Mesmerising Duo Lucian Ban and Mat Maneri in the 'Enescu Concerts' Series

04/05/2017 @ Romanian Cultural Institute, 1 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PH

Characterised as "one of the most gifted pianists to move to New York in the past decade“ (Bruce Lee Galanter), enthusiastically  reviewed by major British jazz publications like Jazzwise and Jazz Journal, Romanian ground-breaking composer and pianist Lucian Ban together with American Grammy nominee violist and improviser Mat Maneri debut at 1 Belgrave Square on 4 May with a programme inspired by the music of George Enescu as well as Romania’s ancestral soundscape.

The concert is presented within our 'Enescu Concerts' Series and is part of a tour that will also lead the innovative duo to Derby’s Voice Box on 5 May and London’s Vortex on 9 May.


Writing about the album 'Transylvanian Concert', which forms the core of the duo’s British tour, The Guardian praised the music’s “own kind of melancholy beauty and wayward exuberance”. The New York Times called it “a lovely and restive new album” while All About Jazz marvelled at its “moments of unanticipated beauty”. Village Voice considered 'Transylvanian Concert' “one of those records that whisk you away” while Lucian Ban and Mat Maneri’s performances were described by L.A. Weekly as no less than “mesmerizing, evocative and sensually explicit”.  

This is the first time when jazz music features in our popular 'Enescu Series' but the great composer is as present as ever thanks to Ban and Maneri’s skilful  reinterpretations of some of his great compositions such as 'Impressions d'enfance' Suite, Orchestral Suite no. 1 and Sonata no. 3 “in Romanian folk style”. Another major source of inspiration for the brilliant duo is the ancient doina, the Romanian traditional musical genre included in the UNESCO heritage.  

The Lucian Ban-Mat Maneri tour is organised by the Romanian Cultural Institute. Media partner ECM Records.


When: Thursday, 4 May 2017 from 19:00 to 21:00
Where: Romanian Cultural Institute - 1 Belgrave Square London SW1X 8PH

Entrance is free but it is required to book your ticket on Eventbrite.
Please note that the seating is unreserved.
”Mat Maneri has changed the way the jazz world listens to the Violin & Viola.” (All About Jazz)
A 2006 Grammy Nominee for “Best Alternative Album”, Mat Maneri has defined the voice of the viola and violin in jazz and improvised music. Born in Brooklyn in 1969, Maneri has established an international reputation as one of the most original and compelling artists of his generation, praised for his high degree of individualism, a distinctive marriage of jazz and microtonal music, and his work with 20th century icons of improvised music.  
In 1990, Mat Maneri co-founded the legendary Joe Maneri Quartet with his father, drummer Randy Peterson, bassists Ed Schuller and John Lockwood. The quartet’s recordings for ECM Records, Hatology and Leo Records were widely acknowledged by critics and fellow musicians as among the most important developments in 20th century improvised music. Maneri’s 1999 solo debut on ECM Records marked his emergence as a musician with a singular, uncompromised voice. Pianist Matt Shipp called him “one of the five greatest improvisers on the planet”, reflecting a growing consensus of Maneri as a central figure in American creative music. Since then, the long list of musicians with whom he has worked includes icons such as Cecil Taylor, Paul Bley, Paul Motian and William Parker, as well as influential bandleaders such as Joe Morris, Vijay Iyer, Matthew Shipp, Marilyn Crispell, Joelle Leandre, Kris Davis, Tim Berne and Craig Taborn. Maneri’s recordings as a leader (trio, quartet and quintet) have been documented on Hatology, Aum Fidelity, Leo Records and Thirsty Ear.


“A name to watch” (John Fordham, The Guardian)

Pianist Lucian Ban was raised in a small village in northwest Transylvania, in “the region where Bartok did his most extensive research and collecting of folk songs” and grew up listening to both traditional and classical music. He studied composition at the Bucharest Music Academy while simultaneously leading his own jazz groups, and notes that his approach to improvisation has been influenced by “the profound musical contributions of Romanian modern classical composers like Aurel Stroe, Anatol Vieru and of course Enescu”. Desire to get closer to the source of jazz brought him to the US, and since moving from Romania to New York, in 1999, his ensembles have included many of New York’s finest players.  

Lucian Ban “ricocheted among orthodox post bop, free jazz, and inspired hybrids—including his inventive arrangements of the music of Romanian composer George Enesco" on his all-star octet album Enesco Re-imagined (Sunnyside, 2009) co-lead with bassist John Hébert. In 2013 Ban’s quartet Elevation released their first album, the "blustery Mystery (Sunnyside), where the searing, post-Coltrane blowing of tenor saxophonist Abraham Burton and the charged rhythms of drummer Eric McPherson and bassist John Hebert cut against the pianist’s controlled, abstruse austerity". Ban also has a duo with American violist Mat Maneri, Transylvanian Concert (ECM, 2013) where "Ban’s playing feels moodier and more brooding against the mahogany grain of Maneri’s microtonal viola" (Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader). He has recorded 10 albums as a leader for labels such as Sunnyside, ECM, Jazzaway, etc. Lucian Ban has performed/recorded with among others: Abraham Burton , Nasheet Waits, Mat Maneri, Alex Harding, Barry Altschul, Gerald Cleaver, Bob Stewart, Badal Roy, Tony Malaby, Mark Helias, Sam Newsome, Ralph Alessi, Pheeroan AkLaff, Reggie Nicholson, Drew Gress, Brad Jones, John Hebert, Eric McPherson, among many others. His latest album “Songs from Afar” by Elevation Quartet released by Sunnyside Records in Jan 2016 received a 5* review in Downbeat Magazine.