The performance of village folklore for an audience within the boundaries of present-day Romania, can be traced back at least to the late 16th century. The earliest documentation refers to the performance of ritual căluşerul dances in front of groups of noblemen in Transylvania, with the performance of non-ritual (social) folk dances within school plays being first mentioned in the late eighteenth century.
The present folk ensemble framework in Romania has its roots in the post Second World War Soviet phenomenon of organised professional and amateur folk ensembles. These were established throughout Eastern Europe in this period, based on the model set by the Moiseyev ensemble from the USSR. more >>>
Historians of the folk orchestra in Romania trace its origins back to 1939, when the Romanian panpipe player, Fanica Luca represented Romania at the World Exhibition in New York with his taraf. This trip was deemed so successful that immediately after the second world war Fanica set up an ‘experimental folk band’ in Bucharest, following the Moiseyev model, which was based under the auspices of the newly established Institute of Folklore.
In 1948 the Institutul de Folclor in Bucharest formed an orchestra of 80 musicians under the directorship of Victor Predescu. By 1949 there were approximately ten professional folk orchestras in Bucharest, with each one having between 40 to 100 lăutari. These included the Radiodifuziunea Romana Orchestra de Muzica Populara (founded 1949), the Pereniţa ensemble orchestra (founded 1949) which had around 100 musicians, the Home Office orchestra (M.A.I.) which had around 60 members, the orchestra of the Defence Department (M.F.A.), and the Army Orchestra Doina Armatei. more >>>