Balanescu Quartet Album Launch Event

22nd March 2005

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Balanescu Quartet: Maria T Music by Alexander Balanescu Tuesday 22 March 2005 18.30 – 20.30 International House London 106, Piccadilly, W1J 7NL (see map here) Tube: Green Park, Hyde Park Corner Buses: 8, 9, 14, 19, 22, 38 Click here to see images from this event. Press Conference and Recital Alexander Balanescu & Balanescu Quartet Alexander Balanescu will sign copies of the new album. BALANESCU QUARTET – MARIA T Mute, CDSTUMM242; To be released 28 March 2005 New album and back catalogue available at the venue. Entrance is FREE but advance booking is necessary, due to limited space. Please confirm at or Tel. 020 7439 4052, if you are able to join us. Those who have already confirmed, please ignore this reminder. Album launch followed by reception with Romanian wine from Cotnari and traditional food. Sponsored by Western Union Supported by Mute and International House London Organised by The Romanian Cultural Centre in London RCC is an independent association that promotes Romanian cultural programs, maintains connections within the Romanian community in Britain, facilitates cultural exchanges between Britain and Romania and maintains an information and data base service. (RCC, 7th floor, 54 - 62 Regent Street, London W1B 5RE) For more information on Balanescu Quartet please visit Mute’s web site at You can read a review of ‘Maria T’ in The Guardian at,,1405527,00.html BALANESCU QUARTET – MARIA T The first album since 2000's ‘Il Partigiano Gionni’ (Virgin Music Italy) and the first Mute release since 1995's ‘Angels and Insects’ soundtrack, ‘Maria T’ is a re-connection with Alexander Balanescu's Romanian roots evoking the spirit of one of his earliest musical influences, the glamorous and iconic folk-singer and actress Maria Tanase (1913-63). Hailed as Romania’s Edith Piaf, Maria Tanase led a life of contradiction which mirrored her country’s troubled history and also connected with something timeless. Alexander Balanescu explains the concept: "Following on from my work on the album ‘Luminitza', for which I took elements of Eastern European folk music as sources of inspiration for new musical material, on this particular project I took the songs of Maria Tanase as a basis for new compositions. My intention was not to make transcriptions or arrangements of the ethnic material, but through my own particular musical perspective, (with its classical, jazz, electronic, and generally very eclectic influences) to develop a new personal language, but always remaining true to the spirit of the original source material." ’Maria T’, Alexander Balanescu’s personal homage to Maria Tanase, was conceived as a multi-media experience, reflecting his interest in mixed-media performance. ALEXANDER BALANESCU – short biography Alexander Balanescu was born in Romania in 1950 the son of a University lecturer who moved his family to Israel in 1969 to escape the oppressive regime of communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. As a result Alexander lived a globe trotting life, studying the violin in London and at the Julliard school in New York before returning to the UK, where he joined the Arditti Quartet. Whilst Balanescu greatly enjoyed this experience he was also aware that the Arditti Quartet were only performing to a small group of people that consisted mainly of music critics and other composers. In 1987, Alexander Balanescu left the Arditti Quartet to form his own Balanescu Quartet, which has gone on to acquire a reputation as one of the world’s leading contemporary music groups. Collaborators have included Michael Nyman, Gavin Bryars, Ornette Coleman, Peter Greenaway, David Byrne, the Pet Shop Boys, Spiritualized, Kate Bush and Kraftwerk.