Cristian Mandeal is among the more important Romanian conductors of his generation. While his name may not be recognizable to many, he has led an active international career, conducting front-rank orchestras throughout Europe, the Americas, the Far East and Israel, and collaborating with some of the leading soloists of the day, including Alicia de Larrocha, Radu Lupu, Yefim Bronfman, Ivo Pogorelich, Mstislav Rostropovich, Maxim Vengerov, and many others. Mandeal's supporters will likely assert that his career is still on the ascent, as his recordings in the new century have been appearing with greater frequency and drawing consistently high critical praise. Not surprisingly, Mandeal's repertory includes much of the orchestral output of Romanian composer George Enescu. But Mandeal is also well known for his Brahms and Bruckner and has championed works by many Romanian contemporary composers, including Ede Terényi and Cornel Taranu. Mandeal has made numerous recordings for several labels, among them Arte Nova Classics, BIS, and Electrecord.
Cristian Mandeal was born in Rupea, Romania, on April 19, 1946. He graduated from the Brasov Musical High School and then enrolled at the Bucharest Music Academy, where he studied conducting, piano, and composition. Mandeal would have later studies in Berlin with Karajan (1980) and with compatriot Sergiu Celibidache in Munich (1990).
After his graduation from the Bucharest Music Academy in 1974 Mandeal briefly worked as an assistant at the Romanian Opera. In 1977 he was appointed permanent conductor of the Tirgu Mures Philharmonic Orchestra, a post he held for three seasons. From 1980 to 1987 he was permanent conductor at the Cluj-Napoca (Transylvania) Philharmonic Orchestra.
Since 1991 Mandeal has served as permanent conductor of the George Enescu Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra. Although Mandeal was a veteran of the recording studio by the 1990s, it was in this decade that his first important recordings would begin to gain international acclaim. Of particular note was his 1997 nine-CD set of Brahms' orchestral works, issued to commemorate the centennial of Brahms' death.
In 2002 Mandeal left the post of artistic director of the Haifa Symphony Orchestra, but has continued to both conduct his Bucharest ensemble and remain active leading other orchestras, notably at major festivals -- Bloomington (U.S.), Edinburgh (Scotland), and Janácek (Ostrava). Among his most recent recordings is the 2007 reissue on Arte Nova Classics of the Brahms Symphony No. 1 and Academic Festival Overture with the Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra.