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Bucharest Symphony Orchestra

John Axelrod and Classeek announce the start of the SCHUMANN 41/51 project: a recording session and a concert at the Romanian Athenaeum

The Bucharest Symphony Orchestra and Principal Conductor John Axelrod are honoured to announce the start of the SCHUMANN 41/51 project and the continuation of their artistic partnership with Classeek, offering professional recording sessions and engagements for Classeek Ambassador soloists to promote their careers.

Violin soloist, Classeek Ambassador and a young artist on the rise, Bilal Alnemr from Syria will record for commercial release and perform Johannes de Brahms' Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77, alongside established artists such as John Axelrod and the Bucharest Symphony Orchestra at the Romanian Athenaeum as part of the SCHUMANN 41/51 project.

John Axelrod, the Bucharest Symphony Orchestra and Bilal Alnemr will perform the extraordinary concert at the Romanian Athenaeum, Tuesday, 22 March, 7 pm.

Entitled SCHUMANN 41/51 - Florestan and Eusebius, the project will offer the opportunity to discover or rediscover Schumann's music. Schumann's classical music in the Romantic style was influenced by his bipolar disorder and the Symphony No. 4, in the 1841/1851 versions is an example of this, having been composed and rewritten at a time when the composer was struggling with the symptoms of this disorder. The audience will hear both versions of Schumann's Symphony IV: the original version, the one composed and premiered in 1841 and published almost 50 years later by Johannes Brahms, and the revised 1851 version, championed and protected by his widow Clara Schumann. Both versions of the same 4th Symphony offer insight that tells the story of the two people who loved Robert Schumann most and how these two versions reflect Schumann's dual nature. The love between Robert Schumann and Clara Wieck Schumann is an endearing story that celebrates their music, muse and marriage. It survived parental disapproval, gossip and feeling uncomfortable in social situations to become one of the great romances in the world of classical music. For Robert and Clara Schumann, the universal language of music was their personal language of love. Schumann allowed his music to speak the depth of love he had for Clara. In their first year of marriage, he wrote more than 130 songs for voice and piano. These were inspired by his feelings for her during their courtship and their new life together. Audiences listened to the music of Robert and Clara Schumann but only few know that music contained secret messages from the composer to his muse, such as thematic material that spelled her name or works dedicated to or named for her. He often included the interval of a downward fifth to represent her because it had been part of a theme in one of her own compositions. Both of them used music as an extension of their deepest thoughts. On the other hand, Robert Schumann called himself “Florestan” and “Eusebius”, these being two different personalities representing the composer's emotional opposites. Bipolar disorder, also known as bipolar affective disorder, is a psychiatric condition characterised by frequent mood swings, from periods of euphoria to periods of depression. The condition can have a severe impact on a person's life, affecting relationships, daily activities and the ability to work or learn. Robert Schumann's music was influenced by this condition and his symphony can be seen as an expression of this. The project represents the artists' joint effort to portray Schumann's creation and to better understand his affection and its impact on his life and music.

The Bucharest Symphony Orchestra is honoured to contribute to the careers of the Classeek Ambassadors and reaffirms its gratitude to both Catarina Amon, founder of Classeek, and John Axelrod, principal conductor, for this artistic partnership.

Maestro Axelrod shares his reasons: “After recording the Brahms Symphonies and Clara Schumann’s lieder, I became deeply immersed in Robert Schumann’s life, his love, and his long struggle of mental health. While so much of his music and writings reflected his bi-polar condition, these two versions, one written during a manic year of creative output, the other in the depths of his emotional despair, offer, to me, the most telling portrait of this radical romantic person. While it was endlessly interesting to me, my hope is to share this musical discovery with my fellow musicians and our audience. Perhaps we might all then learn something new about the man who remains for many a mystery.”

Catarina Amon, Classeek, says: "We are also proud of our partnership and the opportunity we are offering young artists dear to us, who we know will be in good hands."

Cătălin Oprițoiu, President of the Bucharest Symphony Orchestra Association, says: "We are honoured and extremely happy to continue this partnership with Classeek and to offer a new perspective on Schumann's music, and as far as the collaboration with Bilal Alnemr is concerned, it becomes a certainty that young talents are promoted worldwide in a world open to culture."

Partners: Romanian Athenaeum, City Hall of Sector 3

Media partners: Radio Romania, Europa FM, Media Advertising