Silvestri, Constantin, esteemed Romanian-born English conductor and composer; b. Bucharest, June 13, 1913; d. London, Feb. 23, 1969. He studied piano as a child, making his debut at age 10. After taking courses in piano and composition (with Jora) at the Bucharest Cons., he was active as a pianist. In 1930 he made his debut as a conductor with the Bucharest Radio Sym. Orch.; was a conductor with the Bucharest Opera (from 1935) and music director of the Bucharest Phil. (1947–53); also taught conducting at the Bucharest Cons. (from 1948). In 1956 he went to Paris, and in 1957 settled in England, becoming a naturalized British subject in 1967. In 1961 he became principal conductor of the Bournemouth Sym. Orch., which he led with distinction until his death; took it on a European tour in 1965. In 1963 he made his debut at London’s Covent Garden conducting Khovanshchina. He was an impassioned if sometimes willful interpreter of the classics. He composed mostly in small forms in an unpretentious, neo-Baroque manner.
ORCH.: Jocuri populäre românešti din Transilvanicia (1929; Bucharest, March 10, 1933); 3 Pieces for Strings (1933; rev. 1950; Bucharest, Jan. 7, 1951); Prelude and Fugue (1955; Bucharest, Nov. 1956). CHAMBER: 2 string quartets (1935, 1947); Sonata breve for Clarinet and Bassoon (1938; rev. 1957); Violin Sonata (1939); Oboe Sonata (1939); Harp Sonata (1940); piano pieces, including sonatas, suites, and sonatinas. VOCAL: Songs.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire