George Enescu International Festival and Competition was established in 1958 as a sign of recognition towards its genius, to comemorate the life and creation of the great Romanian composer. The official opening day of the festival took place on September 4th 1958, merely three years after George Enescu’s passing, thus marking the official debut of the most important international musical manifestation hosted by Romania. The festival was meant to occur once every three years, being accompanied by an international competition, that was interrupted after the 5th edition, only to be reintroduced in the festival in 1991.
The first editions of the Festival and Competition reunited important names on the international music stage, including Lord Yehudi Menuhin, David Oistrach, Sviatoslav Richter, Herbert von Karajan and many others, who contributed by growing the reputation of this Eastern Europe event. The political rulers at the time understood that by organizing the Festival, a metaphorical image of the communist era would have been created, image that proved to be untrue.
After its first editions, which enjoyed a vast international participation, the communist propaganda decreased the allotted funds, which led to the cessation of the Competition (1971) and diminishing the importance of the performances organized in the frame of the Festival. This was reduced to an event with national, or mostly regional participation. After 1989, the Festival was back on its normal course, trying to regain the reputation which it lost in the last 20 years.
For the complete history of the Festival, please access the our History section on the George Enescu Festival website.
Romanian Cultural Brand
George Enescu Festival has become the best public and cultural diplomacy instrument of Romania, as well as an economic development instrument, through tourism. Promoting a strategic and unitary vision, for harnessing these opportunities, with governmental and private support, may bring Romania indisputable benefits, on a political, economic, cultural and image level. Starting with 2013, the Festival extended towards the public space, through an unique concept which involved outdoor arts exhibitions inspired by George Enescu’s values, along with the Festival, thus assuming the responsibility in generating society changes through the creative act: Creative Bucharest.
The Festival created positive reach in the international press. In 2013, there were communication campaigns on CNN and EURONEWS, some of the most relevant publications for music lovers published favorable articles: BBC Music compared the Enescu Festival with the famous BBC Proms Festival, Opera Now, Rolling Stone Japan, Gramophone (which founded the equivalent awards of the Oscars in the music world). Mezzo will broadcast Festival concerts, along with other foreign television channels. On an internal level, the huge popularity of the Festival represents a real asset in building a national image and consolidating the trust of the Romanians in their national values (cultural country brand).
Being one of the most important international cultural events organized in Romania, the “George Enescu” International Festival attracts around 20.000 foreign tourists to Bucharest and has a media coverage which varies from renowned television channels – CNN, Euronews-, to BBC and remarkable foreign daily publications and specialty publications (The Guardian, Gramophone), to the top of national mass-media. Considered as a true cultural country brand, the Festival carries on the values which George Enescu believed in: creativity, generosity and commitment.
The Festival is always connected to new technologies – live international broadcasts, modern and updated website, www.festivalenescu.ro, and has a social media coverage which includes a Facebook page with over 72.000 fans (May 2019), as well as accounts on Instagram and Twitter.