On 19 April 2023, the new directions for this year’s “COOLsound – online despre scena independentă românească / COOLsound – online about the Romanian independent stage” were announced at CREART (Teatrelli). COOLsound is an ongoing project to support young independent artists.
One of the new directions that COOLsound will be taking is promotion of Generation Z, meaning future artists who have recently graduated from art schools or are still studying for an M.A. or Ph.D. These are young artists who are just setting out on their careers or are still trying to find their own direction. The event will bring together the project’s initiators, its main partners, and some of the artists who took part over the course of 2021-2022, including Alex Ștefănescu, cellist Cornelius Zirbo, and dancer Arcadie Rusu. Other artists will also be present to talk about the impact that the pandemic has had on their careers and development, as well as about how they have had to reorient themselves personally during this extended crisis.
COOLsound – online about Romanian independent scene, a project created by ProContemporania with the support of JTI and in partnership with The Culture Club – which since 2021 has promoted online artistic productions featuring Romanian musicians, actors, dancers, and performers, mostly from the younger generation – is now in its third year of supporting Romanian independent artists.
COOLsound aims to serve as a reference tool, an online directory of the independent scene in Romania. Two years into the project, the platform now presents almost fifty artists who, when they joined the project, were not employed by any public arts institutions in Romania and as a result were strongly affected by the Covid 19 pandemic and its impact on the performance arts. These artists were confronted with a very difficult situation during the pandemic, because they were the first to be sent off the field and were the last to be called back. Given that the arts were deemed “non-essential”, the 2020-21 period turned artists into a visibly disadvantaged social and professional group. The performing arts, including the independent sector, were held in abeyance, and artists who didn’t have permanent contracts with cultural institutions quite simply lost their entire source of income. These included artists who, even though they worked for major cultural institutions on a collaborating basis, ceased to have performance engagements and, when venues reopened in the summer of 2021, only some of these were restored. The arts sector partly recovered in 2022, but there continues to be a major crisis, even if the Romanian state has since found some solutions. This situation has not prevented independent artists from receiving awards at major international competitions or from getting involved in major cultural projects both in Romania and abroad.
COOLsound – online despre scena independentă românească / COOLsound – online about the Romanian independent stage is a bilingual project that was launched in 2021 and has continued in 2022 and 2023. The project showcases performances by participating artists, which are filmed to the highest professional standards and presented on the procontemporania YouTube channel and at www.coolsound.ro.
www.coolsound.ro features video, photographic, and full text content in both Romanian and English, with each section focusing on a solo arts performance, together with an interview/statement and complex multimedia presentation, to provide a true calling card for each artist.
Filming took place at CreART, ArCuB, the National University of Music Bucharest, and the Tinerimea Română National Arts Centre, with production designed by director of photography Virgil Oprina. The COOLsound online space was created by Andrei Crăciun. The project is managed by Oltea Şerban-Pârâu and the artistic consultant is Ovidiu Miculescu. JTI has been directly involved in the creation of the online platform via Gilda Lazăr, Head of Corporate Affairs and Communications.
The project is supported by JTI, a company well known for supporting art and culture.
Main cultural partner: The Culture Club.
Cultural partners: Bucharest City Hall, CreArt, ARCUB, National University of Music in Bucharest, Tinerimea Română National Arts Centre.
Media partners: Radio Romania Cultural, Radio Romania Musical, Radio Romania Regional, Mediatrust, Romania TV, Liternet, Agenția de Carte.
There are many categories of professions in which young Romanians excel, but one especial area is the arts. Many young people study and build a future for themselves on the world’s great stages, be it in music, dance, or theatre. Romania is renowned throughout the world for its exceptional performers, some of whom are musicians who play in prestigious orchestras from every continent or give sold-out recitals in the world’s great capitals, others climb to the upper echelons in the highly demanding fields of international cinema and television.
These artists honour us with their performances. They top the bill, they are on the internet, they are in the press, they appear on stage. Some of them have chosen to pursue their careers in Romania, whether they have studied at home or abroad. Some of them are employed by public performing and concert institutions, but most are INDEPENDENT ARTISTS.
The concept of independent artist covers a range of meanings, but in a year such as 2020, when many performing careers have come to a standstill, it refers specifically to those artists who are not affiliated to public cultural institutions except via occasional collaborations.
The COOLsound • online about the Romanian independent scene project aims to support online arts productions by up and coming musicians, actors and dancers. Productions showcasing their repertoire are professionally filmed and uploaded to YouTube Channel and the www.COOLsound.ro platform, forming the first pages of an Online Dictionary of new releases – new entries in the field of Romanian classical music, acting, and dance.
The support will be given to independent performing artists, well known or little known to Romanian audiences, people who most certainly are NOT employees of any theatre or public institution in Romania, although this has not prevented them from winning prestigious prizes in international competitions or from getting involved in large-scale cultural projects in Romania and abroad.
Gestures of support for such artists in such times do not only mean significant, specific help; they also mean a perspective in which such people or many of them will answer when their names are called during other future actions. The project has the potential to support the social inclusion of independent artists, as part of wider actions for social inclusion through culture.