Enescu, George [Enesco, Georges]
- Noel Malcolm
- , revised by Valentina Sandu-Dediu
(b Liveni Vîrnav [now George Enescu], nr Dorohoi, Romania, Aug 19, 1881; d Paris, France, 3/May 4, 1955). Romanian composer, violinist, conductor, and teacher. Enescu (also known by the French form of his name, Georges Enesco) was Romania’s greatest composer, the leading figure in Romanian musical life in the first half of the 20th century, and one of the best-known violinists of his generation.
Enescu came from a modest middle-class family (his father was an estate manager). He started to play the violin at the age of four, and began composing as soon as he learnt musical notation (aged five). In 1888 he entered the Konservatorium der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna. There he studied with Sigmund Bachrich and Joseph Hellmesberger jr (violin), Robert Fuchs (harmony), Joseph Hellmesberger sr (chamber music), and Ernst Ludwig (piano). He also learnt the organ and cello, frequented the Hofoper (for Wagner performances conducted by Hans Richter), and played Brahms’s works in the conservatory orchestra, in the composer’s presence. His first public performance, as a violinist, was at Slănic (north-eastern Romania) in ...