Free Essay On Felicia Donceanu Biography

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Song, Music, Folk, Composers, Orchestra, 1984, Chamber, Musician

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/12/26

Felicia Donceanu is known as one of the famous Romania’s composers of choral pieces and art songs. Not only the numerous pieces for instrumental ensemble and works for stage plays have got her the fame, but chamber works as well. Especially she has focused on the compositions for harp.
Donceanu is an author of plenty vocal-symphonic works. Among those works we can find the text for orchestra and baritone, called Arie de Concert (1973), for soprano, string , and orchestra chorus, called Măiastra (1973); for organ, tenor, violin, children’s chorus, and percussion, called Picolicomando (1984); for orchestra and soprano, called Yolanda (1993).
She was born on 28th of January, 1931 in Bacău, in a family of a military officer who also was an amateur flautist and a teacher who taught voice and piano at Bacău school. Felicia showed a musical talent from early childhood. She entered the theater institute of Bukharest in the choreography department, but shortly after that she changed her mind and decided to make a musical career.
As a result in 1949, Felicia was admitted to the National music university. After finishing the Conservatory in 1956, she entered the Union of composers and musicologists of Romania. Her career as a musician began at the end of Romanian communist repression of Romanian composers. Felicia’s earliest works were dated from 1956, but they were published from 1968. The reason of this delay was communist party rules.
Her songs, demanded by singers, are very popular in Western Europe, the United States and Romania because they are comprehensible and easily understood on first hearing. Felicia Donceanu has rewarded in a lot of competitions and in 1961 one of her popular texts in Romania for piano and mezzo-soprano, called Odinioară, was accepted an honorable mention in Mannheim in the ICC (International Composition Competition. “She has won the Romanian Union of Composers’ prize on multiple occasions (1984, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1993, 1996, and 1997), and the Order of Cultural Merit (1981)” (, 2015).
Felicia’s compositions are full of traditional Romanian culture, including rhythms, folk modes, poetries of native writers and original land’s customs. She combines the pallet of exaggerated subtle colors of Western diatonicism and an ambiguity of tones. That is why to reproduce some her songs you need to use special traditional folk instruments, such as a wooden drum, the toacă.
Felicia’s music is unique, passionate, and full of emotions caused by musical stimulus. Donceanu’s songs are characterized by rich atmosphere, charming originality, innocence due to delightful performers and singers. They have frequent shifting irregular meters, ambiguous diatonicism and chromatic intervals which are typical for Romanian folk. All her songs are radically different from each other because of their tonal pictures.
Felicia mixes folk elements with modal techniques in her music style to make the perception easier. Her works are influenced by Romanian culture and folk music despite she writes music similar to folk one and she does not try to quote to recreate it. “According to Boire, her compositions ‘display a preference for a diatonic harmonic palette inflected with Romanian folk modes” (, 2015).
Felicia Donceanu is phenomenon musician famous for her chamber works and art songs. She wrote about forty five compositions which she has written for thirty years. Her compositions are personified by the best traditions of Romanian music. The audience appreciates her works for the originality, eccentricity and comprehensibility.
She is like a painter in music who fills the compositions with palette of various colors and, as it was mentioned, her songs differ from each other as they have their own tonal pictures. Her compositions are very popular in parts of America, Europe and of course Romania and people can easily understand them while hearing them for the first time. If there are people who have not heard her works, the best advice is to do it immediately.


Cory Thomas, A. (2011). Developmental and Stylistic Consistency in Selected Choral Works of Felicia Donceanu.
FELICIA DONCEANU - THE POETIC UNIVERSE OF HER VOCAL AND CHAMBER WORKS. (2013), 6.,. (2015). Romanian Music Online. Retrieved 20 March 2015, from

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