Time out of time: the festival that happened – Classix Festival 2021

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The second edition of the Classix Festival took place in Iași, between March 14-18, 2021 and after a long break in the cultural and concert life of music lovers, it illustrated a collective celebration of authentic human feelings. The independent project was made entirely from private funding and from the belief of the young organizers that Iasi deserves and needs another landmark on the cultural map of the country, assumed and developed in its own time.

The festival operated in hybrid form, in line with the pandemic norms and regulations, and the concerts benefited from the physical participation of 30% of the venue capacity, respectively 537 spectators in total in the five evenings of concerts. The live video broadcasts of the events on the social platforms of the organizers had over 62,000 views.

The wide openness of the festival’s activities to its audiences offers the conviction that classical music can resonate with the sets of values ​​of the young generations and that it is accessible to all those who are curious to turn their attention and ear to it.

The atypical locations where the concerts took place aroused the public’s interest for the opportunity to enjoy classical music in various contexts: the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Iași, the Palace of Culture, the Hall of the Technical University „Gh. Asachi ”and the Hall of the Central University Library“ Mihai Eminescu ”from Iași. Accompanying the music with an original lighting design and video projections is the contemporary signature on the entire concert experience, thus defining the interdisciplinary and syncretic character promoted at Classix.

Behind the curtain

Two days after the end of the festival, on March 20, the city of Iasi entered the red scenario, and all performance halls were closed until April 2.

Patricia Butucel, director of the festival, says: “We thank the supporters and partners who believed in us, so that this private initiative can take place and spread its wings. I still can’t believe how lucky I was to have another safe festival, in the middle of a pandemic. But as much as I am happy and excited about what it was, I am so saddened by the consequences of the current situation on the entire cultural sector and events. An industry stopped and hit for more than a year. It has now been confirmed to me that following the norms and sets of rules can be the solution to letting things happen. The physical audience (30%) was thermoscanned, stood apart and with a mask, our team was tested for Covid, some of them already had the vaccine done, and the invited artists had 3 PCR tests. Despite all the obstacles, it was worth it. I saw happy people: both on stage and in the hall, and regarding the team, there’s nothing more I can add. We had a saying from the first day: “Do you realize how honored we are to have the stress of organizing an event?”.

On stage

The concept of this edition represented timelessness and was illustrated in the themes of concerts and in their program through an impressive variety of musical opuses, international soloists, ensembles and semantic areas – from the notion of time in eternity, to musical openings, meetings between tango and jazz and even mergers under the aegis of Enescu.

The artists invited to the Classix 2021 edition were: Alexander Krichel (Germany) – piano, Rémi Jousselme (France) – guitar, Kristina Vocetková (Czech Republic) – cello, Milan Řehák (Czech Republic) – accordion, Artio Trio (Austria): Christine Roider – cello, Johanna Estermann – piano, Judith Fliedl – violin, as well as Romanian artists: Filip Papa – cello, Andrei Chirilă – violin, Mihai Ailenei – clarinet and Dragoș Cantea – piano. The presence of international artists on the festival stages was supported by the Romanian cultural centers: the Austrian Cultural Forum, the Czech Center in Bucharest, the French Institute in Iasi and the German Cultural Center in Iasi.

Among the compositions performed were: Olivier Messiaen: Quatuor Pour La Fin Du Temps, for the first time in Iași, Arvo Pärt: Spiegel im spiegel, George Enescu: Suite Nr. 2 for piano in D major, op. 10, Antonín Dvořák: Trio Nr. 4 in E minor, op. 90 “Dumky”, as well as works signed by Astor Piazzolla, Joaquin Turina, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Modest Musorgski.

The online events

During the festival, the book “A Magic Year. Classical music for every daywas launched. Written by Clemency Burton-Hill, translated by Ana Maria Onisei, it is the first book to popularize classical music in Romania. The launch was moderated by Cătălin Sava in dialouge with Berti Barbera – musician and publicist, Cristina Stănciulescu – journalist, Dragoș Cantea – concert pianist and Ana Maria Onisei – translator of the volume and journalist, who mentions: “It was an honor to be able to translate this book into Romanian and for the book launch event to take place during a classical music festival such as Classix, which aims the same thing: to talk about classical music in our language and bring it closer to the public.”

The Classix-In-Focus series also took place at this edition of the festival with two panels on the theme of  Nordic cultural entrepreneurship and Steinway & Sounds piano philosophy. The speakers were Gisle Daus – general manager of Steinway Piano Gallery Oslo, Anna Ranczakowska – leader of

Scandinavian Act-in-Art Network in Tallinn and Eline Melgalvis – Cultural Adviser of the Dextra Foundation of DNB Sparebankstiftelsen in Oslo. The two panels were organized with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Norway in Romania and the Norwegian-Romanian Chamber of Commerce.

“Through an extraordinary adaptability and with feasible scenarios according to all potential colors of the cultural traffic light, Classix 2021 was a red-yellowish blessing. Illustrating the love of knowledge, this chromatic nuance guided us to new artistic heights under the concept of timelessness and rebirth. Classix advocates for discipline, mutual respect and excellence innovation, demonstrating its potential in full pandemic, becoming today a vast independent experience of classical music in Romania. ”, mentions Dragoș Cantea, concert pianist and artistic director of the festival.

All video recordings of the concerts and festival events can be viewed online at Classix Festival Facebook page until April 15.

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