The ISCM Romanian Section is grieving one of its most important members. Composer and pianist Nicolae Brânduş (1935-2023) was one of Romania’s most distinct and powerful voices, as well as the President of the ISCM Romanian Section between 1990-1991 and 1993-2002, and a member of the ISCM Executive Committee between 1991-1993. Through many efforts and with much passion, he not only revived the Section (that had been inactive for a long time), but also helmed the only edition of the World Music Days Festival that took place in Romania, in 1999.
Fiercely intelligent and dryly humorous, so is his music, often of superhuman virtuosity, always lively, fresh and carnal. To quote composer Dan Dediu, President of the Union of Romanian Composers and Musicologists, “Brânduş handles with aplomb the flourish of sarcasm, of dry and harsh humour, the wonderful combinations of popular and scholarly music, the phantasmagorical breaks of speech and absurd shouts” [“Siluete în mişcare, Editura Muzicală, Bucharest 2021].
Nicolae Brandus was born on 1935 in Bucharest. He had a double major in piano (1957) and composition (1964) at the National University of Music in Bucharest, and he frequently attended the Summer Courses of New Music in Darmstadt between 1969 and 1980, as well as the course in Aix-en-Provence (1979). A virtuoso pianist, he was a soloist of the Ploieşti Philharmonic Orchestra in the 60s. He had a PhD in Musicology (1981) at the National Academy of Music in Cluj-Napoca with the dissertation “Bases of a formalized analysis of the musical language”. In 1985 he worked with the Group of Musical Research at IRCAM, Paris. He taught at the National University in Bucharest (chamber music, 1969-1981 and 1992-2005), as well as being a scientific doctoral coordinator.
Among his many works we mention: two piano concertos, the “Domnişoara Hus” [“Lady Hus”] cantata, the operas “Logodna”, “La Țigănci” [“At the Gypsies’] and “Tarr & Fether”, the pocket opera “Ornitorinc” for voice and piano, “Phtora” and “European Parody” for orchestra, “KN-Comment” for chamber ensemble, “Bowstring” for solo violin or “X Fatum van B” – a work for clarinet ensemble that received the 1st prize in 2020 at the “Quoting Beethoven” competition organized by Goethe-Institut Bucharest.
His musical works were performed in the most important cities of Romania and abroad (Poland, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Sweden, Germany, USA, France, Belgium, Holland, Great Britain, Greece, Bulgaria, Austria, Denmark, Italy, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Albania, Slovenia, Macedonia, Israel etc). An active and original researcher, he has contributed articles, studies, essays in music in various cultural journals and sustained, as a visiting composer, lectures about new music in the USA, Germany, Israel, Greece, Hong-Kong, Taiwan and so on.
He was awarded many prizes, such as: The Cultural Merit, Bucharest 1969; Honourable Mention in the “Prince Pierre de Monaco International Competition”, 1973; the Prize of the Union of Romanian Composers and Musicologists, Bucharest 1974, 2002, 2005; the Prize of the Romanian Radio and Television for Opera and Vocal-Symphonic Music, Bucharest 1975, 1977; the Romanian “George Enescu” Academy Prize, 1977; the Diploma of the National Theatre Festival for the “Bizarmonia” show, Bucharest 1999. He was distinguished as an Officer of the Cultural Merit in 2004, in Bucharest.