Imago Mundi is the name of a vast treaty of astrology written, at the dawn of Renaissance, by Cardinal Pierre D’Ailly. It is an inventory of all knowledge on countries and peoples of the world, supporting the (accepted!) theory formulating that the Earth is round.
There follow 30 years of discoveries – Europe finds itself facing America, Africa and Asia. The world realises it can reach an end, and begins taking the first steps towards unification. Besides the popularity of the stories on the valiant explorers of new worlds, there is a second motif, referring to a particularity of European history: „La Convivencia” made possible the contact between diverse culturally populations, as Christians, Jews, Muslim Moors and Turks, animist Africans. The Europeans know, due to their own past and present, the plurality of cultures: the recent discoveries do not trouble their global view on the world.
The historical origins of music are heterogeneous; old Arab musicians have borrowed from the Egyptian, Assyrian, and Sumerian music, and closely resembling phenomena happened all over the world. Many of the instruments used for making music are descendants of those depicted in paintings and sculptures of past civilizations.
The instruments used by Imago Mundi ensemble are both modern (flute, oboe, violin, guitar, cello) and traditional (as they were preserved during the times – baglama, bendir, bouzuki, kobsa, darbouka, Jew’s harp, tambourine), and combining them is not a random fact: these instruments have common origins (the oboe is a „grandson” of the bombard); furthermore, these instruments are to be found in the majority of world’s cultures.
In 2001, Oana and Daniel Ivașcu founded the Imago Mundi ensemble. Starting from the stated goal of creating fusion music between old and traditional music (world music) and contemporary composition, the two gather around them musicians with similar ideas, developing together the atmosphere where each musician can express soloist and improvisatory techniques, channeling their creativity towards the identity of the group as a whole.
The Imago Mundi ensemble consists of 7 members: Oana Ivașcu (oboe), founder and coordinator, graduate of the National University of Music Bucharest (UNMB), musician with a great openness to innovation and experimentation; Cătălin Ștefănescu-Pătrașcu (composition, kobsa, guitar), Doctor of Music, double degree in Instrumental Music and Composition, university lecturer at the guitar department of UNMB; Adrian Buciu (flute), Doctor of Music, double degree in Instrumental Interpretation and Conducting, pro-dean of the Faculty of Music Interpretation of UNMB; Ștefan Barbu (violin), violinist of the Radio Chamber Orchestra – Bucharest, specialized in early music; Andreea Țimiraș (cello), Doctor of Music, professor of chamber music and cello at the “Dinu Lipatti” National College, associate teaching staff of UNMB; Daniel Ivașcu (percussion), founder, graduate of the Bucharest National University of Arts, visual artist by education, percussionist by passion; Cristian Stănoiu (live video projections), PhD. of the National University of Theater and Cinematography “I. L. Caragiale” from Bucharest (UNATC), graduate of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture – Marseille, UNATC associate professor.
Invited to perform in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Great Britain, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, USA, Tunisia, Turkey, Hungary, the Imago Mundi ensemble can be found in halls dedicated to classical music, at festivals of early music, world music or contemporary music, but also in the usual clubs with jazz or rock concerts.
Imago Mundi concerts offer unique cultural experiences, where instrumental music is complemented by video projections mixed in real time. Performance specific to electronic music, live video projections and Imago Mundi compositions share the same concept – contemporary interventions on a background full of traditions and history.
The musical themes are emphasized through the dialogue of the traditional instruments specific to the Romanian space (kobsa, Jew’s harp, toba) together with modern classical instruments (flute, oboe, violin, guitar, cello). The musical compositions and arrangements belong to Cătălin Ştefănescu-Pătrașcu, doctor in Music, graduate in Instrumental Music and Composition, university lecturer at the guitar department of the National University of Music Bucharest.
Starting from 2010, Imago Mundi focuses on early and traditional Romanian music, creatively researching a repertoire rarely addressed in contemporary music, through musical projects dedicated to famous personalities of Romanian and universal culture: Dimitrie Cantemir, George Enescu, Constantin Brâncuși, Erik Satie, Béla Bartók.
DANSate (ISVOR Cultural Association, 2022)
Gnossos (ISVOR Cultural Association, 2021)
Isvor. Cantemir, Enescu, Brâncuși (Editura Casa Radio, 2020)
Isvor. Constantin Brâncuși (Euphonia / Pilgrim.Project, 2017)
Isvor. George Enescu (Editura Casa Radio, 2016)
Isvor. Dimitrie Cantemir (Editura Casa Radio / Pilgrim.Project, 2012)
Pilgrims (Pilgrim.Project, 2009)
Musica Viva (Electrecord, 2002)
Concerts, tours, festivals (selection):
„DANSate”, Teatrelli – Bucharest (RO) 2022; „Gnossos”, National University of Music – Bucharest 2021; charity concert „Soul in colors”, National Art Museum, Auditorium Hall – Bucharest 2019; „Europe’s Day” – Istanbul (TR) 2019; „160 years since the Union of the Principalities”, Teatrelli – Bucharest (RO) 2019; „Hello. CULTURE”, Bucharest (RO) 2018; „Smetanova Litomyšl” Festival 2018 (CZ); „Night of Museums” 2018, National Museum of History – Bucharest (RO); „Brâncuși – Duchamp – Marthe”, Romanian Cultural Institute – Bucharest (RO); National Tour „Isvor. Constantin Brâncuși” 2017 (National University of Music – Bucharest, Multicultural Center – Săcele, „Transilvania” University – Brașov, Auditorium Maximum – Cluj-Napoca, „Banatul” Philharmonic – Timișoara, „Arcuș” Cultural Center – Sfântu Gheorghe, „Geo Bogza” House of Culture – Câmpina, ProARTE Hall – Deva, Thalia Hall – Sibiu, „1 Decembrie 1918” Univeristy – Alba Iulia); „Isvor. Constantin Brâncuși” South-East-Central European Tour 2017 – Belgrad (SRB), Budapesta (HU), Graz, Viena (AT); European Christmas Fest – Riga (LV); Die Loftbuhne Charlottenburg – Berlin (DE); „Isvor. George Enescu” National Tour 2016 („Paul Constantinescu” Philharmonic – Ploiești, National University of Music – Bucharest, „Oltenia” Philharmonic – Craiova, Pitești Philharmonic, „Aurel Stroe” Cultural Center – Bușteni, „Geo Bogza” House of Culture – Câmpina, „Ion Vidu” National College of Art – Timișoara, State Philharmonic – Arad, State Philharmonic – Sibiu, „Babeș-Bolyai” University – Cluj-Napoca); Festival de Estoril – Lisabona (PT); „Summer Gardens” 2016 – Bucharest (RO); Radio Hall – Bucharest (RO); St. James’s Piccadilly, ICR – London (UK); ICR Auditorium – New York (SUA); Stiftung Mozarteum – Salzburg (AU); „Octobre Musical” 2015 – Tunis (TN); International Festival of Music and Dance / Fex 2015 – Granada (ES); Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (DE); Romanian Embassy in the Kingdom of Belgium – Bruxelles (BE); „Isvor. Dimitrie Cantemir” National Tour 2011 (National University of Music – Bucharest, “The Concerts Society” – Bistrița, „Dinu Lipatti” Philharmonic – Satu Mare, West University – Timișoara, Traube Hall – Mediaș, Odeon Theatre – Bucharest, „George Enescu” Memorial House – Sinaia, Pitești Philharmonic, „Oltenia” Philharmonic – Craiova); Turneul „Romanian Culture in the Czech regions: Moravia and Silezia” 2011 – Brno, Ostrava, Kroměříž (CZ); „European Languages Day” 2011 – Bratislava (SK); „Green Hours International Jazz Fest” 2011 – Bucharest; International Guitar Festival – Radio Hall, Bucharest; „Hibernal de chitară” Festival – Bucharest; „Dimitrie Cantemir” Museum – Istanbul (TR); „George Enescu” Museum – Bucuharest; “Music at the Brâncovenesti Palaces” season – Mogoșoaia; „Raduno dei Cortei Storici” Festival – Gravina in Puglia (IT); „Eduard Pamfil” Festival – Bucharest; „Fête de la musique” – Bucharest, Iași; „Watumi” Festival 2009 – Brașov; „Cetăți Transilvane” Festival 2002-2006 – Sibiu; „Arts Festival” – Bucharest; „Medieval Sighișoara” Festival; „Books & Arts” – Bucharest; „Stufstock” Festival, 1st and 2nd edition, 2003-2004 – Vama Veche; „Arts Market” – Bucharest.
TV / radio / video projections / online:
„Gnossos” at „Enescu Soirees Online” – ICR New York 2022; „Gnossos” video projection, premiere at French Institute – Bucharest 2021; „Isvor” Trilogy at „Enescu Soirees Online” – ICR New York 2020; RTV / Vojvodine Radio-Television (Serbia); Duna TV (Hungary); „Headliner” – TVR Craiova / TVR 3; Festival de Estoril Lisboa – RTP / Antena 2 (Portugal); „Summer Gardens / Enescu: urban vs. tradițional” – Radio România Cultural; „Isvor. Enescu” at Radio Hall – Radio România Cultural, Radio România Muzical; Early Music Day 2015 – Radio România Muzical, European Radio Union; „Isvor. Dimitrie Cantemir” National Tour 2011 – Radio România Cultural, Radio România Muzical, Radio România Timișoara; International Guitar Festival – Radio România Cultural, Radio România Muzical; „The adventure of sounds” – TVR Cultural; „Beyond the sounds” – TVR Cultural; „100% Guaranteed” – TVR 1, TVR Cultural, TVR Internațional; Cultural Journal – TVR Cultural; „Las mujeres del Quijote” – TVR 1, Realitatea TV; „Stories about wine” – TVR Cultural; „Restauration” – TVR 1, TVR HD; „Season of young musicians” – TVR Cultural, Radio România Muzical; „Music at the Brâncovenești Palaces” Season – Radio România Muzical.
I am listening to the Isvor trilogy and I see before me the Column. Cantemir, Enescu and, at the end, Brâncuşi. Three distinct worlds which, once reinterpreted, analyzed and recomposed, become aspects of one single identity – Imago Mundi. I discover a creation process which includes both the recovery of a particular repertoire and personal compositions, folk fiddle music and art music; through their choices with regard to musical style & expression and visual aesthetics alike, Imago Mundi tactfully creates its own place.
Their art is not deliberately searching for authenticity, but is rather about this gradual discovery of a territory that would reflect the group’s personality. Neither in the Cantemir nor in the Enescu album is there any canonical, strict approach; to balance the scales, the fiddle tunes and the folklore are essentialized, disconnected from their original meaning. The peşrev, ballads, doinas, dances become parts of both a new musical language and a new context; the musicians’ own works is rooted in this ancient, common pool, but succeeds in being original; the group finds inspiration in artistic practices from long-gone times, but speaks to a modern and receptive audience.
Journalist, musician, writer, producer of „Crossover Morning” – Radio România Cultural
The object of the Imago Mundi Ensemble is to present early Romanian music. Although they adopt traditional melodies and rhythms, the arrangements are very contemporary and extremely well done. Good taste, refinement, a cultured sound, and professionalism are the defining qualities of the ensemble and their repertoire. Besides their specific sound, in which simplicity of melody combines with subtle instrumentation, certain arrangements succeed in creating an original mix of oriental folk, Renaissance tones, African echoes and American minimalism.
Prof. univ. dr. Dan Dediu
National University of Music in Bucharest
The professionalism of the instrumentalists that make up the Imago Mundi band, the real talent, doubled by extraordinary determination and work power are just some of the qualities that determined the level of excellence of their artistic achievement. This ensemble is a chamber group that brings together high-class instrumentalists concerned with exploring areas little known to the public and is therefore of inestimable value in the landscape of musical life in Romania.
Dr. Mioara Bâscă, Music Advisor
Radio Orchestras and Choirs, Radio Romania