The Romanian composer, Hilda Jerea (1919-1980) was a triple threat, with her working as a concert pianist, teacher and composer. She studied in a variety of different European cities including Bucharest, Paris and Budapest. As a composer, she studied under the likes of Mohail Jora and Leó Weiner. Moreover, as an up and coming concert pianist, Jerea studied under the likes of Florica Musicescu and Pál Kadosa.
After establishing her career as a concert pianist and occasional composer, Jerea begun teaching younger generations. She worked at the School of Arts in Bucharest, as well as at the Academy and then at the Union of Romanian Composers. At this time in her career, Jerea put composition near the bottom of her priority list, and instead focused her attention on performance and pedagogy. In the last twenty years of her life, Jerea founded and conducted Musica Nova, which was an ensemble dedicated to promoting young composers and avant garde works.
As a composer, Jerea went through various stylistic changes until she found her style. For instance her compositions from the 1940s resembles that of post-Romantic works, with them engaging with long melody lines and largely functional tonality. However, from the 1960s onwards, Jerea’s compositions became more liberated as she begun experimenting with serial techniques.
Jerea’s best-known composition is Sub soarele deşteptării (Under the Wake Up Sun), which is a large-scale oratorio composed in 1951. Other works she composed include Suita în stil românesc (1939), Casa Bernardei Alba (The House of Bernarda Alba) (1966) and Dansuri româneşti (1946). Over the span of her musical career, Jerea was awarded the State Prize of Romania and the Order of Labour - two highly commendable achievements.
As part of the Illuminate concert series, Hilda Jerea’s Dansuri româneşti (for violin and piano) will be performed. Many of her works are seldom played, so this is certainly an opportunity not to be missed. In the Illuminate concerts you will hear the movements: 1. Cântec de joc 5. Cântec de joc 7. Din Drâmboaie. In the clip below you can hear a short clip from movement 1 played by Sabina Virtosu to tantalize your ears!
ⒸAlex Burns 2018
Alex Burns (BMus MA) is currently working as a freelance trumpeter, writer, teacher and arts marketing professional. Her specialisms are the life and works of Gustav Mahler, as well as the works and lost stories of women composers. She runs the No. 1 classical music blog in the world, and aims to make classical music more accessible to the masses.
Dr Helen Thomas