The Kennedy Center

Georges Enesco


Georges Enesco, famous Romanian violinist, conductor, teacher and composer, was born in Liveni-Virnav on August 19, 1881. He began playing the piano when he was 4, taking lessons with a Gypsy violinist, Nicolas Chioru, and composing when he was 5.

On August 5, 1889, Enesco made his formal debut as a violinist in Slanic, Moldavia. At the time he was studying violin with S. Bachrich, J. Grun, and J. Hellmesberger, Jr. at the Conservatory of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna. He also studied piano with L. Ernst; harmony, counterpoint and composition with R. Fuchs; chamber music with J. Hellmesberger, Sr.; and music history with A. Prosnitz. He won first prizes in violin and harmony in 1892. After his graduation from the Conservatory in 1894, he enrolled at the Paris Conservatory where he studied violin with Marsick and J. White, harmony with Dubois and Thomas, counterpoint with Gedalge, composition with Faure and Massenet, and early music with Diemer, and graduating with the premier prix for violin in 1899.

On June 11, 1897, he presented in Paris a concert of his works. It attracted the attention of Colonne, who brought out the composer's Op.1, Poeme roumain the following year. Enesco also launched his conducting career in Bucharest in 1898.

In 1902 he appeared as a violinist in Berlin, and on March 8, 1903, he conducted the premiere of his 2 Romanian Rhapsodies in Bucharest, the first becoming his most celebrated work. He was appointed court violinist to the Queen of Romania soon thereafter. After World War I, he made major tours as a violinist and conductor and taught violin in Paris. He made his American debut as a conductor, violinist and composer with the Philadelphia Orchestra in New York in 1923 and returned to conduct the New York Philharmonic in 1937. In conducted two concerts at the New York World's Fair in 1939. During WWII he returned to live on his farm near Bucharest. In 1950 during the 60th anniversary season of his debut as a violinist, he gave a farewell concert with the New York Philharmonic. The program included his first Romanian Rhapsody (conducting the orchestra). He returned to Paris and on July 1954 he suffered a stroke and remained incapacitated until his death in 1955.
Georges Enesco


  • Violin Sonata No. 3 ("On Popular Romanian Themes")
  • Romanian Rhapsody in A major, Op. 11, No. 1