The “Oltenia” Philharmonic from Craiova, a well-known institution in the Romanian musical life, has been founded in 1904 and established in 1947 by a royal decree. The present activity is carried out by the Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra, the Academic Choir as many chamber assemblies too.
Around 80 professional musicians form the symphony orchestra. The repertoire includes masterpieces of symphonic music, operas, oratorios, requiems, musical jewels, arrangements of famous jazz pieces, covering a large historical period, from baroque to contemporary.
The Symphony Orchestra was conducted by musical personalities, such as Constantin Silvestri, Mihai Brediceanu, Sergiu Comissiona, Erich Bergel, Cristian Mandeal, Emil Simon, Camil Marinescu, Horia Andreescu (Romania), Alexandr Dmitriev (Russia), Kurt Adler (USA), Wolfgang Gröhs (Austria), Carmen Moral (Peru), Ivan Marinov (Bulgaria), André Nevè (France), Stanislav Wislocki (Poland) and collaborated with famous soloists like Lola Bobescu, Ion Voicu, Valentin Gheorghiu, Eugen Sarbu, Silvia Marcovici, Ileana Cotrubas, Viorica Cortez, Mariana Nicolesco, Dan Grigore (Romania), Pavel Kogan, Igor Oistrakh, Vladimir Viardo, Alexander Slobodianik, Mihail Homitzer (Russia), José Manuel Esteban (Spain), Thierry de Brunhoff, Pierre Yves Artaud (France), Weimar Stanley (USA), Marcella Crudeli, Fausto Zadra (Italy) etc.
Recording houses like: Electrecord, Musical Company - Arad (Romania); V.D.Gallo - Doron, Lausanne (Switzerland); R.Z - Berlin (Germany); Disk Makers, Pennsauken - New Jersy (USA) produced highly appreciated CDs and LPs for “Oltenia” Philharmonic.
The symphony orchestra was invited in Italy to perform at the summer concerts together with Katia Ricciarelli - the world’s famous Italian soprano - and to attend to “The International Courses for Young Conductors” from Manfredonia, Alessandria (Italy), Corsica (France), “The International Competitions for Young Soloists” (the finales with the orchestra), in Italy: “G.B. Viotti” (Varallo), “Rodolfo Lipizer” (Gorizia), “Citta di Cantu” (Como); in France: The International Festival “Les Nuits Pianistiques” (Aix-en-Provence); The Opera Festivals in Germany and Italy (Spoleto).
The symphonic repertoire of the orchestra covers, among others, the integral symphonies by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Bruckner, Rakhmaninov; Symphonies nos. 1, 2, 4 and 6 by Mahler; Symphonies nos. 1, 5, 8, 9 and The Chamber Symphony by Shostakovich; “La Mer”, “Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune” by C. Debussy; “Bolero” by M. Ravel; The Symphonic Poems “The Preludes”, “Orpheus”, “Tasso”, “Faust” Symphony by Liszt; The Symphonic Poems “Don Juan”, “Zarathustra”, “Don Quixote”, “Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks”, “Death and Transfiguration”, R. Strauss; “The Firebird”, “Le Sacre du printemps”, “Petrushka” by Stravinsky; Concerto for Orchestra by Bartok.
Fonded in 1957, The Chamber Orchestra of “Oltenia” Philharmonic was specialized, at the beginning, in preclassical and classical music promotion. Nowadays, the repertory is diversified appreciably, including also most of the contemporary music .
The assembly recorded LPs and CDs in collaboration with disk companies from Romania, Bulgary, Germany and Switzerland.
The Chamber Orchestra participated in many artistic international tours in Italy, France, Germany, Holland, Bulgary, obtainning very good appreciations as from the auditory and the critical press also.
The Academic Choir of the “Oltenia” Philharmonic from Craiova, one of the most valuable artistic assemblies of this genre in our country, was created in 1953.
The vast repertoire sums up about 1000 of the representative compositions of our choral art like: Renaissance, Baroque, Classic, Romantic and Contemporary.
Around 60 professional musicians form the the choir of the “Oltenia” Philharmonic. The activity is extended on two big chapters: “à cappella” and choral concerts. “À cappella” concerts include pieces of all epoques and creations, styles of diversity and technical difficulty specific to first class professional ensembles. The vocal-symphonic concerts include masterpieces of universal and Romanian musical literature as: passions, masses, requiems, oratories, cantatas a.o. We illustrate some of them: “Johannes Passion”, “Matthäus Passion”, “The Great Mass in B minor”, “Magnificat”, “Christmas Oratorio” by J.S. Bach; “The Seasons”, “The Creation” by J. Haydn; “The Requiem”, “The Coronation's Mass”, “The Great Mass in C minor” by W.A. Mozart; “The Requiem”, “Quattro pezzi sacri” by G. Verdi; “Messiah” by G.F. Handel; “Stabat mater” by G. Rossini; “Requiem” by G. Faure; “The German Requiem”, “Carmina Burana”, “The profane cantata” by C. Orff; “The Mass in E-flat major”, “The Christmas Byzantine Oratorio” by P. Constantinescu; the “Elijah” and “Paulus” oratorios by F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy .
The “Oltenia” Philharmonic from Craiova organizes the annual well-known International Festival “Musical Craiova”, distinguished by the concerts’ programme, the highest artistic quality of the assemblies and the guest-personalities also.
“The Orchestra of Craiova has demonstrated to be the best one as a good balanced sound.”
- Darmstäder Echo
“The orchestra's sections are homogenous; an assembly of a marvellous harmony. It's an important Romanian orchestra.”
“The symphonic orchestra proved to be a professional one.”
- Luciano Acocella
“Discipline, interest, musicality conducted to an exceptional efficiency of the orchestra.”
- Erich Bergel
“The skills of this orchestra which is situated on the top-level of the best artistic assemblies from our country are remarkable.”
- Eugen Sarbu
“It was a great pleasure for me to perform together with this orchestra.”
- Silvia Marcovici
“Craiova it's an interesting town and this orchestra it's of a high potential.”
- Lory Wallfisch
“In Craiova I had the opportunity to meet extraordinary musicians, an orchestra and a choir of the first quality.”
“I remark the whole orchestra which has offered the total energy and attention, realising a splendid interpretation.”
- Vincenzo Balzani