To a student, Mondays are dreadful. They involve the start of a new school week with the looming threat of homework and following the same pattern day after day, always hoping for change and rarely getting it. No wonder the band and orchestra members had a wave of relief when they remembered they had a musical guest coming first period. For a week, the orchestra students had anticipated this moment and now that it was here they sat anxiously waiting for their guest, but where was he? Well, our guest Ovidiu Marinescu had slept in. As a cellist, Marinescu enjoyed giving the band members a hard time but liked hearing their opinions equally.
Marinescu talked to us about his life in communist Romania. He enjoyed telling us about the family cottage in the woods he lived in until his parents moved them to an apartment in the city. When he was young he did not watch television or listen to the radio. The new apartment had running water, and a central heater, but most of the winter they were forced to go without heat due to the debt that Romania had and the fact that they were communist and everyone had to make the same sacrifices to save money. When he was in third grade a couple of teachers came into his classroom and said they needed musicians, so tentatively Marinescu raised his arm and they assigned him the cello. He practiced day after day with a private teacher to learn music theory. Musicians were some of the few people that were allowed to leave Romania for short periods of time to travel. Romania only let a few people travel because they were afraid that the people that found out that other places in Europe were better they would not go back to Romania. The Romanian government always went through thorough background checks of the people who wanted to leave. One of the main things that they did for these background checks was talk to the people’s neighbors. One of the first places he travelled to was West Germany. At this point Germany was still split by the Berlin Wall, and he noticed how much nicer it was in West Germany than it was in Romania. In Romania the people were only allowed to have meat once a week and usually they could not have any desserts. In Germany they were allowed to buy chocolate and meat anytime they wanted. He knew then that the Romanian government loved to use propaganda to make their citizens stay there.
Like most musicians he has a few favorite composers. The main one he has his Johan Sebastian Bach. Most musicians practice for about two hours a day running over their music taking the hardest passages first. However, Marinescu can not practice for so long due to an injury he obtained, this does not stop him from listening to recordings of the pieces he must play and following along with his part as well as speaking his parts aloud.
Marinescu currently lives in Pennsylvania with another cellist. His stay here in Helena will be over shortly after the symphony on Saturday, March 24th, at 7:30pm, at the Civic Center. At this concert the repertoire will mainly consist of Russian composers. Based on the excerpts Marinescu played for the band and orchestra students I highly suggest you attend this symphony.