Balanescu Quartet

Turin – IT

  • 21.12.2023
  • 21:30
  • Folk Club
  • Buy


The acuteness in seeing the like in the different; the delicacy, lucidity and poetry with which, combining pieces of music and tradition, is able to transpose the history of a people into music and to involve the public in a real journey that from the village festivals of the East leads to the presence of robots and lights of the West … these are the admirable skills that make Alexander Bălănescu one of the absolute masters of contemporary popular music. Prolific composer and one of the most visionary and exciting violinists of our time, Bălănescu rejects the divisions between different musical fields and his stature leads him to collaborate with Michael Nyman, Gavin Bryars, David Byrne, Kraftwerk, Pet Shop Boys, Jack De Johnette, Ornette Coleman, John Surman, to appear as a guest in “Big Bang Theory” by Carla Bley,  as in albums by Goldfrapp, Gianna Nanini, Malika, To Rococo Rot, Stateless, Spiritualized, Rabih Abou Khalil, The Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, Kate Bush and Grace Jones. The Balanescu Quartet was born in 1987 in Romania from the idea of the virtuoso Bălănescu. The formation recreates the classic string quartet, but with an original idea: to adapt the traditional form of the formation to a repertoire as wide and varied as possible. The ultimate goal of the Balanescu Quartet is to bring classical music closer to the contemporary, both musically and publicly. Eclecticism is the key word: the quartet performs arrangements of pieces by artists already known but very far from the style of chamber music. Their repertoire ranges from the electronic pop music of Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk (the Quartet’s famous transpositions of the songs “The Robots“, “The Model”, “Autobahn“, “Computer Love” and “Pocket Calculator“) or the Yellow Magic Orchestra, to the reinterpretations of more niche artists such as Michael Nyman, the Pet Shop Boys, John Lurie or Kate Bush. This is what is contained in their first album “Possessed” of 1992, whose rearranged songs are still re-proposed by the Quartet in live concerts. Another strong point of the Balanescu Quartet is the crossover created with popular music from Eastern Europe, which makes it a totally innovative experiment in the music scene. After the first tour in Romania, Alexander Bălănescu, creative mind and composer of the quartet, rediscovers the charm of the popular music of his homeland, deciding to combine it with the sounds of classical music. This mixture of genres gives rise to “Luminitza” (1994). In 1995 the Quartet composed the soundtrack of the film “Angels & Insects” by Philip Haas, while in 1997 they collaborated with the English rock band Spiritualized for the album “Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space”. In 2000 the quartet edited the soundtrack of the film “Il Partigiano Johhny” by Guido Chiesa, based on the homonymous novel by Beppe Fenoglio. The group’s love for Romanian folk music and for the figure of the singer Maria Tănase, called the ‘Edith Piaf of Bucharest’, leads to the realization of a show focused solely on the figure of the singer. This is the project “Maria T.” in which the Austrian Klaus Obermaier, an extravagant artist and electronic musician who blends music and video images in his shows and creator of numerous multimedia and cross-media works, collaborates. From the project, in 2005, a self-titled album was born and the show was also presented in Italy, at the Piccolo Regio theater in Turin, in November of the same year. After having curated in 2012 the soundtrack of the film “Diaz – Don’t Clean Up This Blood” by Daniele Vicari, the Balanescu Quartet returns in 2020 with a collaboration for the album “Forever” by Francesco Bianconi, frontman of the Italian band Baustelle. The Quartet arranges the strings in some songs of the album such as “Il bene“, “L’abisso“, “Go!“, “Fàika Llìl Wnhàr“, “Zuma Beach“, “Certi Uomini“, “Assassinio dilettante” and “Forever“.

  • Share