Horațiu Rădulescu

Horatiu Radulescu was born in Bucharest on January 7 1942. He studied the violin privately with Nina Alexandrescu, a pupil of Enescu, and later studied composition at the Bucharest Academy of Music (MA 1969), where his teachers included Stefan Niculescu, Tiberiu Olah and Aurel Stroë, some of the leading figures of the newly emerging avant garde. Upon graduation in 1969 Radulescu left Romania for the west, and settled in Paris, becoming a French citizen in 1974. He returned to Romania thereafter several times for visits, beginning in 1991 when he directed a performance of his Iubiri, the first public performance of any of his mature works in his native country. (Radulescu nonetheless commented that in the interim he had dedicated many of his works to a “virtual and sublimated” Romania) (Radulescu, cited in Krafft 2001, 47).

One of the first works to be completed in Paris (though the concept had come to him in Romania) was Credo for nine cellos, the first work to employ his spectral techniques. This technique “comprises variable distribution of the spectral energy, synthesis of the global sound sources, micro- and macro-form as sound-process, four simultaneous layers of perception and of speed, and spectral scordaturae, i.e. rows of unequal intervals corresponding to harmonic scales” (Radulescu 1993). These techniques were developed considerably in his music of subsequent decades. In the early 1970s he attended classes given by Cage, Ligeti, Stockhausen, and Xenakis at the Darmstadt Summer Courses, and by Ferrari and Kagel in Cologne. He presented his own music in Messiaen’s classes at the Paris Conservatoire in 1972-73; Radulescu recalled that while Messiaen himself was sympathetic, later calling him “one of the most original young musicians of our time” (Radulescu 199), some of the students were more reticent, not understanding his music’s “colourful, dreamy, mystical” inclinations (Radulescu cited in Krafft 2001, 48).

Beginning in the early 1970s Radulescu’s works began to be performed at the leading contemporary music festivals, including Gaudeamus (Taaroa, 1971; in ko ‘tro – mioritic space, 1972), Darmstadt (Flood for the Eternal’s Origins, 1972), Royan (fountains of my sky, 1973; Lamento di Gesù, 1975), Metz (Wild Incantesimo for nine orchestras, 1978; Byzantine Prayer, 1988) and Donaueschingen. From 1979 to 1981 he studied computer-assisted composition and psycho-acoustics at IRCAM, although his work makes relatively little use of electronic means of sound production. In 1983 he founded the ensemble European Lucero in Paris to perform own his works, a variable ensemble consisting of soloists specialising in the techniques required for his music. In 1991 he founded the Lucero Festival.

In the mid-1980s Radulescu was based in Freiburg in Germany, though for many years he retained an address in Versailles. In 1988 he lived in Berlin on a DAAD fellowship, and in 1989-90 he was resident in San Francisco and Venice as a laureate of the Villa Médici hors les murs scholarship. In the mid-1990s he moved to Switzerland, living first in Clarens and later in Vevey. He died in Paris on September 25, 2008.

From his earliest works Radulescu’s musical concepts, and the techniques he invented to realise them, were unconventional. For his final exams in Bucharest he composed the orchestral work Taaroa, named after the Polynesian god; this displeased his teachers, who found the idea mystical and even imperialist; only the composer Anatol Vieru supported him. Radulescu’s spectral techniques, as they evolved through the 1970s and beyond, are quite distinct from those of his French contemporaries Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail. His compositional aim, as outlined in his book Sound Plasma (1975) was to bypass the historical categories of monody, polyphony and heterophony and to create musical textures with all elements in a constant flux. Central to this was an exploration of the harmonic spectrum, and by the invention of new playing techniques to bring out, and sometimes to isolate, the upper partials of complex sounds, on which new spectra could be built. The harmonic relationships in his music are based on these spectra and on the phenomena of sum and difference tones. The opening sonority of his fourth string quartet (1976-87), for example, is based on partials 21, 22 and 43 of a low C fundamental; this is an example of what Radulescu referred to as “self-generating functions” in his music, as partials 21 and 22 give in sum 43 and in difference 1, the fundamental. (On a C fundamental, partials 21, 22 and 43 are all different, microtonally distinct kinds of F, the 21st partial being 29 cents lower than tempered F, partial 22 being 51 cents higher and partial 43 12 cents higher.) Much of his music for strings makes use of a “spectral scordatura”, where the open strings are retuned, often to simulations of the partials of a single harmonic spectrum – for example in his Lux Animae (1996/2000), for solo cello or viola, the open strings are retuned to the 3rd, 4th, 7th and 11th partials of a low E.

Many of Radulescu’s later works derive their poetic inspiration from the Tao te ching of Lao-tzu, especially in the 1988 English version by Stephen Mitchell: the titles of his second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth piano sonatas, and of the fifth and sixth string quartets, are taken from this source. The piano sonatas, as well as his Piano Concerto The Quest (1996) and other later works, make use of folk melodies from his native Romania, integrating these with his spectral techniques.

MUSIC: Dizzy Divinity

Iancu Dumitrescu

Iancu Dumitrescu (born 15 July 1944 in Sibiu, Romania) is a Romanian avant-garde composer.

Dumitrescu received a master’s degree in composition in Bucharest; Alfred Mendelssohn was among his teachers. Later, he studied conducting and philosophy with Sergiu Celibidache; Celibidache led Dumitrescu to an engagement with the philosophy of Edmund Husserl and an effort to apply the principles of phenomenology to music.[1]

He began composing his mature works in the early 1970s. In 1976 he founded the Hyperion Ensemble, which he describes as “a multimedia group dedicated to experimental music.” Several of Dumitrescu’s early works for solo contrabass were recorded by the noted avant-garde bassist Fernando Grillo.

Dumitrescu has composed a large body of works for acoustic instruments and ensembles as well as works combining acoustic and electronic sounds and works composed entirely using tape or computer. In its emphasis on long tones that undergo transformations of timbre, Dumitrescu’s music can be loosely grouped with that of Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi and with the spectral music of fellow Romanian Horatiu Radulescu and the French composers of the spectral school.

Dumitrescu describes his music as “acousmatic” but disclaims a relationship with the Acousmatic music of French musique concrete pioneer Pierre Schaeffer. He accepts the “spectralist” label, though he distinguishes his work from some others in the spectral school in that it is not serial. “I think of myself as a spectralist, but in completely different way from the French.”[2]

Dumitrescu is married to fellow composer Ana-Maria Avram (born 1961); they have more than 20 joint CD releases on their Edition Modern label. Recordings of Dumitrescu’s works have also been released by Edition RZ, ReR Megacorp, Generations Unlimited, and other record labels. He is represented by Editions Salabert.

Costin Miereanu

Composer Costin Miereanu studied from 1960 to 1966 at the Music Academy of Bucharest with Alfred Mendelsohn, Dan Constantinescu, and Lazar Octavian Cosma, and later at the École des Hautes Études et Sciences Sociales, at the Schola Cantorum, and at the University of Paris VIII, where he was awarded first prizes in writing, analysis, music history, esthetics, orchestration, and composition) and earned a Doctor of Letters and a Doctor of Musical Semiotics. Between 1967 and 1969 he was a student of Karlheinz Stockhausen, György Ligeti, and Ehrhard Karkoschka at the Internationale Ferienkurse für neue Musik in Darmstadt (Cosma 2001). In 1977 he became a French citizen. Since 1981 he has been Professor of Philosophy, Aesthetics, and the Science of Art at the Sorbonne.
Miereanu evolved his compositional style featuring a sensuous sonic fabric by combining of Satie’s techniques with an abstraction of Romanian traditional music (Cosma 2001). Many of his complex and often virtuoso works include visual components. Miereanu has composed aleatoric works and works in the style of Musique concrète for orchester and chamber orchestra, often with the employment of tape-recording equipment, as well as works for the theatre. He was awarded the prize of the European Cultural Foundation 1967, the Prix Enescu (1974), and the Prix de la Partition Pédagogique of the French Composers’ Association (SACEM).

MUSIC: L’ombre double

Corneliu Cezar

Corneliu Cezar became remarkable after 1960 (breaking out from the proletarian cult).He was a fore runner of post-modernism in Romanian context. He is now considered rather a visionary of music than a producer of acoustic masterpieces. In the ‘60 he sustained and prophesied a new musical direction rediscovering the natural resonance of the sound within a different historical context – the idea of spectral music was going to materialize itself in Romanian tradition. After 1980 the artistic phenomena has no longer interested him. He took more distance of the ideal of skill, originality and aesthetic refinement accomplishment. After 1970 Cezar fought for the cause of recovering “the state of rendition” in music (musical expressiveness) and the composing manner he called “the organ of styles” – polistylism. Cezar imposed the theory of sonology – as means of applying music therapy. (Cristina Uruc)


Doina Rotaru

I’ve used structural principles of symbolic values and functions –like circular or spiral shapes, sacred numbers and so on. The symbol becomes an idea of composition, and this idea generates the structures, the musical time , the syntax, the architecture and the expressions of the work. I’ve also used elements from ancient Romanian folklore, where almost every sound is enriched with ornaments, glissandi, micro-tones, overtones and , of course, heterophony. The expression of Romanian ancient folk music is very nostalgic, creating a melancholic atmosphere and the feeling of a painful beauty (Doina Rotaru)

Born in 1951, Romanian composer Doina Rotaru has a B.A. and a M.A in composition at the National University of Music in Bucharest. She studied here between 1970 and 1975 with – among others – Tiberiu Olah. Since 1996 she has been a professor of composition and, since 2008, the head of the composition department at the same University. In 1991 she obtained a scholarship in Holland (Amsterdam) where she studied with Theo Loevendie.

She has written so far over 100 works that cover almost every musical genre: from solo, chamber, choral to orchestral works, from works that mix instrumental with electronic music to theater music.

Her music has been performed in many concerts and festivals all over the world : Europe, Far-East, Australia, Canada and South-America. – some of these being “author concerts”. Some of Doina Rotaru’s works have been commissioned by Radio France, Radio Graz, Suntory Hall Tokyo, French Ministry of Culture, Stockholm Saxophone Quartet, Warsaw Autumn,  ensembles and soloists from France, Germany, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Switzerland.

Doina Rotaru was awarded prizes by the Romanian Academy (Bucharest,1996) and the Union of Romanian Composers and Musicologists (UCRM, Bucharest, 1981, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1997, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2011). For her 2nd Symphony, she won in 1994 the first prize at the Gedok – Mannheim International Competition (Germany).

She was invited as a lecturer about her music in Germany (Darmstadt, Summer Courses for New Music – 1992, 1994), Holland (Amsterdam, Gaudeamus International Composers’ Workshop – 1990,1992 ), England ( Huddersfield University – 1995, Brighton – 1995), Japan (Tokyo Suntory Hall – 1998, 2001) and Iceland (Skalholt, 2006).

Doina Rotaru has been invited to take part in international juries for composition competition in France (Paris, 2002, 2006), Slovenia (Ljublijana, 2004) and Romania (Bucharest, 2006).

Since 1998 she also has a PhD in Musicology at N.U.M.B., with the work “Contemporary composers and archaic traditions”. Her teaching career has led to the writing of two school books, in collaboration with fellow professor Liviu Comes: “Counterpoint School Book for Music Highschools” (Ed. Didactica, 1977) and “Vocal and Instrumental Counterpoint Treatise ” (Ed. Muzicala, 1987).

She has made so far over 50 radio and television transmissions.

In 1998 she was the Artistic Director of the “Contemporary Music Week” festival in Bucharest.

Her works are published by the Musical Publishing House (Editura Muzicala) in Bucharest , Leduc and H.Lemoine, Paris.

Official website, here.

SoundCloud account, here.

MUSIC on internet: L’ange avec une seule aile“Spirit of Elements” – 3rd Symphony (I)“Spirit of Elements” – 3rd Symphony (II)Japanese Garden

Călin Ioachimescu

Born in 1949 in Bucharest, Calin Ioachimescu studied composition at the city’s National University of Music in the class of Stefan Niculescu. He participated in the Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt (1980, 1984) and computer music courses at I.R.C.A.M. in Paris (1985).  He was founder and director of the electroacoustic music studio of the Romanian Composer’s Union (1991-2010).Currently he works as a sound producer at the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Company.

Among his numerous compositional prizes are the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis in Darmstadt (1984), the Romanian Composers’ Union Award (1979,1982,1988,1992, 1995, 1999, 2002 and 2008)) and the Romanian Academy Award. Ioachimescu’s interests as a composer focus on the inner structure of sound, analysed with the use of modern technology. He uses computers not only as a tool of algorithmic compositions, but also for digital processing of real sound sources. The identity of traditional instruments is changed by emphasising or blurring their specific sound colour. Based on the harmonic series, his music is characterised by consonance and vitality. Filtering, colour modulation, pitch and noise mixing are not restricted to musicfortape. Electroacoustic and psycho-acoustic principles determine both the digital and analogue world and are to be found in many of Ioachimescu’s works.

Selected works: Tempo-80 for orchestra (1979), Concerto for trombone, doubblebass and orchestra (1986), Concerto for saxophone and orchestra (1994), Concerto for violoncello and orchestra (2002), Concerto for flute and orchestra (2012), 2 string quartetts (1974, 1984), Palindrom/7 (1992), works for tape and live electronics: Oratio-II for winds, percution and live electronics (1982), Spectral Music for saxophone and tape (1985), Celliphonia for violoncello and tape (1988), Les éclats de l’abîme for doubblebass saxophone and tape (1998), hep-taGRaMa (1998), Saxtraces for sopranino saxophone, tape,and live electronic (2004), Digital birds-computer music (2010),  film music.

MUSIC: Oratio II

Dan Dediu

Dan Dediu (b. March 16, 1967, Braila) is a Romanian composer of mostly stage, orchestral, chamber, choral, vocal, and piano works that have been performed throughout Europe and elsewhere.
Dediu graduated in composition at the Academy of Music in Bucharest in 1989, where he studied with Stefan Niculescu, Dan Constantinescu, Dan Buciu, and Octavian Nemescu. He later attended post-graduate courses with Francis Burt, Günter Kahowez and Wilhelm Zobl at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna in 1990-91, as well as the annual Cursus de Composition et Informatique Musicale at IRCAM in 1994. He earned his PhD at the National University of Music in Bucharest in 1995.
Among his many honors are First prizes in the National Composers Competition in Cluj-Napoca (1986, 1988), the Brass Chamber Music Competition in Budapest-Barcs (1990) and the Premier Concours pour Orchestre Françaises de Flűtes (2000, for Spaima).
He earned Second Prize in the Ludwigshafen am Rhein Competition (1991, for 3/2) and Third prizes in the Mozart 1991 (1991, for Motto-Studien) and Carl Maria von Weber (1991, for String Quartet No. 3) competitions.
Other honors include the George Enescu Prize in the George Enescu Competition in Bucharest (1991, for Symphony No. 1) and the Music Prize of the Romanian Academy (1991, for String Quartet No. 3). From the Romanian Composers Union, he earned the Prize for Chamber Music (1992, for Hörner-Stimmen aus einem unbekannten Requiem), the Prize for Symphonic Music (1995, for HYPERKARDIA), the prizes for opera (Post-Fiction) and musicology (with his wife, Valentina Sandu-Dediu) (1998), and the Prize for Choral Music (1999, for Stabat Mater).
Lastly, he earned the Prize for EXPO 2000 in Hannover from the Romanian Development Agency (2000), the Prize of the Galliard Ensemble International Composers Competition in London (2000), the Neuköllner Opernpreis in Berlin (2002), and the Prometheus-Opera Prima, a Romanian cultural award (2002).
He has earned scholarships from the Alfred-Töpfer-Stiftung (1990, Hamburg), the Alban-Berg-Stiftung (1991, Vienna), fellowships from New Europe College (1997-98, Bucharest), the Wissenschaftskolleg (1998, Berlin), the Zuger Kulturstiftung Landis und Gyr (2002, Berlin) and the one year residency of Villa Concordia Bamberg (2005-6). In 2000, his music was heard at the ISCM World Music Days in Luxembourg.
In addition to his work as a composer, he served as artistic director of the International Week of New Music Festival in Bucharest in 1999, 2001, 2007, 2008.
He was a guest lecturer at Queen´s University of Belfast in 1994. Since 1999, he has been an associate professor of composition at the National University of Music in Bucharest and since 2000, has led its composition department. In the present he is the rector of the National University of Music, Bucharest.
Éditions Lucian Badian (Ottawa), Editura Muzicala (Bucharest) and Peer Music publish his works.

Official website here.

MUSIC on Internet: Grana (I), Grana (II)Apfelwurmer, Dragon (from A Mythological Bestiary), Hippogriffin (from A Mythological Bestiary)


Liviu Dănceanu

Liviu Danceanu was born in 1954 in Roman, Romania, Graduate of National University of Music in Bucharest (1980), chair composition, under Stefan Niculescu. Further studies at the above mentioned University (1980-1981). He attended the courses of the International Seminar on composition in Kasimiersz-Dolni (1984), where he studied with Iannis Xenakis. He made documentation journeys to Paris, London, Prague, Tallin, Warsaw, Moscow. Founder and artistic director of ARCHEUS Ensemble, with which he has participated in important international musical reunions. He conducted more than 500 concerts in Romania, Moldavia, Italy, Spain, Germany, England, Ireland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, U.S.A, Korea, Finland, France, Austria, Hungary, Ukraine, Albania, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, Bulgaria, Serbia. Artistic Director of the Contemporary Music Days in Bacau (since 1992), and The New Music Week in Bucharest (1992-1996 and 2001-2002). President of ISCM Romanian Department (1991-1994). He teaches history of music and composition at the National University of Music in Bucharest. He gave lectures at Hochschule fur Musik in Munchen and Detmold abteilung Munster, the Experimental Music Centre of University of Music in Carbondale, Conservatoires of Dijon, Alcoi, Lyon, Centre for Contemporary Music “Pomerigi di Musica Nuova” Torino, Union of Composers in Moscow. He has made numerous Radio and Television programmes, both in Romania and abroad, and has won many awards such as the “Studium de Toulouse Prize” (1986), the ATM Prize (1987), the UCMR Prize (1988, 1990, 1994, 2000, 2004, 2006), Romanian Academy Prize ( 1988), ACIN Prize (music for film, 1988), SOROS Prize (1997) etc. His works have been recorded (LP, CD, Audio Cassettes) in Romania, France, Spain, Italy, Holland, U.S.A, Germany. He has published studies , essays, articles, musical chronicles, interviews, in various Rumanian and foreign magazines. Works have been commissioned to him by festivals, associations and performers like: Antidogma Musica (Torino), Musica Nova (Alicante), ENSEMS (Valencia), Ofician Musical (Porto), Trieste Prima, Musique en Scene (Lyon), Composers Concordance (New York), DePaul University (Chicago), Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Concorde (Dublin). Doctor in Musicology at University of Music in Bucharest.

Official website here.

MUSIC on Internet: Glass Music

Octavian Nemescu

Octavian Nemescu was born in 1940, in Pascani (Romania). He studied composition with Mihail Jora at the Conservatory of Music in Bucharest, between 1956-63. Later he participated to the International Summer Master Classes in Darmstadt (Germany). He obtained the PhD in musicology in 1978, at the Conservatory in Cluj, under the guidance of Sigismund Toduta. The title of his doctoral thesis was: “The semantic capacities of music”, later to be published as a book, at Editura Muzicala Publishing House, Bucharest, 1983.

He was assistant and next lecturer at Brasov University (School of Music) between 1970-1978. Afterward he was a teacher at the Music High School in Bucharest (1978-1990).

Following 1990 he became professor at the National University of Music in Bucharest, teaching composition and tutoring postgraduate students at PhD level.
Through many years, from his youth, he contributed decisively to the development of the avant-garde in Romanian music. He is representing the second and last generation of its kind (the generation of the 70′s), which launched a new avant-garde, who has as main goal not the negation of the tradition (as previous generation did) but the recovery of the origins, of the PRIMORDIALITY existent at the fundament of all musical traditions, in the spirit of a innovative recovery and with the desire of coming to a new artistic universality. This generation may be considered also as the first one to have an aspiration of postmodern character.

Octavian Nemescu and his colleagues launched the spectral current in Romanian music (Illuminations for orchestra, 1967), with an orientation towards the usage of the “ison” (drone). This current was animated by Corneliu Cezar, since 1965. Another current launched by Nemescu and his colleagues was the archetypal one (Concentric, 1969), based on the aesthetics of essentialisation. Alongside Corneliu Dan Georgescu, Nemescu studied, theorized and used the archetypal ideas applied to music.

MUSIC on internet: Cercles Combinations (I), Cercles Combinations (II)Secula-seculorum

Aurel Stroe

Aurel Stroe (b. 1932,Bucharest – d. 2008,Mannheim) studied at the National University of Music in Bucharest with, among others, Mihail Andricu, Marţian Negrea, Theodor Rogalski. He attended the Darmstadt courses (1966-69) and, at the invitation of the Government of the USA, visited several American universities (1968) in order to learn more about computer assisted music. He was resident composer in West Berlin (DAAD) between 1972-1973. He taught orchestration and composition at the Bucharest University, as well as several others (the Unversity of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Strasbourg) and at summer courses such as Darmstadt (1986-92) or Buşteni. Since 1986 he had lived in Mannheim. Aurel Stroe’s main interest was morphogenetic music and he developed compositions with several tuning systems regarded as incommensurable cultural paradigms.


He has lectured, and published essays in scientific papers in Romania and abroad (France, Austria, Germany), radio and television.

He published studies, essays, articles, interviews: Music, Twentieth Century, Contemporary, Literary Romania, Tribune (Cluj), Music News, etc.

MUSIC: Clarinet Concerto