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ENESCO, Georges  (1881-1955)

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Enesco, Georges (real name, George Enescu), famous Rumanian violinist, conductor, teacher, and composer; b. LiveniVirnav, Aug. 19, 1881; d. Paris, May 4, 1955. He began to play the piano when he was 4, taking lessons with a Gypsy violinist, Nicolas Chioru, and began composing when he was 5; then studied with Caudella in Ia~i. On Aug. 5,1889, he made his formal debut as a violinist in Slánic, Moldavia. In the meantime, he had enrolled in the Cons. of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna (1888), where he studied violin with S. Bachrich, I. Grun, and I. Hellmesberger, Jr.; piano with L. Ernst; harmony, counterpoint, and composition with R. Fuchs; chamber music with J. Hellmesberger, Sr.; and music history with A. Prosnitz, winning 1st prizes in violin and harmony (1892). After his graduation (1894), he entered the Paris Cons., where he studied violin with Marsick and J. White, harmony with Dubois and Thomas, counterpoint with Gedalge, composition with Fauré and Massenet, and early music with Diémer, winning 2nd accessit for counterpoint and fugue (1897) and graduating with the premier prix for violin (1899). At the same time he also studied cello, organ, and piano, attaining more than ordinary proficiency on each. On June 11,1897, he presented in Paris a concert of his works, which attracted the attention of Colonne, who brought out the youthful composer’s op. 1, Poème roumain, the next year. Enesco also launched his conducting career in Bucharest in 1898. In 1902 he 1st appeared as a violinist in Berlin and also organized a piano trio; in 1904 he formed a quartet. On March 8,1903, he conducted the premiere of his 2 Rumanian Rhapsodies in Bucharest, the 1st of which was to become his most celebrated work. He soon was appointed court violinist to the Queen of Rumania. In 1912 he established an annual prize for Rumanian composers, which was subsequently won by Jora, Enacovici, Golestan, Otescu, and others. In 1917 he founded the George Enescu sym. concerts in Ia~i. After the end of World War I, he made major tours as a violinist and conductor; he also taught violin in Paris, where his pupils included Menuhin, Grumiaux, Gitlis, and Ferras. He made his U.S. debut in the triple role of conductor, violinist, and composer with the Philadelphia Orch. in N.Y. on Jan. 2,1923; he returned to conduct the N.Y. Phil. on Jan. 28, 1937. He led several subsequent concerts with it with remarkable success; led it in 14 concerts in 1938, and also appeared twice as a violinist; he conducted 2 concerts at the N.Y. World’s Fair in 1939. The outbreak of World War II found him in Rumania, where he lived on his farm in Sinaia, near Bucharest. He visited N.Y. again in 1946 as a teacher. On Jan. 21,1950, during the 60th anniversary season of his debut as a violinist, he gave a farewell concert with the N.Y. Phil. in the multiple capacity of violinist, pianist, conductor, and composer, in a program comprising Bach’s Double Concerto (with Menuhin), a violin sonata (playing the piano part with Menuhin), and his 1st Rumanian Rhapsody (conducting the orch.). He then returned to Paris, where his last years were marked by near poverty and poor health. In July 1954 he suffered a stroke and remained an invalid for his remaining days.
Although Enesco severed relations with his Communist homeland, the Rumanian government paid homage to him for his varied accomplishments. His native village, a street in Bucharest, and the State Phil. of Bucharest were named in his honor. Periodical Enesco festivals and international performing competitions were established in Bucharest in 1958. Enesco had an extraordinary range of musical interests. His compositions include artistic stylizations of Rumanian folk strains; while his style was neo-Romantic, he made occasional use of experimental devices, such as quarter-tones in his opera, cEdipe. He possessed a fabulous memory and was able to perform innumerable works without scores. He not only distinguished himself as a violinist and conductor, but he was also a fine pianist and a gifted teacher.
WORKS:    OPERA: ~Edipe, op. 23 (1921—31; Opéra, Paris, March 10, 1936). ORCH.: 3 unnumbered syms. (1895, 189&~ 1898); 5 numbered syms.: No. 1, op. 13 (1905; Paris, Jan. 2h~
1906); No. 2, op. 17 (1912-14; Bucharest, March 28, 1915)~ No. 3, op. 21, with Chorus (1916-18; Bucharest, May 25~ 1919; rev. 1921); No. 4 (1934; unfinished); No. 5, witIi~ Tenor and Women’s Chorus (1941; unfinished); Uvertur tragica (1895); Ballade for Violin and Orch. (1896); Uver~ tura triumfald (1896); Violin Concerto (Paris, March 26~ 1896); Fantaisie for Piano and Orch. (1896; Bucharest,i-~ March 26, 1900); Piano Concerto (1897; unfinished); 22~ Suites roumaines: No. 1 (1896; unfinished); No. 2 (1897);~.. Poème roumain, op. 1, with Wordless Chorus (1897; Pans,Ii Feb. 9, 1898); Pastorale for Small Orch. (Paris, FeL 19, 1899); Symphonie concertante for Cello and Orch., op. &7. (1901; Paris, March 14, 1909); 2 Rhapsodies roumaines, op~. 11(1901; Bucharest, March 8,1903); 2 Intermezzi for Strings,Z op. 12 (1902-3); Suite No. 1, op. 9 (1903; Paris, Dec. l1~. 1904); Suite chdtelaine, op. 17 (1911; unfinished); Suite No.7
2, op. 20 (1915; Bucharest, March 27, 1916); Suite No 3 op. 27, Villageoise (1938; N.Y., Feb. 2,1939); ConcertOverture, op. 32, “sur des themes dans le caractère populaire roumam (1948; Washington, D.C., Jan. 23, 1949); 5pm phonte de chum bre for 12 Instruments, op. 33 (1954; Paris, Jan. 23 1955) Vox mans, symphonic poem, op. 31 (c.1929-55; Buchares~ Sept. 10, 1964). CHAMBER: 2 piano quintets: No 1 (1895), No. 2, op. 29 (1940); 3 numbered sonatas for Violin and Piano’ No. 1, op. 2(1897); No.2, op. 6(1899); No.3, “dans le caractere populaire roumain” (1926); 2 sonatas for Cello and Piano’ No. 1, op. 26 (1898); No. 2, op. 26(1935); 2 piano tnos (1897 1916); Aubade for String Trio (1899); Octet for 4 Violins 2
Violas, and 2 Cellos, op. 7 (1900); Dixtuor for Wind Instru-~ ments, op. 14 (1906); Au soir, nocturne for 4 Trumpets (1906); Konzertstuck for Viola and Piano (1906); 2 piano quarteto’ No. 1, op. 16(1909); No. 2, op. 30(1943-44); 2 string quarte No. 1, op. 22(1916-20); No.2, op. 22(1950-53); othercham ~ works. PI~r’~o: Introduzione (1894); Ballade (1894); Praeludiut. -~ (1896); Scherzo (1896); 3 suites: No. 1, op. 3, “dans le style ancien” (1897); No. 2, op. 10 (1901-3); No. 3, op. 18, Pie impnomptues (1913-16); Variations on an Original Theme 2 Pianos, op. 5 (1898); Impromptu (1900); Pièce sur le n de Fauré (1922); 2 sonatas: No. 1, op. 24 (1924); No. 2, op. 24 (1933-35; incorrectly publ. as “No. 3”). voe~i: La Vu’ 2. de Saul, cantata (1895); Ahasverus, cantata (1895); L’Aurort, cantata (1897-98); Waldgesang for Chorus (1898); Cantata for Soprano and Orch. (1899); about 25 songs, many to we by the Queen of Rumania, who wrote poetry in German un ~ the pen name Carmen Sylva.