George Enescu

Rumanian Born 19 Aug 1881 Died 04 May 1955

Born Liveni Virnav in the Botosani district of Romania, the composer who was later to be known as Georges Enescu was playing violin at the age of four and composing the following year.  By the time he graduated from the Vienna Conservatoire in 1894 he was considered a mature musician, although he travelled to Paris to study composition under Fauré and Massenet.  In 1898 he performed his Violin Sonata with Cortot and in 1904 he formed the Enescu Quartet.  Enescu retained strong links with his homeland, coordinating concerts and instituting the Romanian Composers' Society.

The music Enescu grew up with exerted a strong influence over him.  Like Béla Bartók he assimilated gypsy influences into academic structures and made use of local dance forms.  However, Enescu's multiple commitments (he taught, amongst others, Yehudi Menuhin) left him little time for composition, and coupled with the huge scale of certain projects he composed few works after around 1914.  The opera Oedipe (1921-1931) was an epic masterpiece, encompassing the entirity of Sophocles' Greek tragedy.

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