The manufacture of musical instruments in Reghin is more than seven decades old, a story started by Roman Boianciuc, who in the early 50s laid the foundations of the department where he would build the first violins in Reghin.
The story was carried forward by the apprentices of Master Boianciuc, among whom we remember Nicolae Ciurba, Florea Precup, Ioan Luca, Nagy Pavel, who in 1990 laid the foundations of the Association of Romanian Luthiers (AALR).
The association marked the 70 years of violin making in Romania last year through a large-scale event aimed at promoting the violin and its passionate makers. The story continues in 2022, the year that established the second edition of “SoundCraft – Music & Art Festival”, an event organized by AALR in partnership with the City Hall and the Local Council of Reghin Municipality, hosted by the “Eugen Nicoară” Reghin Culture House in period 17 – 18 August 2022.
At the head of AALR is Alin Stoica, initiated into the profession of luthier by the former apprentices of the great Roman Boianciuc
“I’ve been working as a luthier since 1986. I was an employee of the Instrument Department at IPL Reghin. There were several famous luthiers here at the time, among them Mr. Nicolae Ciurba, Precup Florea, Nagy Pavel, from whom we managed to steal the profession that we now practice with love”, said Alin Stoica, president of the Luthiers Association of Romania
What was the motivation to choose this job?
“I think the pleasure of sitting in harmony with the wood and getting something artistic out of our hands” answered Alin Stoica, who owns a small workshop with a few employees where instruments are produced, from professional ones to master ones.
“Basically we focused on cellos, but we also produce violins and violas. We participated in numerous fairs, exhibitions, starting with the Frankfurt fair, the Cremona exhibition, the “George Enescu” Festival and more recently at the festivals we organize together with the Association of Romanian Luthiers”, said Alin Stoica.
Autumn rich in events
The next step is the presence in the George Enescu International Competition 2022 (September 4-18), an event possible thanks to the partnership with the Mureș County Council. It will preface the two major worldwide events that will take place this autumn, Cremona Mondomusica (23 – 25 September 2022) and the International Violin Making Competition Mittenwald, Germany (28 October – 13 November 2022).
“We will go to Cremona with 9 stands, which is possible thanks to the help from the Romanian Government. We have a partnership, they financed us with a considerable amount, which is why we managed to get 9 stands in Cremona, where I say the best instruments made by Righi luthiers will be exhibited. There will be around 10-15 instruments at each stand, starting with violins, violas, violas and double basses. At Mittenwald, as far as I know, we have 7 luthiers registered for the competition, both in the violin section and in the viola, cello and double bass section. As for me, I only have one cello that I participate with. This instrument is my pleasure, that’s why I focused more on cellos. The instrument with which I will participate in the contest has been in the works since last year, he even played on it and I hope to get a good result. At Mittenwald, the actual competition takes place over a longer period, about two weeks in which each instrument entered in the competition will be analyzed by a jury made up of luthiers, after which it will pass to a jury made up of artists, musicians. They will test the instruments, after which they will give marks to the instruments in the competition”, stated Alin Stoica.
Regarding the results, although they have a considerably smaller tradition than those from France or Italy, the luthiers from Regina achieve remarkable performances at the major competitions they participate in. “If with a participation of 300-400 competitors you are among the first 100, I think it’s a pretty good result. Even the first places we didn’t have the opportunity to have, but we hope for the future”, said Alin Stoica.
How much value does an international award give to the instrument, respectively to the artist who produces it?
“In general, any award you win in a competition increases your value, not necessarily in the instrument that was in the competition, but in the instruments you will make from now on,” says the AALR president.
The story goes on
Alin Stoica learned the secrets of the luthier trade from the apprentices of Master Roman Boianciuc. The tradition seems to be respected, in the sense that young luthiers learn from the most experienced, as is the case with Alin Stoica.
“Over the years, many of the road workers who now make tools have visited my workshop. They happily left me, we are still in a very good relationship. I help them whenever they need something. We are happy that the young generations already past 20 years are interested in the profession of luthier”, emphasized Alin Stoica.
The “SoundCraft 2022 – Music & Art Festival” festival also included in its offer a representative exhibition of the history of the Regina luthier, with pride of place being the instruments made by luthiers such as Roman Boianciuc, Florea Precup, Nicoale Ciurba, Ioan Luca, Nagy Pal, Zaharie Mare .
In the workshop space, I met Rafael Butaru, concertmaster of the “George Enescu” Philharmonic, who was thoroughly enjoying the sound of his violin, a Nicolò Gagliano.
“Being the second edition of the festival, I am here in Reghin as an instrumentalist, organizer, repertory maker and concertmaster of the “George Enescu” Philharmonic. We just come to offer a helping hand, to tune these instruments and to enjoy all the wonderful instruments that we can try, use in our concerts Mircea Lazăr, my colleague from the Bucharest National Opera, tries now all the violins the association boys could get their hands on and some violas. After he finishes, I’ll go and that’s it, we’ll have three hours of fire”, said Rafael Butaru, concertmaster at the “George Enescu” Philharmonic.
An aspect not to be neglected is the one related to the reputation of the instruments manufactured in Reghin.
“We usually play all kinds of instruments, newer, older, and we do it every day. Reghinul has never been associated with good instruments. There was a time when, in our world of musicians, when you said something sounded like a Reghin instrument, that wasn’t necessarily a good thing. We are trying to rehabilitate this thing. They were the factory instruments that everyone thought were from Reghin, and for us this expression was quite painful, knowing the luthiers here, especially Claudiu Mare and Ionică Vezendan. I knew how they work and so do other colleagues here who make very, very good instruments. I said that we really need to rehabilitate this thing, to bring the good instruments, played as well as we can, to the attention of the public, because they are real treasures. It’s a shame not to associate a Reghin instrument with something of quality”, emphasized Rafael Butaru.
The most generous part of the Sound Craft Music & Art Festival was the musical one, through the two evening concerts hosted by the “Dr, Eugen Nicoară” Municipal House of Culture in Reghin. The first evening of the festival, on Wednesday, August 17, was opened by the recital of the students of the Music Section of the “Augustin Maior” Secondary School, followed by the recital by the Tiberius Quartet of the Târgu Mureș State Philharmonic who delighted the audience with Divertimento in F major, K.138 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and String Quartet – Aleksandr Porfirievici Borodin.
The second evening of the festival was also the gala. Renowned instrumental artists who participated in Sound Craft Music & Art Festival 2021, returned to Reghin for a new exceptional moment. Among them are Rafael Butaru, concertmaster of the “George Enescu” Philharmonic from Bucharest, Mircea Lazăr, Ana Ungureanu and Mihai Oltean on violin, Cătălina Filipescu, Adrian Vasile on viola, Ella Bokor, Răzvan Suma on cello and Cristian Mihart on piano, who delighted the audience with pieces from the repertoire of composers Jean-Marie, Igor Frolov, Bela Bartok, Dimitri Shostakovich, Luigi Boccherini, Johann Sebastian Bach and Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky.
The violin, through the wonderful servants, whether we are talking about luthiers or artists, was for two days the attention of lovers of beauty, music, art, and finally the tradition of Reghin. A festival that would highlight it could only be hosted in Reghin, only by those who lovingly give it shape and voice.
“A festival can give a city an identity, a way to develop, and I think that no other city fits this concept better than Reghin. This is the city of violins, this event must take place here. We also particularly appreciate the direction chosen by the festival organizers. We, as a local administration, have also tried, through our events, to promote another direction, a direction of culture, of quality, educational, cultural events. We are going through a rather turbulent time in all of Europe, a hard and sad time. We need positive actions, gestures and events. The musicians don’t have guns in their hands, they have flowers in their hands. We really need these flowers that bring joy, hope, peace, friendship and well-being”, was the message sent by the mayor of the municipality of Reghin, Márk Endre at the opening of the first evening of the festival.
A message as honest as possible, correct but above all realistic. As for the response of music lovers, it was quite fluctuating, if on the gala night the hall was full, on the other hand, on the first night the empty seats in the hall were visible, which is not pleasant for an event that wants to highlight not just the violin, but also its real servants, starting with those who produce it, ending with the artists, from the little ones, the students of the School of Music and ending with established artists of the great Romanian stages.