Located in the heart of EU member state Romania, the city of Bacau is the county seat for Bacau County. It is approximately 4 hours from Bucharest by train or car. The local geography and topography are varied and picturesque with the Eastern Carpathians and hilly regions washed by the Bistrita, Trotus, Siret, Tazlau, Casin and Slanic Rivers. Full of wonderful valleys and rich flora, it is an important tourist destination because of its diverse natural landscapes, historic monuments, art and significant historic architecture, especially houses.
The city of Vidin is located in northwest Bulgaria on the banks of the Danube River at the Romanian border. Situated 200 km from Sofia and about 25 km from the Serbian border, it is one of the oldest cities in Bulgaria with a rich history that dates back to the 1st century CE. Vidin serves as the administrative, cultural and economic center for the surrounding region, and the city’s many museums, historical sites and varied architecture are reflective of its uniquely varied cultural heritage. Residents are especially proud of the “Metropolitan Christian Complex’’ that includes the Synagogue, Osman Pazvantoglu Mosque, and St. Pantaleimon Church that together serve as a testament to Vidin’s long-standing tradition of religious tolerance.
The city is friendly, modern and inexpensive. Good restaurants, modern grocery stores, coffee shops and Internet cafes are all within a five-minute walk from the rehearsal hall and Institute hotel. For those who can’t survive without fast food, MacDonald’s, Pizza Hut and KFC are slightly farther, about 10-15 minutes on foot. Travel to Bacau is cheapest by flying directly to Bucharest and then by bus to Bacau. The Institute administrative staff reserves a private coach for student conductors to take them from Otopeni Airport in Bucharest to Bacau and the return to Otopeni after the workshops.
Visitors to Vidin typically find its residents more open and hospitable than those in larger cities like Sofia, and it is one of the safest cities in Bulgaria. It possesses an unusual blend of small town (population 130,000) charm and a cosmopolitan atmosphere due its location on the Romanian border, its proximity to Serbia and past occupations by the Romans and Ottoman Turks. Food and lodgings are comparatively inexpensive due to the favorable exchange rate between the Bulgarian lev and the US dollar and Euro, and there are plenty of dining choices at restaurants and cafes both in the city center and Danube River Park.
Institute Alumni Comments
“The people in Bacau were extremely friendly, and I especially liked the close distance between the hall and the hotel.”
-2016 Institute conductor
“Orchestra members are extremely friendly and professional. I couldn’t have asked for a better environment to learn.”
-2015 Institute conductor
“Excellent accommodations for a conducting workshop.”
-2014 Institute conductor