Sebastian: Music as Survival

14/04/2016 @ Romanian Cultural Institute

Through his amazing diary, covering almost ten years between 1935-1944, Mihail Sebastian has given us one of the most important moral testimonies of the 20th century. Living isolated and hunted in a country that had descended into political madness, the great writer sought refuge from barbarism in restorative doses of classical music. As a tribute to Sebastian, whose eye-opening roman à clef  ‘For Two Thousand Years’ (1934) has been recently published by Penguin Classics, we conjure the power of music to redeem and console with a recital given by Forna Quartet featuring his favourite classical works.


The concert follows a conversation about Sebastian and his work with celebrated philosopher, author and journalist Andrei Cornea, translator and writer Philip Ó Ceallaigh, and editor Casiana Ioniţă.  



1. J. S. Bach Selection from the Art of Fugue

2. W. A. Mozart String Quartet No. 19 in C Major "Dissonance" 4th Movement

3. F. Schubert String Quartet in D minor, D810 "Death and the Maiden"

4. M. Ravel String Quartet in F major 3rd Movement

5. C. Debussy String Quartet in E minor 1st Movement


The Forna Quartet is Ioana Forna (violin), Joana Ly (violin), Francis Gallagher (viola) and Emma Besselaar (cello). The ensemble (founded under the name of Sattler Quartet) was formed in January 2011 at the Royal College of Music. Its debut took place under the mentorship of professors Mark Messenger, Susie Meszaros and Levon Chilingirian, with a minimum repertoire of string quartets by Haydn and Beethoven. Starting with 2012, after numerous competitions and masterclasses, the quartet started to assert itself on important musical stages. In 2013, it had concerts in London and Strasbourg while in the 2014/2015 season featured in the programme of the prestigious Wigmore Hall.

When: Thursday 14 April, 7pm
Where: Romanian Cultural Institute, 1 Belgrave Square.
Free entry. Please book on Eventbrite.