Mihail Andricu

Composer, pianist, teacher and music critic Mihail Andricu was born in Bucharest on December 22, 1894. Training at the Conservatory with Alfonso Castaldi (composition), he also attended the Faculty of Law. He taught composition (1926-48) and chamber music (1948-59) in addition to being a sought-after piano accompanist, and was later appointed Vice-president of the Romanian Composers’ and Musicologists’ Union while being member of the Société Française de Musicologie and of the Romanian Academy. For his compositions, he was awarded such prizes as George Enescu (1924), Robert Cremer (1931), Anhauch (1932), the Prize of the Romanian Academy (1949).

His openness to an unusual cultural variety, to jazz and new music, prohibited at the time, both brought Mihail Andricu his students’ admiration and turned him into a target for the communist authorities. Accused of contacts with foreign diplomats, his works were banned and he was expelled from the Romanian Academy, the Composers’ Union, and the Conservatory.

One of the most prolific Romanian composers, he wrote in all genres – more than 100 pieces for choir and orchestra, ballets, concertos, choral and solo works – and is renowned especially for his orchestral and chamber music. An important source of inspiration was the traditional Romanian music, peasant dances and carols in particular, which, in the manner of George Enescu, he reworked instead of quoting.

Mihail Andricu died in Bucharest on March 4, 1974, at 72.

Andreea Kiseleff