Founded in 1868, The Romanian Philharmonic Society later became the “George Enescu” Philharmonic, the most famous musical institution in Romania. The Philharmonic Society was then conducted by Eduard Wachmann who aimed to create a permanent symphonic orchestra in order to promote musical culture and to popularize classical music masterpieces.
When the Palace of the Romanian Athenaeum was inaugurated, on the 5th of March 1889, concerts began to be held in this hall and the Romanian Athenaeum became the headquarters of the Philharmonic and at the same time a symbol of Bucharest. Wachmann managed the institution until 1907, being followed by Dimitrie Dinicu (1868-1936) and George Georgescu (1887-1964), one of the most remarcable Romanian conductors, who studied with Arthur Nikisch. During his tenures (1920-1944; 1954-1964), the repertoire became modern, and the Philharmonic entered the international music world. During this time, the Philharmonic participated to its first tour abroad and invited the performance of great personalities of the inter-war musical period such as Jacques Thibaud, Pablo Casals, Igor Stravinski, Enrico Mainardi, Alfred Cortot, Maurice Ravel, Richard Strauss, Yehudi Menuhin, Herbert von Karajan. George Enescu made some of the first and extraordinary recordings with the Philharmonic Orchestra, such as the complete symphonies by Beethoven.
After the war, the institution extended its activity, under the direction of Constantin Silvestri and George Georgescu: the academic choir was established as well as various chamber ensembles (from orchestra to piano trio). George Georgescu also conducted the Philharmonic Orchestra in the memorable concerts held in the first editions of the „George Enescu” International Festival. After the death of George Enescu in 1955, the Philharmonic was awarded his name. The institution was subsequently managed by Constantin Silvestri, Mircea Basarab, Dumitru Capoianu, Ion Voicu, Mihai Brediceanu. After the fall of the communist regime, The Philharmonic regained its former glory under the batton of general director Cristian Mandeal, with Nicolae Licaret as artistic director. During the management period of first conductor Cristian Mandeal (1991-2010) The Philharmonic’s Orchestra recorded the complete symphonic works of George Enescu and Johannes Brahms. Besides performing symphonic and chamber concerts (approximately 300 per year), the Philharmonic has recorded dozens of LPs and CDs and has had famous tours in Europe, Asia, and the Far East, earning international fame.