Enescu International Competition Opens Applications Worldwide, Plus Concerts, Masterclasses and More

The competition will take place from August 31 to September 27, 2024, in Bucharest, Romania.

By: Apr. 18, 2024
Enescu International Competition Opens Applications Worldwide, Plus Concerts, Masterclasses and More
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The 2024 edition of the biennial George Enescu International Competition will take place from August 31 to September 27, 2024, in Bucharest, Romania, with four divisions for entrants in Composition, Cello, Violin, and Piano. Now in its 19th edition, this worldwide showcase of young talent is open to participants of all nationalities born after August 1, 1989. Application deadlines are May 10, 2024 for the Cello, Violin and Piano divisions, and June 30, 2024 for Composition entries. In addition to cash prizes, winners will have the opportunity to perform at the next George Enescu International Festival in summer 2025, a global celebration of the great early 20th century Romanian composer that is one of the world’s largest meetings of international orchestras and widely regarded as the nation’s foremost cultural event. This year’s panel of esteemed jurors is led by divisional Jury Presidents David Geringas (Cello), Dmitry Sitkovetsky (Violin), Lylia Zilberstein (Piano) and Zygmunt Krauze(Composition). (A complete juror listing appears below.) Maestro Zubin Mehta serves as Honorary President alongside Enescu Festival Artistic Director Cristian Măcelaru, who will lead masterclasses from September 23-27, 2024. Performances featuring previous competition laureates, jurors and special guests will also be held in tandem with this year’s competition. For the first time, the Competition will provide unprecedented mental well-being sessions for all participants.

The George Enescu International Competition is held in alternating years with the George Enescu International Festival, representing two halves of a key initiative of the Romanian Ministry of Culture. The effort makes a fitting tribute to the great composer, who supported young musicians during his lifetime through scholarships, tours, and prizes. Held for the first time in 1958, the competition has since gained a reputation as a launchpad for exceptional next-generation classical artists. Past winners have included the renowned Romanian pianist Radu Lupu, multi-award-winning composer Sebastian Androne-Nakanishim, rising-star cellist Zlatomir Fung and violinist Nemanja Radulović, an in-demand international soloist. Since 2002, the event has been part of the World Federation of International Music Competitions. In accordance with Federation guidelines, the Enescu Competition is for the first time accepting entrants up to age 35. After adapting its 2020 and 2022 editions for the pandemic, the competition returns this year to its traditional format, with juried events and performances held at the National University of Music Bucharest and the Grand Hall of the Romanian Athenaeum. 

“We are delighted to return to normal in regards to organizing the George Enescu International Competition after two challenging editions,” said Cristina Uruc, Executive Director of the Enescu Competition and Interim Manager of ARTEXIM, the competition’s organizer and an institution under Romania’s Ministry of Culture. “We propose to the Romanian audience that they meet with the most talented young musicians in the world, future stars that we will discover together throughout the three weeks of the Competition.”

To enter the competition, musicians should fill out the entry form on the official website of the George Enescu International Competition. The competition’s pre-selection jury will take place online, based on performance video submitted by competitors. Following pre-selections, selected participants will proceed to the competition’s four stages held in Bucharest. Stages I and II for each division will take place at the National University of Music Bucharest, while the Semifinals and Finals will be held in the Grand Hall of the Romanian Athenaeum.

The prize value to be awarded across the competition’s four divisions totals €125,000. In addition to cash prizes, winners will benefit from national and international promotion and artistic launch through partnerships established by ARTEXIM, with artistic management agencies and orchestras from Romania and abroad. First place winners in each division will have the opportunity to perform alongside world-class orchestras in the 2025 edition of the George Enescu International Festival.

During the competition, participating young artists will engage with fellow musicians from around the world, receiving valuable feedback from jurors and artist managers. In a new feature this year, musicians who pass the pre-selection stage and advance to the live rounds in Bucharest will be offered complimentary well-being sessions geared to the demands of high-level musicianship, comprising guidance on career development and healthy lifestyle choices, as well as community support and physical and mental health resources.

“Beyond the awards and opportunities offered by the Enescu Competition, I believe the journey that a young musician goes through when deciding to participate in this competition is very important,” said Cristian Măcelaru, Artistic Director of the Festival and International George Enescu Competition. “Even if in the end we will have only three winning instrumentalists and two composers, I think all those enrolled will gain something from this experience. Now they will get acquainted with Enescu’s music, have the opportunity to perform on the stage of the Romanian Athenaeum, and will be able to discover the audience from Bucharest.”

In conjunction with the competition, Măcelaru will lead one of this year’s new additions to the Enescu experience: a Masterclass of conducting interpretation, instrumental interpretation, and furthering the study of music. Held at the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest from September 23-27, the masterclass includes workshops designed for young musicians specializing in conducting, violin, cello, or piano. Six musicians will be selected as active participants in the class, while a limited number of others will also given access to attend as passive participants. Registration for those applying to be active participants runs through June 7. For passive participants, the deadline is June 30. Complete rules, schedule, and application link can be found at: https://concurs.festivalenescu.ro/conducting-masterclass-with-cristian-macelaru/.

Other events held during the 2024 George Enescu International Competition will include concerts and recitals featuring laureates from previous editions, members of the jury, and special guests. The competition opens at the Romanian Athenaeum on August 31, 2024 with a Gala Concert performed by the National Radio Orchestra. A performance of Paul Constantinescu’s triple concerto for violin, cello, piano, and orchestra will feature Luxembourgish cellist Benjamin Kruithof, Romanian-born violinist Maria Marica and Israeli pianist Alexandra Segal.


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