Romanian music is as varied and surprising as Romania’s multicultural heritage. From classical music to funky jazz and Balkan-influenced rhythms, Romanian musicians embrace a diversity of styles and genres, often reinterpreting traditional themes in their compositions. We explore Romania’s top musical voices, from composer George Enescu to opera diva Angela Gheorghiu.
George Enescu (1881-1955) is considered to be the most important Romanian musician of all time. Having dreamed of being a composer from a very young age, Enescu began his studies at the Music Conservatory in Vienna before moving to Paris. Graduating early at the age of 17, the young artist embarked on an outstanding career as a composer, violinist, pianist and conductor, performing on the most important stages in Europe and the United States. He was a mentor to great violinists such as Christian Ferras, Ivry Gitlis, and Yehudi Menuhin, for whom Enescu remained “one of the true wonders of the world.” In memory of the artist, the George Enescu Festival has been organized every year since 1958 in Bucharest. More than 120,000 spectators attended the 2013 edition of the festival, with more than 4,000 artists performing during the event that lasted for the whole month of September.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
One of the most famous Romanian conductors of the 20th century, Sergiu Celibidache (1912-1996) started playing the piano at an early age, proving his outstanding talent that ultimately led him to pursue a course in music in Berlin during the difficult times of the Second World War. His career spans over 50 years, during which he conducted over 400 concerts with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Berlin and further performances with the Scala Orchestra of Milan, the Radio Orchestra of Stuttgart, the National Orchestra of Paris, London Philharmonic Orchestra, and numerous collaborations in Sweden and Denmark, all bringing him a great number of European awards. In the last years of his life, he managed to transform the Munich Philharmonics into a world-class, leading orchestra in the realm of classical music.
Also known as the Romanian Edith Piaf (1913-1963), Maria Tanase remains an iconic figure on Romania’s music scene to this day. A folklore singer with an unmistakable voice and tonality, Tanase gained fame and appreciation in the 1930s, and quickly rose to stardom, becoming a living legend for her unmistakable, assertive voice. Renowned for her dramatic songs, she was, to many Romanians, a musical icon. Hundreds of thousands of fans flooded Bucharest’s streets during her touching funeral in 1963.
Johnny Raducanu (1931-2011) was one the best-known, charismatic, and talented Romanian jazz musicians, also known as the “Romanian Mr. Jazz.” Born into a Roma family whose musical tradition went back three centuries, Raducanu showed remarkable talent from an early age that ultimately led to a decades-long, inspiring artistic journey. He managed to release several albums during Romania’s communist period and toured the U.S. with the support of American organizations. Until the last days of his life, Raducanu remained one of the legendary presences in Bucharest’s jazz bars, playing anything from classics such as Ellington or Mingus, to his own arrangements, influenced by Romanian folklore.
Known as the “King of the Pan Flute,” Gheorghe Zamfir (b. 1941) has an impressive track record, having sold over 40 million recordings and with five decades of world-class performances under his belt. His success is all the more surprising considering the secondary status given to his instrument of choice; nevertheless, Gheorghe Zamfir managed to bring the flute the fore. His repertoire is an authentic musical journey, which passes through gypsy influence, Romanian folklore, and classical music. He transforms the notes, twists the compositions, and makes the sound his own.
Radu Lupu (b. 1945) is one of the most important Romanian contemporary pianists, distinguishing himself as “a leading interpreter of the works of Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, and Schubert.” He first began playing the piano at the age of six, only to win a scholarship to the Moscow State Conservatory 10 years later. He spent seven years there, studying with a number of renowned musicians, including Heinrich Neuhaus. A regular presence on the international classical music scene, Radu Lupu still performs in some of the most prestigious concert venues worldwide, from Japan to the United States.
Known as the fastest brass band in the world, the 12-member Ciocarlia was discovered by German sound engineer Henry Ernst who, in 1996, visited the small eastern Romanian village of Zece Prajini, famous for having the highest numbers of brass bands in the country. Since then, Ciocarlia toured the world with over 1,000 concerts, culminating in their 2006 win of the prestigious BBC Radio 3 World Music Award. Playing Romani-inspired music with Romanian folklore and vivid Balkan influences, Ciocarlia inspired an award-winning documentary and performed at the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony.
Angela Gheorghiu (b. 1965) is perhaps the best-known contemporary Romanian voice and one of the leading opera singers today. She made a memorable international debut in 1992 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden singing La Boheme and, since then, she has performed on the world’s major stages from New York to Paris, and from Berlin to Sao Paulo, to name just a few. One of the most acclaimed sopranos in the world, Gheorghiu won numerous awards, including the “Star of Romania,” Romania’s most prestigious cultural award, and the Nihil Sine Deo award, bestowed by Romania’s royal family. A tireless ambassador of her native country, in 2013 Gheorghiu released a touching album of Romanian Christmas Carols recorded together with the National Radio Orchestra.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.