Michael Radulescu

Radulescu Headshot

Coming from a family of musicians, Michael Radulescu was born in 1943 as the son of a Romanian father and a German mother. After receiving his first musical education from his parents and after his first attempts at composition, he commences his organ studies with Victor Bickerich in 1956 and begins studying composition with Mihail Jora, a prominent pupil of Max Reger, in 1957. After attending the Salzburg summer academy “Mozarteum” in 1964 and 1965 (organ with Anton Nowakowski, harpsichord with Anna Barbara Speckner, and conducting with Carl Melles), he continues his studies at the Vienna Academy (today University) of Music and Performing Arts in the organ class of Anton Heiller and in the conducting class of Hans Swarovsky and Karl Österreicher.
Since his début in 1959, Radulescu has been widely in demand as a performer, giving concerts throughout Europe as well as in Northern America, Australia, South-Korea and Japan. Michael Radulescu is regularly invited in Europe and overseas to give guest lectures and master classes, focusing mainly upon the interpretation and elucidation of Bach’s organ and great choral works as seen in their significance today.

Since 1968 he has been professor for organ at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. From 1971 through 1990 he conducted the annual organ master classes in the Principality of Liechtenstein, and from 1977 through 1987 he taught at the International Southern German/Austrian Organ Academy in Innsbruck/Tyrol. Since 1990 Radulescu has been conducting the International BACH Organ and Cantata Academy at the famous organ by Jürgen AHREND (1985) in the former Jesuit Church in Porrentruy, Switzerland. Radulescu conducts international ensembles in rehearsal and interpretation of great vocal works with great dedication. This was especially the case in the events organised by “Pro Musica” and “AXIANE” in Porrentruy, where he has performed all of BACH’s great oratorios, the b-minor Mass, the major cantatas and motets as well as Handel’s “MESSIAH”. This cycle was completed in 2001 with Bach’s “Art of Fugue” and the “Musical Offering”. During this time Radulescu recorded without any technical manipulation Bach’s complete works for organ at this location, which he highly regards, and at his preferred instrument. The project of recording Bach’s organ music was finally accomplished in February 2004. Noteworthy is also the highly appreciated cycle of Beethoven’s Symphonies on historical instruments conducted by Michael Radulescu at the Jesuit Church of Porrentruy from 2002 to 2004.

As a composer, Michael Radulescu was strongly influenced in his youth by Hindemith,  later by Webern, Carl Orff, Ligeti and Olivier Messiaen as well as by the European medieval music and its spirituality. He has written sacred music, works for organ, voice and organ, choral and chamber music and orchestral works. His Passion for double chorus, two orchestras, alto and bass soloists “Leiden und Tod unsres Herrn und Heilands Jeusus Christus” written in 2002/2003 had its world premiere in March 2003 in the Graz Cathedral and marks so far the high light in Radulescu’s career as a composer.

Since 1970 Michael Radulescu is in demand as a jury member in international competitions and as an editor of early and ancient organ music (medieval music, works by Paul Hofhaymer, Nicolaus Bruhns, Georg Muffat). His reconstruction of the incompletely preserved electoral cantata “Ihr Tore zu Zion”, BWV 193, by J.S. Bach was published in 1999.

Michael Radulescu’s works and editions are published by Doblinger Vienna-Munich.

Michael Radulescu’s conception of music is generally defined by early and most ancient music and its direct impact on our present time. He conceives of the organ as an entity which is capable of reflecting in a visionary and lively manner the harmony and the laws underlying the universe. For him, music is primarily spiritual and religious. His art enables him, alone at his instrument, or together with other musicians, to fill complex, advanced musical structures, as in Bach, with immediate, living energy which is drawn from the work itself and from its rhythmic/harmonic substance.