Top conductors urge Romania to restore concert hall

23rd September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Top conductors Zubin Mehta from India and Antonio Pappano from Britain have asked the Romanian authorities to pull out all the stops to restore the famed Palace concert hall in Bucharest.

"I wish that the Romanian authorities will do everything possible to ensure that every available reserve of energy will be channelled into restoring the Palace concert hall," Mehta and Pappano wrote in separate letters after conducting at the ongoing international Enescu music festival in Bucharest.

"I met here people who want music and culture. I saw a gallery of top musicians and series of concerts scheduled over the course of a month," added Mehta, who is the director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

"It is unfortunate that such an event and a public so eager for culture lack a concert hall suitable to accommodate a large orchestra and a large public."

Pappano, who conducts the Rome-based Orchestra Dell Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, agreed and said that maestros Daniel Barenboim and Valery Gergiev were of the same opinion.

While the Palace hall was used during the festival, some conductors asked to move to play instead in the Athenee, another concert hall dating from the 19th century with excellent acoustics but which cannot host large orchestras.

Built in 1960 during the Communist regime, the Palace concert hall in Bucharest is often criticized for its acoustics and its audience facilities are also showing signs of age.

The festival was launched in 1958 to pay tribute to the Romanian composer and violinist George Enescu (1881-1955), whose pupils included the late Yehudi Menuhin.

The festival was banned by the communist regime in 1971 but came back to life after the fall of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989.

© 2011 AFP

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