Romanian composer, interpreter, and pioneer Iancu Dumitrescu has long been a leading personality in contemporary and experimental music. His work is based on the experience of sound as enigmatic, amorphous, and massive.
Dumitrescu was born in Sibiu in 1944 and studied composition, philosophy, and conducting in Bucharest. His work has been most fundamentally inspired by two concepts: teacher Sergiu Celibidache’s principle of phenomenology, and the idea of acousmatics, which can be described as “the art of disguising a sonic source” and as a metaphor for sound as a material with an infinite, cryptic alchemy.
Dumitrescu is most closely associated with the Romanian spectralist movement in contemporary music. As opposed to French structuralist spectralism marked by the work of Gerard Grisey or Tristan Murail, Dumitrescu’s ‘transformational’, ‘acousmatic’, or ‘hyper-’spectralism emphasizes the shift towards a cooperative, non-hierarchical process shared between composer, performer and living sound. He is the husband and long-term collaborator of Ana-Maria Avram, also a spectralist composer. They are both the founders and conductors of the international Hyperion Ensemble.
Stephen O’Malley has described Dumitrescu and Avram as “wizards…conjuring up controlled explosions of fiery sound from the members of the orchestra” and “alternately threatened to bring about the apocalypse or sooth us gently.” As composers, they have been lauded for their courage to make music “based entirely on timbre but stripped of any impulse towards hyper-rationalism, or nature-conquering engineering.” (Guillaume Ollendorff)