Ars Nova

The Cluj based Ars Nova Ensemble was founded in 1968 by renowned composer Cornel Ţăranu and became, in the totalitarian years, an “alternative institution” that promoted creativity, both Romanian and universal. As the liberty of expression was gradually restricted between 1971-89, Ars Nova miraculously succeeded in maintaining its high level of repertoire, the most representative works from the 20th century. In an era of censorship and ideological obscurantism, the Ars Nova concerts in Cluj were small oases of liberty, the ensemble regularly playing works by composers such as Stravinsky, Ravel, Schonberg, Enescu, Bartok, Berg, Webern, Varese, Berio, Cage, Xenakis, Stockhausen, Boulez, Nono, Bussotti, Stroe, Kagel, Ligeti or. Gorecki and many others.

This ensemble was created based on the model of Ars Nova from Paris, where Cornel Ţăranu had a chance to complete his studies between 1966 and 1967 with Olivier Messiaen and Nadia Boulanger. It can be considered for Cluj as a pioneer and an impulse for other interpreters to establish contemporary music groups, such as „The Percussion Ensemble”, founded and led successfully to date by Grigore Pop.

In its over 40 years of existence, Ars Nova gave over 200 world premieres of works by Romanian and foreign composers and participated in the most prestigious new music festivals in Romania, such as the Cluj Musical Autumn Festival (“Toamna Muzicală Clujeană”), the George Enescu Festival and the International New Music Week (Bucharest). The ensemble has toured all over Europe and gave numerous concerts and recorded music in cities such as London, Paris, Bruxelles, Berlin, Mannheim, Passau, München, Vienna, Bremen, Warsaw, Zagreb, Budapest, etc. Ars Nova recorded manu CDs at Electrecord (Bucharest) and Attacca (Amsterdam), as well as with the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Company.

Ars Nova members are elite musicians, either professors at the Gheorghe Dima Music Academy in Cluj, or members of the Transilvania State Philharmonic Orchestra. The ensemble has very often realised challenging interdisciplinary avangarde shows – chamber operas, instrumental theatre, electronic or multimedia concerts, dance, theater or poetry projects, working with famous performers such as the French saxophonist Daniel Kientzy.

A constant feature of the ensemble and its leader is also a blending of generations; the founding members are: Agneta Kriza (soprano), Ion Budoiu (baritone) Alexandru Poduţiu (flute), Szövérdi Marton (oboe), Ioan Goilă (clarinet), Gabriel Simon (bassoon), Ion Olteanu (horn), Gheorghe Muşat (trumpet), Gheorghe Lungu (trombone), Grigore Pop, Adriana Chisu (percussion), Gregory Botár (violin I), Reinfeld Peter, Vasile Curta (violin II), Ioan Santa, Olimpiu Moldovan (viola), Török Béla (cello), Oana Caius (bass), Harald Enghiurliu (piano); some of the newer members: Ortenszky Gyula (cello), Adrian Filipescu (bass), Codruţa Ghenceanu (piano) Lavinia Cherecheş (soprano), Iulia Merca (mezzo-soprano), Marius Budoiu (tenor), Vasile Toda (bassoon), Alexandru Marc (horn), Mircea Neamt (trombone); soloists: Gheorge Roşu (bass), Anton Tauf (reciter), Aurel Marc (oboe), Gavril Costea (flute). (sources here and here)