Alexander Bălănescu

Alexander Bălănescu ( born June 11, 1954 in Bucharest ) is a Romanian violinist and composer and founder of the avant-garde string quartet Balanescu Quartet.

  • Balanescu Quartet 2.1
  • 2.2 Michael Nyman Band
  • 2.3 With other artists
  • 2.4 Film Music

Life and work

Artistic training and career

From the age of seven years Bălănescu attended a music school in Bucharest. Because of the anti-Semitic policy in Romania in 1969 his family emigrated to Israel, where he attended the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem. He then moved to Trinity College of Music in London and attended from 1975 to 1979, the Juilliard School in New York City with Dorothy DeLay, where he took part in master classes with Pinchas Zukerman, Itzhak Perlman and others.

In 1979 Bălănescu the management of the Michael Nyman Band and toured with the band for many years around the world. At the same time he was a member of the Gavin Bryars Ensemble and four years to 1987, a member of the Arditti Quartet.

The Balanescu Quartet

In 1987 he founded with Clare Connors (violin), Bill Hawkes ( viola ) and Caroline Dale (cello) his own ensemble, the reformed since then under the name Balanescu Quartet. 2013 was the quartet alongside Bălănescu himself from James Shenton (violin), Katie Wilkinson ( viola ) and Nick Holland (cello).

The ensemble not only published his own works. It also participated in numerous albums by artists from many different areas. The range of their collaborations ranging from Carla Bley, David Byrne, Grace Jones, Rabih Abou -Khalil, John Lurie, To Rococo Rot, Hector Zazou and Philip Glass to the Pet Shop Boys and Spiritualized or a homage to the Yellow Magic Orchestra East Meets East from the year 2008. was very successful, the ensemble with a processing of pieces of German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk on the album Possessed from the year 1992.

Nick Holland, cello

Katie Wilkinson, Viola

Film Music and Theatre

Bălănescu composed - mainly for the Balanescu Quartet - film and theater music, and music for dance theater. Under his own name he wrote the music for the film Angels and Insects by Philip Haas in 1995. With the Michael Nyman Band, he was at Peter Greenaway's films The Draughtsman's Contract and The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover with. Phil Mulloy used in many of his animated films Bălănescus music.

In the field of dance theater he worked for Pina Bausch and Jochen Ulrich, with whom he worked in 2007 with the Bruckner Orchestra Linz Linz at the State Theatre for the play Lorenzaccio.

2005 the quartet released the album Mary T pays homage to the Romanian singer Maria Tănase - the " Piaf of the East". For their 100th anniversary in 2013, the music served as the basis of a project under the same name, which was performed several times, among others on the TFF Rudolstadt 2013. Involved here were next to the Balanescu Quartet, percussionist Steve Argüelles and the Austrian artist Klaus Obermaier with his video installations.

Bălănescu lives in London and is married to the violist Katie Wilkinson.


Balanescu Quartet

Michael Nyman Band

With other artists

Film Music