Artist: Constantin Sandu
João de Sousa Carvalho, João Domingos Bontempo, Armando José Fernandes, Cláudio Carneyro, Filipe de Soura, George Enescu
Born in Bucharest, Romania, the Luso-Romanian pianist Constantin Sandu has studied with Sonia Ratescu, Constantin Nitu and later on under the guidance of the reputed professor and pianist Constantin Ionescu-Vovu at the “C. Porumbescu” Higher Conservatory of Music of Bucharest.
He had master classes with and received advice from personalities such as Sequeira Costa, Dimitri Bashkirov, Helena Sá e Costa and Tania Achot.
He has lived in Portugal since 1991 and currently teaches the piano at the Porto Higher School of Music and the Performing Arts.
At the age of 14, he started his career as a soloist with orchestra. Since then, he has been involved in an intense musical activity – recitals, chamber music and concerts with orchestra – in several European and Asian countries, having had favourable appreciation from both the critics and the public.
He has received several international prizes, such as: 2nd at the Senigallia Competition, Italy – 1980, 1st at the “Viotti-Valsesia” Competition, Italy – 1981, Honourable mention at the “Paloma O’Shea” Competition in Santander, Spain – 1984, 2nd at the Epinal Competition, France – 1985, 3rd and Special “Alberto Mozzatti” Award at the “Maria Canals” Competition in Barcelona, Spain – 1985.
He has participated in important Festivals, namely: “Enescu” – Bucharest, “Chopin” – Paris, Santander, “Primavera de Sevilla”, “Ciudad de Ayamonte”.
He is a regular guest soloist of the most significant Romanian orchestras, such as: “George Enescu” – Bucharest, “Transilvania” – Cluj, “Oltenia” – Craiova Philharmonics, and the Symphonic Orchestra of the Romanian Broadcasting. He has also played with noteworthy European orchestras, as for instance: “Arthur Rubinstein” – Lodz, Halle Philharmonic, Bodensee Orchestra – Konstanz, National Orchestra of Belarus, Symphonic Orchestra of Radio-television of Kiev, National Philharmonic of Moldavia and National Orchestra of Porto.
He has played with renowned conductors, such as: Cristian Mandeal, Horia Andreescu, Ludovic Bacs, Emanuel Elenescu, Ilya Stupel, Thomas Koncz, Victor Dubrovski, Emil Hatchaturian, Elena Herrera, Meir Minsky, Mark Stephenson, Heribert Beissel, Johen Wehner, Lobert E. Luther and Didier Benetti.
He has given several master classes, among which the ones within the “Porto International Music Courses” 1998 and the “Celebrating the great pianists” festival in Aveiro 2001 are to be noted.
He was a member of the jury of the following International Competitions: “Vianna da Motta” — Lisbon, Portugal 2001, “Cidade do Porto” — Porto, Portugal 1996, 1998 and 2003, “Viotti-Valsesia” — Italy 1995, “Pinerollo-Cittá della cavalleria” — Italy 1994 and 1996, “Helena Sá e Costa” — Aveiro, Portugal 2004 and “Florinda Santos” — São João de Madeira, Portugal 2004.
He has made numerous recordings for the radio and television as well as on CD. In 2001, a CD was published with the live recording of a Beethoven recital, which had been held in November 2000 at the Arabian Hall of the Porto Stock Exchange. The renowned British magazine “Piano Journal” paid tribute to his performance by saying: “Constantin Sandu’s approach is serious, respectful and objective, yet his sensitive personality helps him give a very personal though valid account of three of Beethoven’s best-known opuses: 53, 57 and 129.”
Within “Porto 2001 — European Capital of Culture”, he performed Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Porto National Orchestra, under the direction of Mark Tardue. This performance was integrated in an all-Rachmaninov-Concertos programme, in which he participated together with Vladimir Viardo, Sequeira Costa e Artur Pizarro. The echoes of the press sounded: “Showing the technical security and the maturity of a consummate pianist, Constantin Sandu gave us a concerto full of expression and emotion. His personalized interpretation, to which an unusual intelligence in conducting the great expressive lines of the opus is no stranger, combined the right amount of temperament and lyricism.”
The recital he held in the 13th Spring Festival of Seville, in June 2002, was favourably reviewed in “Diario de Sevilla” under the title “Romanticism and the sense of colour” in which he was considered “a musician of an undoubted personality, (…) a magnificent sense of colour and rhythm, together with undeniable virtuosity (…)”. The same year, he recorded another CD with works of Albeniz and Gershwin.
Among his performances in 2004, the most relevant ones happened in the Concert Hall of the Romanian Broadcasting of Bucharest, at the prestigious International Festival “Ciudad de Ayamonte”, where he played the 5th Concerto by Beethoven with the National Philharmonic of Moldavia conducted by Robert E. Luther, and as a guest soloist of the “George Enescu” Philharmonic from Bucharest, where he played the 1st Concerto by Liszt under the guidance of the French conductor Didier Benetti. He recorded a CD with Portuguese piano music in the autumn 2004.
In 2005 he performed once more in the Spring Festival of Seville, having been praised by the critics of the daily paper ABC: “a superb pianist, dominating the legato, the pedal, the balance and the form (…) a masterful hue and delicacy (…) irreproachable mastery. Overwhelming”.