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.