-1936) and George Georgescu (1887-1964), one of the most remarkable Romanian conductors, who studied with Arthur Nikisch.
Under Georgescu’s tenures (1920-1944; 1954-1964), the stock became modern, and the Philharmonic Orchestra entered the international music world.
It was during that time that the orchestra staged its first tour abroad and invited great inter-war musical personalities such as Jacques Thibaud, Pablo Casals, Igor Stravinski, Enrico Mainardi, Alfred Cortot, Maurice Ravel, Richard Strauss, Yehudi Menuhin, and Herbert von Karajan to come and perform in Romania.
After the war, the institution extended its activity, under the direction of Constantin Silvestri and George Georgescu: an academic choir was established as well as various chamber ensembles (from orchestra to piano trio).
George Georgescu also conducted the Philharmonic Orchestra in the memorable concerts held in the first editions of the George Enescu International Festival. After the death of George Enescu in 1955, the Philharmonic was awarded his name. The institution was subsequently managed by Constantin Silvestri, Mircea Basarab, Dumitru Capoianu, Ion Voicu, Mihai Brediceanu.
The Big Hall of the Athenaeum hosts about 400 concerts a year, staged by symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles and the Philharmonic Choir (founded in 1950).
The quality of the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra has been displayed in concerts staged at the Athenaeum under the baton of great masters, as well as in major tours in Europe – Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal – and in Asia – South Korea, Singapore, Japan.
Besides staging chamber and symphonic concerts, the Philharmonic Orchestra has recorded dozens of LPs and CDs and toured Europe, Asia and the Far East for highly-acclaimed concerts that won it a well-deserved name.
In 2010, the George Enescu Philharmonic Foundation was set up aimed at supporting, promoting and integrating the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra in the international art circuit, creating and sustaining artistic events with the participation of prominent personalities of the world’s musical stages.
Being a continuator of the Romanian Philharmonic Society, the George Enescu Philharmonic Foundation wants to continue a tradition of excellence in music and also to recover and advance an artistic climate of high critical acclaim.