The 23rd edition of the “Sighisoara Academy,” the first Romanian-Swiss school festival for young musicians and the only of its kind in Romania, debuted on Monday evening with an “Enescu and Switzerland” concert devoted to the Swiss National Day; the entire event is organized by the Berne-based Association “Cultura Viva Sighisoara” and the “Gheorghe Dima” Music Academy in Cluj Napoca, in partnership with the Sighisoara City Hall.
In the beginning, the attendance in the concert venue – the Baroque Hall of the Sighisoara Municipality – observed a moment of silence in memory of Queen Anne of Romania, who died on August 1 in a hospital in Switzerland. “We have reason to believe that certain things are related to destiny, when such strong ties are created between countries like Romania and Switzerland. I suggest that we observe a moment of silence to think about this and a royal couple that has made history and lived Europe’s most heart rendering possible history,” said Romanian-born Swiss violinist Alexandru Gavrilovici, initiator of the Sighisoara Academy.
Pianist Benjamin Engel, the Arcadia Quartet and the Archita Ensemble performed works by Johann Sebastian Bach, George Enescu, Arthur Honegger and Robert Schumann.
“From the discussions we had so far, the idea emerged to present composer George Enescu in his evolution. Born as a many-karat diamond in Moldova, who then honed his skills in Vienna and France to grow into the Great Enescu we know. It’s these steps that we wanted to present in a series of concerts. To see who George Enescu’s study colleagues have been, what music he listened to, who inspired him. The first five concerts were designed precisely from this perspective. The first five concerts this year of the Sighisoara Academy will run under the headline ‘Enescu in Europe’ and will offer the public a musical journey as reflected by the creation of George Enescu and his contemporaries, through Switzerland, Vienna, Paris and Romania,” Alexandru Gavrilovici said.
For 14 days, young musicians from the country and abroad, but the public as well, will be in contact with professors and artists of international fame such as pianists Viniciu Moroianu, Benjamin Engeli and Anton Kernjak, composers Adrian Pop and Roland Moser, violinists Alexandru Gavrilovici, Adelina Oprean and Melinda Béres, cellists Katharina Gohl-Moser and Guillermo Pastrana, the members of the Arcadia Quartet, organist Erich Türk, violinist Vladimir Lakatos, harpist Marie Trottmann, bassist Botond Kostyák, Irina Gavrilovici who holds the canto class, and Angela Schwartz – for the “Alexander Technique” posture classes, and two masters of Baroque music – Chiara Banchini and Tobias Schabenberger.
This year the Sighisoara Academy has 60 students from nine countries participating in 11 masterclasses held by 21 professors from Switzerland, Spain, Austria and Romania.
The beginnings of the “Sighisoara Academy” root in the Sighisoara Summer Music Festival initiated in 1993 by Alexandru Gavrilovici and Swiss flautist Heidi Indermuhle; the Academy has since grown from a class stint for Romanian and Swiss students into an important festival that however preserved its character as a summer school.
Until 2014 the Government of Switzerland provided financial support to the festival every year through the Swiss Embassy in Bucharest and Romania-based companies with Swiss shareholdership, while the Sighisoara City Hall offered support on the Romanian side.
Beginning with the 2014 edition, the organisers managed to access financing worth 250,000 Swiss francs for the “Sighisoara Music Academy” project under the Swiss – Romanian Cooperation Programme, Thematic Partnership and Expert Fund.
Two years ago, the CMUSE music news and entertainment website, provider of the latest news and videos from the world music industry, placed the Sighisoara Academy among the top 20 most interesting musical destinations worldwide.