Out of the Loop? Romanian Minimalism
BIANCA ŢIPLEA TEMEŞ
During the decades in which the communist regime established its rules
and ideologies upon the arts, Romanian composers did everything within
their power to stay tuned into what was happening on the other side of the
Iron Curtain. Scores by many twentieth-century Western composers were
almost impossible to obtain except in the form of secretly hand-copied
materials, as was the case in many other Eastern European countries. Such
determination, however, carried considerable risks with potentially serious
consequences, as censorship had become extremely powerful in the arts. It
was a constant challenge to stay informed about what was happening
culturally in the West, and information was flowing secretly, like an
underground current, to make up for the scarcity of documentation, the
impossibility of travel, of the exchange of ideas and above all, freedom of
Despite this acute isolation, the Romanian school of composition
during the second half of the twentieth century produced, almost out of
nowhere, a golden generation with such notable names as Ștefan Niculescu,
Aurel Stroe, Anatol Vieru, Myriam Marbe, and Octavian Nemescu in
Bucharest, and Cornel Țăranu in Cluj (to name but a few). These composers
achieved recognition abroad for their originality and modernist musical
language. Their inventiveness outsmarted absurd censorship rules at a time
when there was open warfare against modernism or dodecaphony, and
286 Temeş: Out of the Loop?
composers often resorted to all kinds of ingenious subterfuges and musical
codes in order to keep the pace with their Western colleagues (among these
subterfuges was, for instance, hiding the twelfth note of a dodecaphonic
series from the eyes of the censors in a trill!).
Minimalism, however, still did not take root in this country.
Sceptical of its ‘simplistic’ methods, Romanian composers distanced
themselves from it while continuing to absorb other stylistic orientations.
What could be the explanation for this apparent reluctance and rejection?
First of all, we must consider the weight of musical traditions. The
Romanians did not have an established school of composition until the end
of the nineteenth or beginning of the twentieth century (various historical
factors mean that the dates of establishment differ between the three
Romanian provinces). Furthermore, at least two generations of composers
emerged entirely in Enescu’s shadow, our first important composer, who
established the path for the Romanian school of composition more than a
century ago. The Enescu “school” with its “divagations danubiens”286 (as the
French journal Diapason termed his music) of long unfolding melodic lines
and heterophonies was taken as a supreme model.
Even our folk music, renowned for such genres as Hora lungă (Long
Song), Doina, and Ballads has little in common with minimalism, apart from
perhaps employing some “defective” modal scales. Hence, it is evident that
minimalism was not in our musical DNA. With this background, it becomes
clear why Romanian composers, at least to some extent, resisted this trend,
considering it somehow devoid of substance.
Once they became acquainted with it, however, some of these
composers overtly expressed their unfavourable opinions of minimalism.
286 Jean-Charles Hoeffelé, ”Georges Enesco. Symphonie no.2, Symphonie de chambre.
Orchestre philharmonique de Tampere, Hannu Lintu” (record review), Diapason, no. 604
(Summer 2012): p. 93.
A Tribute to György Ligeti in His Native Transylvania 287
Here is one of them: Anatol Vieru, clearly showing his disapproval, stating
that the minimalist composers “insert their hand in a bag of trivialities,
thinking that they extract archetypes, and the outcome is rather poor.”287
Composer and musicologist Irinel Anghel288 distinguishes between
two types of minimalism: the archetypal one, with its symbolic function,
and the one produced by the American school, which, according to her, has
a more commercial aspect and seems, to our less trained ears, more banal.
Suddenly, in speaking about Romanian minimalism, it could seem
that I have no case whatsoever! Yet, after a closer look, things appear quite
different. In the case of the composers Irinel Anghel, Adrian Iorgulescu,289 or
Corneliu Dan Georgescu, they all trace minimalism’s origins in Romania to
archaic musical practices, magical rituals, primitive chants, and children’s
folklore. Even before they became familiar with the minimal trend these
composers considered repetition a way of invoking and attracting the
cosmic forces within ritualistic practices, referencing in this respect Mircea
Eliade’s myth of the eternal return. 290 For our composers a minimalist
discourse was justified only if it emerged in a piece as a result of an
alchemical process of contrition, comminution, or filtration. In other words,
Romanian composers’ contact with this trend was considered legitimate
only if it took the shape of an initiatic process in which they obtained a
sonorous essence as the result of a significant distillation.
Vieru explained that such a piece “is the expression of a chain of
successive simplifications, of polishing actions [...] which ultimately gets to
the seed of an elementary truth”. 291 Minimalism acquires for these
287 Anatol Vieru, Cuvinte despre sunete (Bucharest : Ed. Cartea Românească, 1994), p. 136.
288 Irinel Anghel, Orientări, direcții, curente ale muzicii românești din a doua jumătate a secolului
XX (Bucharest: Ed. Muzicală a U.C.M.R, 1997), p. 33.
289 Adrian Iorgulescu, Timpul și comunicarea muzicală (București: Ed. Muzicală, 1991), p. 308.
290 Anghel, Orientări, direcții, curente ale muzicii românești, p. 36–37.
291 Vieru, Cuvinte despre sunete, p. 136.
288 Temeş: Out of the Loop?
composers a philosophical dimension as austere simplicity is justified and
accepted only if it is a concentration of complexity. Approached from this
angle, minimal art, according to Vieru, cannot be called a style, but rather a
trend of thinking, “a difficult, laborious and painstaking school; being at
hand for anyone, yet not accessible to everyone”.292
We can detect a way of approaching minimal art with prudence and
with a philosophical attitude. Ligeti himself (born in Transylvania and
established in the West), came close to adopting minimalism, even before
getting to know the music of Steve Reich, the American minimalist he most
admired. Therefore in his case, he approached this trend not in imitation of
the American school, but with a high degree of sophistication. I can only
agree with Irinel Anghel who said that
Ligeti flirted with minimalist art, extracting its paradigms
from the Baroque inventory, that is trills, tremolos,
embroideries, diatonic and chromatic micro-scales, bariolages
and so on, in other words melodic embellishments typical of
the features of an era which he absorbed in famous pieces
such as Double Concerto, Continuum for harpsichord etc.293
Clear symptoms of minimal music deriving from folk music already
existed in the 1960s and 1970s in Romanian composition – a time when
American minimalism was still unknown in our country. Composers such
as Mihai Moldovan and Liviu Glodeanu (both born in the region of Cluj), as
well as Corneliu Dan Georgescu often included significant fragments
bearing a clear minimalist hallmark in their scores.
Between 1970 and 1972, Georgescu wrote the opera Model Mioritic
(based on one of the most relevant Romanian folk ballads – Miorița). It
292 Vieru, Cuvinte despre sunete, p. 136.
293 Anghel, Orientări, direcții, curente ale muzicii românești, p. 34.
A Tribute to György Ligeti in His Native Transylvania 289
premiered in Cluj in 1973, and the composer himself classified it as
responding to a sort of “archetypal minimalism” (see Example 1).294
Example 1. Corneliu Dan Georgescu, Model mioritic (1970–1972), opening bars
© Corneliu Dan Georgescu. Reproduced by permission.
According to his description, the music builds exclusively on repetitive
melodic cells of pre-pentatonic and pentatonic substance extracted from the
Romanian folk ballad, employing largely recto tono recitatives superimposed
on an electronic musical background designed also by means of minimal
elements.295 Georgescu hints in this work at an ancestral folkloric dimension
294 Email letter sent by Corneliu Dan Georgescu on October 26, 2017.
295 Email letter sent by Corneliu Dan Georgescu on October 26, 2017.
290 Temeş: Out of the Loop?
and at a mystical one, matching the folk ballad’s interpretation of death as a
Aurel Stroe’s opera Orestia (1973–1977), on the other hand, has
moments of clear minimalism presented as contrasting episodes evoking the
chorus of Ancient Greek tragedy. For almost fifteen minutes in “Les
Choéphores”, the instruments maintain a dominant 7th chord on top of
which the baritone soloist sings the same pitches in a loop (see Example 2).
The same solution is adopted in the movement called “Procession”, thereby
providing a static expressive moment.
Example 2. Aurel Stroe, Orestia II. Les Choéphores (Arioso), bb. 1–8
© Editura Muzicală, Bucharest, 1984. Reproduced by permission.
A Tribute to György Ligeti in His Native Transylvania 291
Children’s folklore was one of the sources of inspiration which
seemed closest to the minimalist vocabulary. Composers were not the only
ones paying attention to this, but researchers too. In 1954, Costantin Brăiloiu
delivered a paper in Belgium, at an Ethnomusicology Congress (Colloques
de Wégimont). He presented a topic related to rhythm in children’s folklore,
the text of which was later published in the collection edited by Emilia
Comișel.296 Other researchers went on to study this music, among them
George Breazul (who was collecting such pieces), Emilia Comișel, and
Gisela Sulițeanu. Perhaps their activity also had an impact on our
composers, because the musical repertoire was enriched significantly by
pieces inspired by children’s folklore.
Even situated on both sides of the Iron Curtain and having recourse
to different sources of inspiration, the musical outcome of what was
happening in the East and West was quite similar. Was there something in
the air which favoured this type of musical language?
In the case of Glodeanu’s Suite for winds, percussion, and children’s
choir (see Example 3), the instrumental introduction might surprise the
listener by its clear resemblance to George Antheil’s Ballet méchanique.
Meanwhile, children’s folklore, comprising rituals of calling or chasing
away natural phenomena, counting games or nursery rhymes, inspired
Glodeanu to write a second piece, called Sabaracalina (see Example 4).
296 Constantin Brăiloiu, Ritmul copiilor (”Le rythme enfantine: notions liminaires”), Colloques
de Wégimont 1954–1955 (Paris-Bruxelles: Ed. Elsevier, 1956), in Constantin Brăiloiu, Opere, vol.
I, critical edition by Emilia Comișel (Bucharest, Ed. Muzicală, 1968), pp. 121–71.
292 Temeş: Out of the Loop?
Example 3. Liviu Glodeanu, Suita I (Stai, ploaie călătoare), bb. 1–3
© Editura Muzicală, Bucharest, 1964. Reproduced by permission.
A Tribute to György Ligeti in His Native Transylvania 293
Example 4. Liviu Glodeanu, Sabaracalina (Am-Bam-Bus)/1972, bb. 1–12
© Editura Muzicală, Bucharest, 1972. Reproduced by permission.
294 Temeş: Out of the Loop?
Listening to this music written in 1972 and that of Ligeti from Sippal,
dobbal, nádihegedüvel – Szajkó, composed in 2000, one is struck again by their
similar sonorities. The title of Ligeti’s cycle itself, according to the composer,
is in fact a line from a Hungarian children’s verse (a kind of counting
rhyme), which dates back to the time of the Turkish occupation of
Hungary.297 Apparently, people from different countries and traditions had
– almost simultaneously – the same intuitions and innovative ideas
regarding music in the ’70s.
Other composers who proved later on to be interested in such music
include Mihai Mitrea Celarianu, Eduard Terényi, Hans-Peter Türk, Sorin
Lerescu, and Mihnea Brumaru. They did not fully embrace this type of
composition technique, yet employed it on a small scale in their scores in
order to emphasize some expressive contrasts.
There is a huge difference regarding the interest in minimalist music
between Romania and our neighbouring country to the West, Hungary.
There, minimalism was adopted first by the workshop of the so-called New
Music Studio Budapest, in whose concerts American music was performed.
Steve Reich himself was invited to Hungary and some of his pieces were
premiered and performed in Budapest. Also key are the members of the
Group 180, who performed American minimalist repertoire by Reich and
Philip Glass, among others, while the concerts of the Amadinda Percussion
Group also contributed immensely to the quick spread of minimalism in
Hungary at a time when in my country there was no such direct and strong
connection with this trend.298
297 György Ligeti, The Ligeti Project III, CD booklet, Teldec Classics, (2001). Translation by
298 In this present volume, Anna Dalos provides a deep insight into this topic, see pages 271–
A Tribute to György Ligeti in His Native Transylvania 295
Knowing all this, the legitimate question arises: were Romanian
composers really locked out of the minimalist loop? Were they obscuring it
or were they nurturing a parallel loop of local flavor? Born at a time when
American minimalism was unknown in Romania, our composers took folk
music as point of departure, and tangentially Bartók´s and Stravinsky´s
premonitions about the direction of modern music. If I had doubts myself in
the past about the legitimacy of the chosen topic, my long email
correspondence with Corneliu Dan Georgescu confirmed my ideas; we can
speak about minimalism in Romania, even though we might need at first a
magnifying glass with which to trace it. The 200-page book which
Georgescu has in manuscript on this topic and which awaits publication,
will not only shatter all doubts about our approach to this technique, but
will also prove that our school of composition is now “in the minimalist
loop”, enriching it with its individual voice and local flavour.
296 Temeş: Out of the Loop?
Anghel, Irinel. Orientări, direcții, curente ale muzicii românești din a doua jumătate a
secolului XX. Bucharest: Ed. Muzicală a U.C.M.R, 1997.
Brăiloiu, Constantin. ”Le rythme enfantine: notions liminaires”/Ritmul copiilor,
Colloques de Wégimont 1954–1955 (Paris-Bruxelles: Ed. Elsevier, 1956). In
Constantin Brăiloiu, Opere, vol. I, critical edition by Emilia Comișel, pp.
121–71. Bucharest: Ed. Muzicală, 1968.
Comișel, Emilia. Folclorul copiilor. Bucharest: Ed. Muzicală, 1982.
Georgescu, Corneliu Dan. ”Prietenii mei Liviu Glodeanu şi Mihai Moldovan
Generaţia noastră.” Muzica, no.3 (2018): 15–35.
Hoeffelé, Jean-Charles: ”Georges Enesco. Symphonie no.2, Symphonie de chambre.
Orchestre philharmonique de Tampere, Hannu Lintu.” Record
review. Diapason, no. 604 (Summer 2012): 93.
Iorgulescu, Adrian: Timpul și comunicarea muzicală. Bucharest: Ed. Muzicală, 1991.
Ligeti, György. The Ligeti Project III. Translated by Louise Duchesneau. CD booklet.
Teldec Classics, (2001).
Joițoiu, Cristina Maria. Liviu Glodeanu. Repere stilistice în creația concertantă.
Bucharest: Ed. Muzicală, 2014.
Vieru, Anatol. Cuvinte despre sunete. Bucharest: Ed. Cartea Românească, 1994.
List of Contributors
Kofi Agawu is Distinguished Professor at the Graduate Center, City
University of New York and Hughes-Rogers Professor of Music, Emeritus at
Princeton University. His work focuses on analytical issues in selected
repertoires of Western Europe and West Africa. His books include Playing
with Signs: A Semiotic Interpretation of Classic Music (1991), Music as Discourse:
Semiotic Adventures in Romantic Music (2008), and The African Imagination in
Music (2016). A Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy (2010–) and
Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (2000–), he is
Extraordinary Professor at Stellenbosch University in South Africa (2016–)
and Adjunct Professor in the Institute of African Studies, University of
Ghana, Legon (2018–). He was Music Theorist in Residence for the Dutch-
Flemish Music Theory Society in 2008–2009 and George Eastman Visiting
Professor at Oxford University in 2012–2013. Current research includes a
collection of essays on semiotic issues in African music.
Amy Bauer is Associate Professor of Music at the University of California,
Irvine (PhD, Yale 1997), where she teaches graduate and undergraduate
courses on music theory and analysis, ethnomusicology, popular music and
music aesthetics. She has published articles in Music Analysis, The Journal of
Music Theory, Contemporary Music Review, Indiana Theory Review, and Ars
Lyrica, and book chapters on the music of György Ligeti, Olivier Messiaen,
Carlos Chávez, David Lang, modernist opera, spectral music, and the
philosophy and reception of modernist music. Her monographs
include Ligeti’s Laments: Nostalgia, Exoticism and the Absolute (Ashgate, 2011),
and the collections György Ligeti’s Cultural Identities, co-edited with Márton
Kerékfy (Routledge, 2017); The Oxford Handbook of Spectral and Post-Spectral
Music, co-edited with Liam Cagney and Will Mason (Oxford, forthcoming);
and “György Ligeti” in Oxford Bibliographies in Music, edited by Kate van
Orden (Oxford, 2010–).
Anna Dalos (b. 1973) studied musicology at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of
Music, Budapest (1993–1998), and attended the Doctoral Program in
Musicology of the same institution (1998–2002). She spent a year on a
A Tribute to György Ligeti in His Native Transylvania 299
German exchange scholarship (DAAD) at the Humboldt University, Berlin
(1999–2000). As a winner of the “Lendület” grant of the Hungarian
Academy of Sciences in 2012, she is head of the newly founded “Lendület”
Archives and Research Group for 20th–21st Century Hungarian Music of the
Institute of Musicology RCH HAS. Her research focuses on 20th-century
music, the history of composition, and musicology in Hungary. She has
published articles on these subjects in Hungarian, German, English,
Slovakian, and Ukrainian, as well as short monographs on several
Hungarian composers (Pál Kadosa, György Kósa, Rudolf Maros). Her book
on Zoltán Kodály’s poetics was published in 2007, and a collection of her
essays on Kodály in 2015. Her most recent monograph on the history of
composition in Hungary between 1956 and 1989 appeared in 2020 in
Budapest. Her new monograph on Zoltán Kodály was published in the
prestigious series California Studies in 20th-Century Music by the University
of California Press in the same year.
Julia Heimerdinger studied musicology at the Humboldt University of
Berlin, theatre & film studies and psychology at the Free University of
Berlin and completed her master’s degree in 2003 with a thesis on New
Music in Feature Films (Neue Musik im Spielfilm, Saarbrücken: Pfau, 2007).
She worked as a program assistant in the music department of the Podewil
Berlin - Centre for Contemporary Arts, as a research assistant at the
Hamburg University of Music and Drama, and as a lecturer at the Technical
University Hamburg-Harburg and the University of the Arts Berlin. In 2013
she completed her doctorate at the Martin Luther University Halle-
Wittenberg (Sprechen über Neue Musik. Eine Analyse der Sekundärliteratur und
Komponistenkommentare zu Pierre Boulez’ “LeMarteau sans maître” (1954),
Karlheinz Stockhausens “Gesang der Jünglinge” (1956) und György Ligetis
“Atmosphères” (1961), Berlin, 2013). From 2013 to 2015 she headed the
project Archiv des Konzertlebens at the Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung
Preußischer Kulturbesitz Berlin. Since September 2015 she has been a senior
scientist (postdoc) at the Department of Musicology and Performance
Studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. Her
research focuses on the music of the 20th and 21st centuries as well as on
music and other arts (especially film). She is currently working on her
habilitation in the field of music aesthetics.
Recent publications: Die Musikgeschichte des 20. und 21. Jahrhunderts
im universitären Unterricht (The Teaching of Twentieth- and Twenty-First-
Century Music History at Universities and Conservatories of Music), ed. Juri
300 List of Contributors
Giannini, Julia Heimerdinger, and Andreas Holzer, Wien, 2019; “Franz
Schuberts Erlkönig als Filmmusik”, in: musik | kultur | theorie. Festschrift für
Marie-Agnes Dittrich, ed. Christian Glanz, Anita Mayer-Hirzberger, and
Nikolaus Urbanek, Wien 2019, 339–49.
Wolfgang Marx is Associate Professor in Musicology at University College
Dublin and a member of the UCD Humanities Institute. His main research
interests are György Ligeti, the representation of death in music, post-truth
and music, and the theory of musical genres. Recent publications include
essays on Ligeti’s writings, the influence of cultural trauma on his musical
style, the Berliner Requiem by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, and on opera in
contemporary Ireland. He is the editor of the Dublin Death Studies series, as
well as chair of the interdisciplinary research strand Death, Burial and the
Afterlife at UCD.
Felix Meyer has been the Director of the Paul Sacher Foundation since 1999.
He has published widely on twentieth-century music, and has edited and
co-edited a number of books including Settling New Scores: Music
Manuscripts from the Paul Sacher Foundation (Schott, 1998), Edgard Varèse:
Composer, Sound Sculptor, Visionary (The Boydell Press, 2006), Elliott Carter: A
Centennial Portrait in Letters and Documents (The Boydell Press, 2008),
Crosscurrents: American and European Music in Interaction, 1900–2000 (The
Boydell Press, 2014), and Alberto Ginastera in Switzerland: Essays and
Documents (Boosey & Hawkes, 2016). His publications also include facsimile
editions of works by Igor Stravinsky (piano version of The Rite of Spring;
Boosey & Hawkes, 2013) and Béla Bartók (Music for Strings, Percussion and
Celesta; Schott, 2000; Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion ; Schott, 2018).
Meyer was born in St. Gallen, Switzerland, and studied at the University of
Zurich, where he obtained his PhD with a dissertation on Charles Ives.
Before joining the staff of the Paul Sacher Foundation in 1985, he worked
briefly as administrator for the Swiss Youth Music Competition.
After gaining his degrees in Musicology at the Sorbonne (Paris IV), Pierre
Michel taught at the Strasbourg Conservatory before taking up the post of
Lecturer at the University of Metz and then at the University of Strasbourg
in 1998 (where he was appointed Professor in 2008). Michel had met Ligeti
at the Acanthes-Academy (Aix-en-Provence) in 1979, and the composer
supported him in the project of writing a book on his music: the result,
featuring interviews held in Vienna in 1981, was the first book on Ligeti to
A Tribute to György Ligeti in His Native Transylvania 301
be published in French (Éditions Minerve, Paris, 1985). Afterwards, Pierre
Michel published several other papers on the Chamber Concerto and “Le
Grand Macabre”, and produced a web documentary on the “Trio for violin,
horn and piano” (2016) for Université Ouverte des Humanités
He translated an important part of the second French volume of Ligeti’s
writings entitled “L’atelier du compositeur” (Éditions Contrechamps,
Geneva). He has organised numerous conferences and workshops with
musicians alongside publishing articles and books about composers like
Luigi Dallapiccola, B. A. Zimmermann, Klaus Huber, Hans Zender, Franco
Donatoni, Wolfgang Rihm, Gilbert Amy, and Paul Méfano. He has edited
several volumes of writings by composers in France, including Ferruccio
Busoni, Gilbert Amy, Tristan Murail (also available in English), Hans
Zender, Wolfgang Rihm. He has supervised many MA and PhD theses. In
2011, he set up the GREAM Centre of Research Excellence, where he was
director until 2016. With Philippe Lalitte, he edited issue no. 9 of the journal
Musimédiane (2018–2019), which focuses on Ligeti’s Dix pièces pour quintette à
vent. He is also a musician, mainly in the field of jazz. His research covers
Western art music since 1945, including modern jazz.
Anca-Daniela Mihuț (born in 1968, Cluj-Napoca) graduated from the
Theoretical Faculty (Musical Pedagogy/Piano, 1991) and the Faculty of
Musical Performance (speciality: Musical Theatre Direction, 2002) of the
„Gheorghe Dima” Music Academy in Cluj. In 1993 she graduated from the
Edgar Willems Education and Music Pedagogy Institute in Lyon, between
2000 and 2001 she attended the European Specialised MA of the Cultural
Institutes (Dijon, France). In 2004 she graduated from the MA programme in
Musical Performance Arts at the Music Academy in Cluj and later defended
her doctoral thesis Contributions to the History of the Romanian Lied – the
Musical Universe of Mihai Eminescu. Since 2006 she has been a Habilitated
PhD Associate Professor at the Department for Vocal Performance and
Musical Performance Arts (specialising in Musical Theatre Directing),
GDMA, where she teaches musical theatre directing, history of theatre,
theatre aesthetics and Opera Class. Since 2017 she has been a Member of the
„Sigismund Toduță”, Doctoral School, Director of the GDMA’s INTERART
Center for Artistic Research and Creation, and Program Director of the
GDMA’s French-speaking Musical Performance Arts Master’s Programme.
In 2006 she received a grant for the originality of the directorial
conception of the play Mă joc cu voi aşa cum doriţi (I play with you as you
302 List of Contributors
wish), Lucian Blaga International Festival in Cluj; in 2017 she was awarded
the „Lya Hubic” trophy for her contribution to the lyrical stage, given by the
Cluj National Opera, and the „Ioan Negoițescu” Prize awarded by the
Apostrof magazine, Cluj. She has taken part in over 30 symposiums and
conferences at the GDMA, Cluj, as well as the Universities of Bucharest,
Alba-Iulia, Constanța, the Romanian Cultural Institute in Paris, the
University of Oldenburg, the Music Academy in Krakau, Poland. She has
staged more than 20 performances at the GDMA, the Cluj National Opera,
the „Lucian Blaga” National Theatre Cluj, the Bucharest National Opera,
and the Constanța Opera, amongst others.
Michael Searby is presently a Part-time Lecturer in Music (Brass Pedagogy)
at Kingston University where he has taught since 1990, prior to that he
lectured in music at Salford University. He was the Course Leader for the
postgraduate music courses at Kingston University (1994–2017) and taught
composition, analysis, music history, and performance at undergraduate
and postgraduate levels. His main research interests are contemporary
music, music analysis, and composition. He has written extensively about
the music of the Hungarian composer György Ligeti including the
book Ligeti’s Stylistic Crisis: Transform ation in his Musical Style 1974–
85 published in 2009 by Scarecrow Press, and four articles for Tempo on the
music of Ligeti, covering the Chamber Concerto, postmodernist tendencies
in Ligeti’s music, the Horn Trio and his opera Le Grand Macabre. He
organized a conference at Senate House, London University on the music of
Ligeti in March 2012, and co-edited a double issue on Ligeti’s later music
based on papers from the conference for Contemporary Music Review in 2013.
In October 2013 he presented a paper on Ligeti’s approach to form at the
Florida State University Ligeti Conference, and in 2014 he gave papers on
Ligeti’s music at the Ligeti Soundscape Conference in Maccagno (July) and
at the Music and Stage conference at Rose Bruford College (October) on
humour in Le Grand Macabre. In May 2016 he gave a paper at the Ligeti's
Legacy in Retrospect conference (Gheorghe Dima Music Academy – Cluj)
on timbre in Ligeti’s music, and in February 2017 he presented a paper
exploring links between Ligeti and Kurtág at a Ligeti conference at the
Sibelius Academy, Helsinki.
He has given pre-concert talks for the BBC on the music of Ligeti
Violin and Kurtág, and was interviewed about Ligeti’s Violin Concerto on
BBC Radio 3. He has also composed works for a range of forces including
A Tribute to György Ligeti in His Native Transylvania 303
the Delta Saxophone Quartet, the soprano Jane Manning, Paul Archibald
(trumpet), Kate Ryder (piano), and Torbjörn Hultmark (soprano trombone).
Dr. phil. Manfred Stahnke, born 1951, studied composition with Wolfgang
Fortner, Klaus Huber, György Ligeti, and Ben Johnston, and musicology
with Hans-Heinrich Eggebrecht and Constantin Floros. From 1983 on he
was a teacher at Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg, from 1995 as
full-time professor in composition. Stahnke's works include string quartets,
operas, and orchestral pieces, and feature a strong focus on microtonality,
pulsative rhythms, and improvisation.
As a keyboard player, he travelled with his group CHAOSMA
worldwide, presenting new forms of microtonality and hybrid forms of
avant-garde music. He also semi-improvises as viola player in the
Hamburg-based group TonArt. Presently he composes viola music in semi-
persian scales or semi-Bohlen-Pierce music for strings. Many of his pieces
can be found at Babelscores, Paris.
He has published several books, among them 1001 Microtones (2015)
and Mein Blick auf Ligeti & Partch (2017). Presently he is chair of the
Musiksektion of Freie Akademie der Künste in Hamburg.
Amalia Szűcs-Blănaru graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics of the
University of Bucharest in 1985, and in 2007 she graduated from the Faculty
of Composition, Musicology and Pedagogy of the National University of
Music in Bucharest. In 2017 she defended her doctoral thesis called György
Ligeti. An Insights to the sound universe or Mathematics on the keyboard at the
“Gheorghe Dima” Music Academy in Cluj-Napoca, coordinated by prof.
univ. dr. Pavel Pu șcaș. From 1985 to 2007 she taught mathematics at the
“Dumitru Gafton” School, and since 2007 she has taught piano at the
“Vaskertes” School in Gheorgheni.
She has published articles on varied topics in the fields of
mathematics and music, which attest to her double qualification: “On a
Mathematical (Geometrical) Shaping of Some Counterpoint
Techniques” (2010); “Musica ricercata, or Ligeti and the Experiment in
Music” (2011); “Kindertotenlieder or The Lied in a Different
Light” (2012); Searching for the Lost Continuum or About the Genesis of
Micropolyphony” (2012); “Iannis Xenakis and the Mathematical
Formalization of Music” (2013); “Iannis Xenakis and the Architecture of the
Hazard or Order in Disorder” (2014); “György Ligeti – Transylvanian
Connections” (2014); “György Ligeti – Musical Thinking” (2015); “Poème
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Symphonique for 100 Metronomes or a Form-Generating Principle” (2016);
“About Fractals and Music” (2017); “Max Eisikovits, György Kurtág,
György Ligeti. Three Composers From Romania” (2019); and À propos des
fractales et du chaos dans les études pour piano de György Ligeti (2019).
She has presented papers on diverse topics in at scientific colloquia,
including: “Constantin Brăiloiu” International Symposium – Târgu-Jiu
(2008); “Music, Science, and Spirituality” International Symposium –
Bucharest (2012); “Ethnologic and Ethno-Museologic Representation.
Tradition – Contemporaneity” – Târgu-Mureş (2014); ”The International
Scientific Conference The Musical Heritage of the Republic of Moldova in
contemporaneity” – Chișinău (2017); National Symposium – ”100 years of
Romanian music” – Târgu-Mureş (2018, 2019); Symposium commun SFM,
SFE, SFAM, AFIM – ”Les sciences de la musique. De nouveaux défis dans
une société en mutation” – Paris (2019); The 9th International Conference
”The Science of Music – Excellence in Performance” – Brașov (2019); “Music
and Philosophy” National Symposium – Cluj-Napoca (2014–2019); and the
National Colloquium on Musicology – Iaşi (2010–2020).
One of the most acclaimed Romanian composers, Cornel Ţăranu studied
composition with Sigismund Toduţă at the “Gheorghe Dima” Academy of
Music in Cluj-Napoca between 1951 and 1957, where he later earned a
DMus in musicology in 1974. He also studied analysis with Nadia
Boulanger and Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatoire in 1966–1967 and
attended Darmstadt in 1968–1969 and 1972, where he studied analysis with
György Ligeti, conducting with Bruno Maderna and percussion with
He founded the ensemble Ars Nova in 1968 and has been its artistic
director and conductor ever since. He has served as the vice-president of the
Romanian Composers’ Society since 1990 and as director of the Cluj Modern
Festival since 1995. He has also published much musicological work, as well
as the book Enescu în conştiinta prezentului (1969, Editura pentru literatură;
French translation as Enesco dans la conscience du présent, 1981, Editura
Ştiinţifică şi enciclopedică).
He has taught composition at the “Gheorghe Dima” Academy of
Music in Cluj-Napoca since 1957, but has also given lectures in Germany,
Israel, Switzerland, and the USA, while his compositions (orchestral,
chamber and vocal works) have been performed throughout Europe, North
and South America. Among his many honours are the Great Officer of the
Order of Cultural Merit (2004, Romania), five prizes from the Romanian
A Tribute to György Ligeti in His Native Transylvania 305
Composers’ Society (1972, 1978, 1981, 1982, 2001), the Prize of the Academy
of the SR of Romania (1973), the International Koussevitzky Award (1982,
for a recording of Garlands) and The National Prize for Music (2007), Doctor
h.c. of the Music University Bucharest. He has been a member of the
Romanian Academy since 1993 and was named a Chevalier de l'Ordre des
Arts et des Lettres in 2002.
Bianca Ţiplea Temeş is Reader in Music Theory at the Gheorge Dima
National Music Academy in Cluj-Napoca. She earned two doctorates
(University of Music, Bucharest; Universidad de Oviedo, Spain) and served
until 2016 as head of the artistic department at the Transylvania
Her books have been published in Romania (the most recent Seeing
Sound, Hearing Images, edited together with the musicologist Nicholas Cook
and Folk Music as a Fermenting Agent for Composition – Past and Present,
edited with William Kinderman). Her articles have appeared in leading
journals in Romania and abroad, and her present research focuses on
contemporary music, mainly on the oeuvre of Ligeti and Kurtág. She has
participated in many conferences organised by prestigious institutions
(University of Cambridge, Universität der Künste Berlin, Université Paris-
Sorbonne, IRCAM Paris, Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia Rome,
University of Chicago, and City University of New York, among others);
since 2010 she has been visiting professor at various universities in Spain,
Italy, Poland, and the U.S.
She was awarded several Erasmus grants to study at the University
of Cambridge/U.K, obtained three DAAD Scholarships in Berlin, Hamburg,
and Heidelberg and received a research grant from the Paul Sacher
Foundation, where she explored the Ligeti collection. In 2016 she founded
the Festival “A Tribute to György Ligeti in his Native Transylvania”; she
continues to be its director.
Vlad Văidean is presently a third-year PhD candidate in musicology at the
National University of Music in Bucharest (UNMB), with Valentina Sandu-
Dediu as doctoral adviser. He was an Erasmus student at the Institut für
Musikwissenschaft in Leipzig, under the guidance of Helmut Loos. He
obtained the first prize in various competitions such as: the UNMB’s
National Student Musicology Contest (2012–2015 and 2017 editions), the
National Mihail Jora Contest, section for music criticism (2013, 2014), the
Musicology Contest from Lipatti Days Festival (2012). He obtained also, in
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2017, the prize for the young contemporary music critic, awarded
by Actualitatea muzicală, and in 2019, the prize for musicological essay,
awarded by Muzica. He participated in national and international
musicology conferences organized in Bucharest, Iași, Craiova, Timișoara,
Cluj-Napoca. He published essays, musical reviews, book reviews, studies
in journals such as Musicology Today and Acord (magazines edited by
UNMB); Muzica and Actualitatea muzicală (magazines edited by the Union of
Romanian Composers and Musicologists); and Infinitezimal. Between 2016
and 2018 he wrote programme notes for the concerts of the Radio National
Orchestras and Choirs in Bucharest.
Heidy Zimmermann has been a member of the research staff and curator at
the Paul Sacher Foundation since 2002, and as such is responsible for the
György Ligeti Collection among others. She has published numerous
articles on twentieth-century music (especially on Stefan Wolpe, Klaus
Huber, and György Ligeti) and co-edited several books, such as Jüdische
Musik? (Cologne: Böhlau, 2004), Edgard Varèse. Composer, Sound Sculptor,
Visionary (Mainz: Schott, 2006), Avatar of Modernity. The "Rite of Spring"
Reconsidered (Boosey & Hawkes, 2013), and recently RE-SET. Rückgriffe und
Fortschreibungen in der Musik seit 1900 (Schott, 2018).
Nicholas Cook (University of Cambridge)
Heidy Zimmermann (Paul Sacher Foundation)
Violeta Dinescu (Karl von Ossietzky Universtität, Oldenburg)
Amy Bauer (University of California, Irvine)
László Vikárius (Bartók Archives Budapest, Institute for Musicology,
Research Centre for the Humanities of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences)
Michael Searby (Kingston University, London)
Keith Potter (Goldsmiths, University of London)
Adrian Pop (Gh. Dima National Music Academy, Cluj-Napoca)
Bianca Ţiplea Temeş (Gh. Dima National Music Academy, Cluj-Napoca)