Child prodigy, adored by the Royal House of Romania, pianist and teacher Aurelia Cionca (Bucharest, 1888 – Bucharest, 1962) played an important role in Romanian culture in the first half of the 20th century. Training at the Royal Conservatory of Music Leipzig with Franz Liszt pupil Alfred Reisenauer, she performed in Warsaw, Budapest, Bucharest to great acclaim, later teaching, at the Conservatory in Bucharest, such future stars as Dinu Lipatti, Dan Mizrahi and Eugen Ciceu.
Her charming Amintiri [Memoirs], published by the Muzica magazine, let us grasp fresh details of her life in a valuable chronicle documenting almost fifty years of Romanian musical life. At the apogee of her career, the eminent pianist talks about her relationship with members of the Royal House and writes about her travels and recitals abroad and at home – sometimes literally, as Aurelia Cionca often held musical evenings in her house, a superb building in the Cotroceni district and one of a kind in Bucharest due to its distinct shape: “the thought of having a large music salon where I can receive friends and lovers of good music just thrills me”, she wrote in her journal in 1926, a year before the house was finished.
Aurelia Cionca’s account is of particular appeal to all interested in Romanian musical life at the beginning of the last century, as she ran artistic programs both in Bucharest and in cities in Transylvania; additionally, teaching from her youth at the Bucharest Conservatoire, she also offers us precious memories of both her students and her colleagues, esteemed piano teachers Florica Musicescu or Cella Delavrancea.
Author: Larisa Clempuș
Translation: Maria Monica Bojin