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04-25-2013
The Atheneum: "The Heart of the Romanian Culture"
The Atheneum: "The Heart of the Romanian Culture"



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History Symbolic edifice of the national culture, the Romanian Atheneum, built in the heart of Bucharest (1886-1888), has become the architectural and spiritual landmark and a symbol of the spiritual tradition of a whole nation. Palace of the Romanian Atheneum was built with money collected publicly, following a national lottery (500.000 tickets were issued, costing one Leu each). The fundraising campaign was initiated by natural scientist Constantin Esarcu (1836-1898), founder of the Society of the Romanian Atheneum. Drafted by the French Architect Albert Galleron, following the research and guidelines of Alexandru Odobescu, revised and completed by an a group of Romanian specialists (Al. Orascu, Ion Mincu, Ion Socolescu, Grigore Cerkez, Cucu Starostescu), the circular-form building was built on an already existing foundation in the Diocese Garden, which was meant for a circus.


Architecture The facade of the building is inspired by the architecture of ancient Greek temples and consists of a row of columns which support a triangular pediment. On the ground floor, the impressive marble hall incorporates the 12 Doric columns which support the concert hall. Four monumental spiral staircases, made of Carrara marble, enlarged into balconies at the intermediate floor, establish the connection with the main hall and the annexes (offices, rehearsal halls, rooms for the soloists and the conductor). Arranged after the model of an ancient Greek-Roman amphitheatres, the almost 1,000 seats (three ground floor zones and two circular rows comprising 52 boxes, with one central box in the middle), the concert hall provides a perfect view from any corner and impeccable sound distribution. The sound owes its perfection to the immense cupola (amply decorated), which "absorbs" the sound of the instruments and voices from the stage and redistributes it through reverberation to the listeners, including the whole gamut of harmonies and the finest "colours", sounds and nuances. It seems that the exceptional acoustic qualities which characterize the concert hall of the Romanian Atheneum, have placed it among the best buildings of the genre, not just in Europe, but worldwide. The fresco, evoking the history of the Romanian people in 25 episodes, was created in the course of five years by the painter Costin Petrescu. The organ, installed in 1939 with the financial support of George Enescu, the numerous technical improvements necessary after earthquakes and after the 1944 bombing at the end of World War II, but especially the changes undertaken in the years 1966-1967 (installation of air conditioning, refurbishing of the ceiling, new seats, redistribution of the boxes, enlarging the proscenium, etc.) have transformed the Romanian Atheneum into a singular architectural complex in the heart of the Capital. For over half a century it has been the home of the "George Enescu" Philharmonic and in 1958 it became the headquarter of the "George Enescu" International Festival.


Musicians While it was the starting place of the careers of famous Romanian musicians such as: George Enescu, Dinu Lipatti, Clara Haskil, Cella Delavrancea, Ion Voicu, Lola Bobescu, Radu Aldulescu, George Georgescu, Dimitrie Dinicu, Eduard Wachmann, Alfonso Castaldi, Ionel Perlea, D.G. Chiriac, Constantin Silvestri, Elena Teodorini, D. Popovici-Bayreuth, Zina de Nori, Theodor Rogalski, Alfred Alessandrescu, Iosif Conta, Cristian Mandeal, Erich Bergel, Horia Andreescu, Valentin Gheorghiu, Antonin Ciolan, Ion Nonna Otescu, Mircea Basarab, Mihai Brediceanu, Egizio Massini and others, the Romanian Atheneum also provided the Romanian music lovers with opportunities for unforgettable encounters with Pietro Mascagni, Vincent d`Indy, Richard Strauss, Bela Bartok, Igor Stravinski, Serghei Prokofiev, Maurice Ravel, Felix Weingartner, Hermann Scherchen, Erich Kleiber, Pierre Monteux, Clemens Krauss, Hermann Abendroth, Vaclav Talich, Herbert von Karajan, Carl Bahm, Wilhelm Bakhaus, Claudio Arrau, Marguerite Long, Wilhelm Kempff, Henryk Szeryng, Alfred Cortot, Arthur Rubinstein, Pierre Fournier, Zino Francescatti, Jacques Thibaud, Pablo Casals, Walter Gieking, David Oistrach, Yehudi Menuhin, Monique de la Bruchollerie, Mstislav Rostropovich, Leonid Kogan, Ruggiero Ricci, Daniil Shafran, Dmitri Bashkirov, Christian Ferras, Nikita Magaloff, Sviatoslav Richter, etc.


Istoric Edificiu-simbol al culturii naţionale, Ateneul Român, construit în inima Bucureştilor (1886-1888), a devenit exponentul arhitectonic şi spiritual nu doar al unui oraş, al unei Capitale, ci al unei naţiuni. Palatul Ateneului Roman s-a clădit cu banii dintr-o subscripţie publică, în urma organizării unei loterii naţionale (500.000 de bilete în valoare de un leu), apelul adresat cetăţenilor de naturalistul Constantin Esarcu (1836-1898), fondatorul Societăţii Ateneul Român.


Arhitectură Concepută de arhitectul francez Albert Galleron, după cercetările ştiinţifice şi indicaţiile lui Alexandru Odobescu, revizuite şi completate de specialişti români (Al. Orascu, Ion Mincu, Ion Socolescu, Grigore Cerkez, Cucu Starostescu), clădirea de forma circulară s-a datorat valorificării fundaţiilor deja existente din Grădina Episcopiei ce urmau să servească ridicării unui circ. Inspirat din vechile temple greceşti, edificiul surprinde la prima vedere printr-o colonada istorica ce susţine un fronton triunghiular. La parter, impresionantul hol din marmura înglobează cele 12 coloane dorice de susţinerii a sălii de concerte. Patru scări monumentale in spirala de tip baroc din marmura de Carrara, desfăşurate cu balcoane la etajul intermediar, fac legătura cu sala si anexele (birouri, săli de repetiţii, cabine pentru solisti si dirijor etc.). Dispuse sub forma vechilor amfiteatre greco-romane, cele aproape 1.000 de locuri (trei zone de parter si doua rânduri circulare cu 52 de loji, la mijloc cu o loja centrala) oferă o vizibilitate perfecta din orice colt si o audiţie impecabila. Perfecţiunea sunetului se datorează imensei cupole (bogat decorata) care "absoarbe" fondul instrumental si vocal de pe podium, spre a-l distribui prin reverberaţie către auditori, cu întreaga gama de armonice până la cele mai fine culori timbrale şi nuanţe. Se pare ca acustica excepţională a cavităţii sonore, proprii Ateneului Roman, a plasat sala printre cele mai reuşite construcţii de acest gen nu doar din Europa, ci din întreaga lume. Fresca, evocând istoria poporului român in 25 de episoade, realizată timp de cinci ani de către pictorul Costin Petrescu, orga instalată în 1939 în urma ajutorului material al lui George Enescu, numeroasele imbunatatiri tehnice produse după cutremurele de pamant si bombardamentul din 1944, de la sfârşitul celui de al doilea război mondial, dar mai ales modificările din 1966-1967 (introducerea aerului condiţionat, refacerea tavanului, schimbarea fotoliilor, redistribuirea lojilor, lărgirea avanscenelor etc.) au transformat Ateneul Roman intr-un complex arhitectural singular in centrul Capitalei. De peste o jumătate de veac, a devenit sediul Filarmonicii "George Enescu", iar din 1958 "Cartierul general" al Festivalurilor Internaţionale "George Enescu".



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