Cornel Țăranu

(b. 20 June 1934, Cluj-Napoca).

Romanian composer of mostly orchestral, chamber and vocal works that have been performed throughout Europe; he is also active as a conductor.

Prof. Țăranu studied composition with Sigismund Toduță at the Academia de Muzică Gheorghe Dima in Cluj-Napoca from 1951–57, where he later earned his DMus in musicology in 1974. He also studied analysis with Nadia Boulanger and Olivier Messiaen at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris in 1966–67 and attended the Ferienkurse in Darmstadt in 1968–69 and 1972, where he studied analysis with György Ligeti, conducting with Bruno Maderna and percussion with Christoph Caskel.

Among his honours are five prizes from the Uniunea Compozitorilor și Muzicologilor din România in Bucharest (1972, 1978, 1981, 1982, 2001) and the Koussevitzky International Critics Award (1982, for a recording of Garlands). He has been a member of the Academia Română in Bucharest since 1993 and was named a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the government of France in 2002.

He is also active in other positions. He founded the ensemble Ars Nova in Cluj-Napoca in 1968 and has served as its artistic director and conductor since 1968. He has served as the vice-president of the Uniunea Compozitorilor și Muzicologilor din România since 1990 and as director of the festival Cluj Modern in Cluj-Napoca since 1995. His writings include the book Enescu in conștiința prezentului (1969, Editura pentru Literatură; French translation as Enesco dans la conscience du présent, 1981, Editura Științifică și Enciclopedică).

He has taught at the Academia de Muzică Gheorghe Dima since 1957, where he was an assistant professor from 1970–90 and where he has been Professor of Composition since 1990. He has given lectures in Germany, Israel, Switzerland, and the USA.

His primary publishers are Éditions Alphonse Leduc, Éditions Durand-Salabert-Eschig and Editura Muzicală.

In addition to the works listed below, he has composed incidental music for stage productions.





The Secret of Don Giovanni (opera in 3 acts, libretto by Ilie Balea), 1969–70

OresteOedipe (opera in 4 acts, libretto by Olivier Apert), 3 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, tenor, bass-baritone, mixed chorus, small orchestra, 1999–2001


Sequences, string orchestra, 1960

Sinfonia brevis (Symphony I), 1962

Symmetries, 1965

Incantations, 1965

Concerto, piano, orchestra, 1966

Intercalations, piano, orchestra, 1967

Sinfonietta giocosa, string orchestra, 1968

Alternances, 1968

Raccords, small orchestra, 1971

Long Song, clarinet, piano, string orchestra, 1974

Symphony II, 'Aulodica', 1975–76

Garlands, 1979 (also version for small orchestra, 1979)

Prolegomenes II, piano, string orchestra, 1982

Sinfonietta, 'Pro Juventute', string orchestra, 1984

Symphony III, 'Signes', 1984

Symphony IV, 'Ritornele', 1987

Sonata rubato II, oboe, piano, string orchestra, 1988

Miroirs, soprano saxophone (+ tenor saxophone), small orchestra, 1990

Cadenze concertante, cello, small orchestra, 1993

Antiphona, flute, orchestra, 1996

Siciliana Blues, piano, small orchestra (flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, trumpet, percussion, strings), 1998

Concerto, oboe, string orchestra, 1998

Concerto breve I, 24 flutes, 2002

Concerto breve II, 2003

Baroccoco, Baroque orchestra, 2004

Remembrance, 2005

Laudæ, saxophone, small orchestra, 2006

Oxymoron, saxophone, small orchestra, 2006

Sax Sympho, saxophone, orchestra, 2008

Saramandji, 2008

Simfonia Memorial, 2009

Diferencias, baritone saxophone, orchestra, 2009

Hetero(sym)phony, 2011

Triade, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, small orchestra, 2011


Trio, violin, viola, cello, 1952

PoemSonata, clarinet, piano, 1954

Transylvanian Ballad (poem–sonata), cello, piano, 1956

Sonata, flute, piano, 1960

Sonata, oboe, piano, 1963 (also version of second movement as Improvisation for Unaccompanied Flute or Clarinet, flute/clarinet, 1963)

Three Pieces, clarinet, piano, 1962–64

Dialogues for Six, flute, clarinet, trumpet, piano, vibraphone, percussion, 1966

Resonances I, guitar, 1977

Resonances II, guitar, string quartet, 1978

Offrandes I, flute, percussion in 2 groups (3 total percussion), 1978

Offrandes II, flute, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, piano, percussion in 3 groups (3 total percussion), 1978

Prolegomenes I, piano, string quartet, 1981

Sonata, clarinet, percussion, 1985

Sonata, double bass, 1986

Sonata rubato I, oboe, 1986

Sempre ostinato I, clarinet/soprano saxophone, 1986

Sempre ostinato II, clarinet/soprano saxophone, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, piano, percussion, 1986–88

Offrandes III, 4 flutes, piano, percussion, 1988

Solo Sonata for Viola, viola, 1990

Solo Sonata for Cello, cello, 1992

Mosaïques, clarinet/soprano saxophone, ensemble (2 violins, viola, cello, piano, percussion), 1992

Trajectoires, flute, clarinet, trombone, violin, cello, percussion, 1994

Crisalide, sopranino saxophone, ensemble (French horn, trumpet, trombone, piano, percussion), fixed media, 1995

Remembering Bartók I, oboe, piano ad libitum, 1995

Remembering Bartók II, oboe, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, piano, percussion ad libitum, 1995

Remembering Bartók III, soprano saxophone, ensemble (2 soprano saxophones, 2 tenor saxophones), 1995

Responsorial I, clarinet/2 clarinets, piano ad libitum, percussion ad libitum, 1996

Responsorial II, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, 1996

Responsorial III, clarinet, bassoon, violin, cello, piano, percussion, 1997

Flaine Quintette, flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon, 1997

Cadenze per Antiphona, flute, 1998

Pour Georges, sopranino saxophone, fixed media, 1999

Kerkyra Trio, saxophone, viola, piano, 2007


Two Madrigals (text by Attila József [translated by Nina Cassian]), female chorus, 1962

Doină (text by Camil Baltazar), mixed chorus, 1963

Horea's Oak (cantata, text by Leonida Neamțu), female chorus, orchestra, 1963

Two Madrigals (text by Lucian Blaga), female chorus, 1964

Two Madrigals (text by Ion Vinea), female chorus, 1965

Two Madrigals (text by Endre Ady [translated by Eugen Jebeleanu]), mixed chorus, 1965–66

Supplex I (text from an 18th-century source in Latin), mixed chorus, 1971

Cortège (cantata in memoriam Avram Iancu, text from an anonymous funeral announcement for Avram Iancu), mixed chorus, orchestra, 1973

Supplex II (cantata, text from an 18th-century source in Latin), mixed chorus, small orchestra, 1974

Tombeau de Verlaine (text by Stéphane Mallarmé), 12 or more mixed voices, 1975

Cantus Transylvaniæ (cantata, text from a 3rd-century source in Latin), mixed chorus, small orchestra, 1978

Horea (text by Nichita Stănescu), mixed chorus, 1985

Testament (text from an ancient source from Romania), mixed chorus, 1988

Dedications (text by Nichita Stănescu), bass, speaker, mixed chorus, small orchestra, 1991

Modra rijekaBlue River (text by Mak Dizdar), mixed chorus, 2002

Sinfonia da Requiem, mixed chorus, orchestra, 2005

Two Eminescu Sonnets (text by Mihai Eminescu), mixed chorus, 2006–07

Despre Timp (text by Matei Călinescu), mixed chorus, 2009

Sonnet (text by Mihai Eminescu), mixed chorus, 2009


Three Songs (text by George Topîrceanu), soprano/tenor, piano, 1955–56

Black Fir Trees (text by Lucian Blaga), tenor, orchestra, 1958

Epitaph (text by Lucian Blaga), soprano, piano, 1958, revised 1963

Two Poems (text by Camil Petrescu), soprano, piano, 1959, revised 1966

Love Songs (text by Nicolae Labiș), soprano/tenor, piano, 1959 (also version for soprano/tenor, orchestra, 1961)

Three Elegies (text by George Bacovia), soprano, piano, 1958–62

Evening Song (text by Zaharia Stancu), mezzo-soprano, piano, 1962

Song to a Burning Era (cantata, text by Nicolae Labiș), tenor, male chorus ad libitum, orchestra, 1962

Return (text by Lucian Blaga), soprano, piano, 1967

Three Poems (text by Ana Blandiana), soprano, piano, 1967

Ébauche (text by Camil Petrescu), soprano, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano, 1966–68

Le Lit de Procuste (text by Camil Petrescu [translated by the composer]), baritone, clarinet, viola, piano, 1968–70

Ode in Ancient Meter (text by Mihai Eminescu [translated by Michel Steriade]), baritone, clarinet, violin, piano, percussion, 1972

Two Poems (text by Ana Blandiana), soprano, flute, violin, viola, cello, piano, percussion, 1975

Rime di Michelangelo (text by Michelangelo Buonarroti), baritone, small orchestra, 1977

Four Poems (text by Nichita Stănescu), baritone, piano, 1978

Songs without Love (text by Nichita Stănescu), baritone, speaker, trombone, string quartet, piano, percussion, 1980

Nomadic Songs (text by Cezar Baltag), 2 mezzo-sopranos, tenor, baritone, speaker, small orchestra, 1982

Orpheus (text by Cezar Baltag), baritone, small orchestra, 1985

Chansons sans réponse (text by Nichita Stănescu), baritone, speaker, clarinet, piano, string quartet, 1986–88

Hommage à Paul Celan (text by Paul Celan), mezzo-soprano, bass, small orchestra, 1989

Memento (text by Paul Celan), mezzo-soprano, bass, small orchestra, 1989

Chansons interrompues (text by Nichita Stănescu), baritone, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano, 1993

Cinq Poèmes de Tristan Tzara (text by Tristan Tzara), mezzo-soprano/bass, clarinet ad libitum, piano, percussion ad libitum, 1995

Laudatio per Clusium (text from an ancient source in Latin), mezzo-soprano, oboe, trombone, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, piano, 1997

Saturnalii (text by Vladimir Streinu), baritone, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano, 1998

Three Labiș Poems (text by Nicolae Labiș), baritone, piano, 1998

Shakespeare Sonnets (text by William Shakespeare), voice, small orchestra, 2003

Two Songs (text by Nichita Stănescu), voice, piano, 2007

Cântece incerte (text by Mihail Sebastian), voice, piano, 2007

Not Easy Songs (text by Lucian Blaga), voice, small orchestra, 2008

Refrene cu muri (text by Ion Mureșan), baritone, piano, 2011

Lăutarul the Fiddler (text by Camil Petrescu), tenor, bass, speaker, small orchestra, 2012–13


Sonata Ostinato, 1961

Contrastes I, 1962

Contrastes II, 1963

Dialogues II, 1967


The Verdict, 1970 (Ferenc Kósa)

Red Apples, 1976 (Alexandru Tatos)

Above All, 1978 (Nicolae Mărgineanu, Dan Pita)

Man in the Overcoat, 1979 (Nicolae Mărgineanu)

Return from Hell, 1983 (Nicolae Mărgineanu)

The Forest Maiden, 1985 (Nicolae Mărgineanu)

Gathering Clouds, 1985 (Alexandru Tatos)

Feu follet, 1987 (Nicolae Mărgineanu)

Im Süden meiner Seele, 1988 (Frieder Schuller)

Somewhere in the East, 1991 (Nicolae Mărgineanu)


Movements 1, 4 from Symphony No. 5 (George Enescu), tenor, female chorus, orchestra, 1991

Caprice roumain (George Enescu), violin, orchestra, 1994–96


Cinq Poèmes de Tristan Tzara. Christine Thomas, mezzo-soprano; Milton Peckarsky, piano (Association Tristan Tzara)

Garlands. Cornel Țăranu/Ars Nova (Attacca Babel: 9265/66)

Testament. Constantin Marin/Madrigal (Electrecord: EDC 238)

Caprice roumain (George Enescu). Sherban Lupu, violin; Cristian Mandeal/Filarmonica George Enescu din București (Electrecord: EDC 324/25)

Sinfonia brevis (Symphony I); Symphony II, 'Aulodica'; Symphony III, 'Signes'; Symphony IV, 'Ritornele'. (Electrecord: EDC 470)

Prolegomenes II. Péter Szegő/Ensemble Anonymous (Hungaroton: NCD 31572)

Nomadic Songs. Cornel Țăranu/Ars Nova (Hungaroton: NCD 31783)

Remembering Bartók II. Aurel Marc, oboe; Cornel Țăranu/Ars Nova (Hungaroton: NCD 31875)

Remembering Bartók I. Aurel Marc, oboe (Magyar Rádió: CD 011)

Miroirs. Daniel Kientzy, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone; Cornel Țăranu/Ars Nova (Nova Musica)

Pour Georges. Daniel Kientzy, sopranino saxophone (Nova Musica: NMCD 5110)

Crisalide; Pour Georges; Remembering Bartók III; Sempre ostinato II; Responsorial II; Mosaïques. Daniel Kientzy, sopranino saxophone, soprano saxophone; Le Saxtuor; Cornel Țăranu/Ars Nova (Nova Musica: NMCD 5117)

Symphony II, 'Aulodica'. (Olympia: OCD 416)

Hommage à Paul Celan. Edith Șimon, mezzo-soprano; Gheorghe Roșu, bass; Cornel Țăranu/Ars Nova (Uniunea Compozitorilor și Muzicologilor din România: UCMR 005)