Constantin Silvestri


Born: May 13, 1913 Died: February 23, 1969
Constantin Silvestri was a major conductor on the British scene, known in particular as a talented orchestra builder.

As a boy in Romania, his musical talents developed quickly. He made his first public appearance as a pianist at the age of ten. He studied piano and composition at Bucharest Conservatory.

He began his career as a pianist, but had the opportunity to conduct the Bucharest Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1930. This debut was a success, and convinced Silvestri to pursue conducting as a career. In 1935 he joined the conducting staff of the Bucharest Opera, rising eventually to becoming its music director. In 1945 he also became music director of the Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra.

He joined the faculty of the Bucharest Conservatory in 1948, teaching conducting. He received a State Prize for conducting in 1952. He became a frequent conductor, mainly in "friendly Socialist countries" such as the Soviet Union and others in Eastern Europe.

Silvestri left Romania in 1956 and settled in Paris. In 1957 he made his debut in Britain on January 25, 1957, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall. He made a strong impression, leading to his being appointed to lead the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in 1961. He moved to Bournemouth and became a naturalized citizen of the United Kingdom in 1967. He made his debut at Covent Garden in Mussorgsky's Khovanschina.

Silvestri gained a strong reputation in Britain with his strong, precise performances and his strong sympathies to British music. His conducting style stressed the individual expression of the sections and soloists of the orchestra. He was also admired for raising standards of the Bournemouth Orchestra even while the organization was facing recurrent financial problems, and is credited with establishing the status it still enjoys as a major respected British orchestra.
Picture for category Silvestri, Constantin