Biography

Background

Born in 1955 / Bucharest in a musicians family, his father was an important Romanian composer, conductor and professor. At the begining Florin studied the double bass, winning several national competitions and further, he graduated the National Music University in Bucharest. During 1980-1984, he studied conducting with the most eminent conducting professor in Romania: Constating Bugeanu. The most important moment in his musical career was the meeting with the “legendary Celibidache”, studying with him between 1982-1990 in Munich and Mainz. He also studied in the summer of 1983 at “Chigiana” Musical Academy in Siena/Italy with the renowned Franco Ferarra, attending also in Berlin and Paris (1990-1991) conducting classess with Richard Schumacher.

Competitions

Florin Totan won two international conducting copmetitions: in Murzzuschlag/Austria(in 1990) and in Berlin/Germany(1991).

Tours

Maestro Totan successfully conducted orchestra tours worldwide: Austria, Croatia, England, France, Finland, Italy, Israel, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Serbia, Turkey, Egypt, USA, Mexico, El Salvador, Brasil and Switzerland – “Crans Montana Forum” – in 1999 and 2000 in front of the most important politicians and business men of the world, like Bill Clinton ,the Prince Albert de Monaco and the Prince of Lichtenstein, the Russian Prim Minister V. Tchernomirdyn and others presidents.

Guest Conducting

During his career as conductor, was invited as guest conductor to important orchestras like: Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Prusian Chamber Orchestra and Ruhr Chamber Philharmonic (Germany), London Schubert Players, Derby Symphony Orchestra, Charnwood Orchestra, Southampton Youth Orchestra and Hampshire Sinfonietta (England), Porto National Orchestra, Porto Festival Orchestra, Porto Sinfonietta and Braga Chamber Orchestra (Portugal), City of Cadiz Orchestra, Alcoy Symphony Orchestra and Barcelona Chamber Orchestra (Spain), Modern Ensemble (Austria), Sofia Music University Symphony Orchestra (Bulgaria), Savaria Symphony Orchestra (Hungary), Orchestral Ensemble from Bruxelles (Belgium), Pori Sinfonietta(Finland), “Amadeus” Choir and Orchestra from Paris, Royal Strings of St George, Genova Philharmonic, Bergamo Chamber Orchestra, “Milano Clasica” Chamber Orchestra and Catanzaro Symphony Orchestra (Italy), Herzliya Chamber Orchestra (Israel), Cairo Symphony Orchestra(Egypt), Adana and Antalya Symphony Orchestra (Turkey), AIMS Symphony Orchestra of Dallas, University of Tenessee Symphony Orchestra, Kansas Chamber Orchestra, Denver University Symphony Orchestras and Vancouver Civic Symphony Orchestra (USA), Acapulco Philharmonic (Mexico), National Symphony Orchestra of El Salvador, Minas Gerais Symphony Orchestra of Belo Horizonte(Brasil).

Most beloved project

“IN MEMORIAM CELIBIDACHE” – consisting in private lessons in Bucharest,about Celibidache’s technique and philosophy of music for conductors from all over the world. He also teached this technique at Master Courses and Seminars in Portugal ,Italy, France, Spain, Brasil and USA (Denver and Kansas City). This year is the celebration of 100 years of Celibidache’s birthday.

Festivals

Maestro Totan was invited as special guest: Paris-Jouvissy(1985) and Avignon(1990,1992,1994)-France,”Mozart Festival”in Brescia and Bergamo Festival(1997,2008,2012)-Italy,Rovinj,Osor and Sisak-Croatia,Nis and Vrnjci Spa-Serbia,1st Romanian Music Festival in London(2005),Portuguese Orchestras Festival of Lisbon(1999)-Portugal and “Enescu Festival” of Bucharest(1998,2009,2011)-Romania.

He conducted in RINOWN HALLS:”Schauspielhaus-Berlin,Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova,Sala Piatti e Teatro Donizetti di Bergamo-Italy,Guildhall of Southampton-England,Salle de Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles.(if you need the translation in english,tell me),I am just crazy to finish quickly cause thgis laptop kill me….I work from 2 days,and “eat” what I wrait,the words/letters jump all over,and again and again….

Important soloists played under his baton

World star pan flute – Gheorghe Zamfir (Bucharest-Paris), the pianists Babette Hierholzer (Berlin-New York), Jean Francois Dichamp (Paris) and Hanna Jaszik (Varsaw-Bruges), the cellists Xavier Philipps (Paris) and Amit Peled (Tel Aviv-Baltimore) and the Romanian soprano Cellia Costea (Bucharerst, Athens).

Recommendations

  1. “Totan enjoys all the qualities requested by a good conductor.Endowed with an incontestable talent and a remarkable musical sensibility,I am sure that soon he will reach the perfection as a conductor”(1987) Prof.and composer,ION DUMITRESCU Past President of Romanian Union of Composers, Member of Belle Arte French Academy-Paris;
  2. He is definitely a very energetic musician,a clear conductor and devoted artist.He is on the way to have a very healthy and brilliant career as conductor and I wish him all the best for his further development”(1994) Prof.CRISTOPH POPPEN Music Director of Munich Chamber Orchestra Rektor of “Hanns Eisler”Music Academy-Berlin;
  3. “Mr Totan proved to be an extremely competent and professional conductor and accomplished the ungrateful task of accompaniating the six finalists with an enormous sense of musicality,patience and humanity.The Board is very happy to have choosen Mr Totan,who definitely gave an important contribution for the high artistic level of this competition.We would like to add that Porto National Orchestra was also very pleased with Mr Totan’s work”(1998) FERNANDA WANDSCHNEIDER, President of Porto International Piano Competition;
  4. “Je crois que Mr.Totan dispose d’un beau bagage technique pour s’imposer a l’orchestre et temoigne une belle musicalite a l’egard des partitions interprete.Son travail avec les 6 pianistes fut tres apprecie et admire par mes colegues du jury.A mon avis, la cariere internationale de Mr.Totan devrait s’ouvrir d’une maniere brillante”(1998)  AQUILLES DELLE VIGNE ,Prof.a la Sommer Akademie Mozarteum-Salzburg, Directeur Musical du Grand Prix International de piano Bosendorfer Empire, Prof.a l’Ecole de Musique “Alfred Cortot”-Paris, Prof.au Conservatoire de Rotterdam;
  5. “A truly charming and charismatic personality and artist”(1998) BRYCE MORRISON International writer and critic(for “Gramophone”revue);
  6. “F.Totan,chef d’orchestre plein de personalité et sensibilité “(1998) JORGE MOYANO, Prof.at Lisbon Music Academy
  7. “Bravo, para un gran director”(1998) RAMON CASTROMIL Spanish pianist;
  8. “It is with great plesure that I write about Maestro Florin Totan.I had the privilege to perform with him in Bucharest this season,with the Romanian National Radio Orchestra. Maestro Totan is mervelous conductor.Technicaly-superb,musicaly-very convincing and is blessed with a fine stage presence.Here is somebody who really deserves to be heard”(2000) EUGEN SARBU International violin soloist;
  9. “Vreau sa-i multumesc Dlui.Totan,care a fost un dirijor excelent si foarte inteligent in colaborarea cu mine.Am avut lungi discutii cu Dumnealui,fapt care e neobisnuit,penbtru ca de obicei,dirijorii vin la repetitie si dirijeaza si asta e tot.Cu Dl.Totan a fost diferit,am vorbit mult,m-a ascultat si am reglat toate aspectele.Este fantastic,un dirijor foarte bun si profesionist”(2009) AMIR TEBENIKHIN Castigatorul Concursului de pian G.Enescu”(2009).

Letters of recommendation and comments

  1. Dear Florin, about your visit and course here in brazil, well, I have always encountered situations when we used to chat about you here in Brazil. The first thing we agree is that you were the only guest conductor which really taught something for the students. I think because of your temperament and intelligence and of couse the Celi’s technique.  The second is your technique is great, and the musicians from the Orquestra Sinfônica de Minas Gerais has always said the same. I remember talking to some of them and they usually say (which I agree!) that you have enormous energy and leadership, also spread through your conducting technique. Always beating clearly and always indicating musical ideas very clearly, too. Well, I hope your fine…and you have the patience to read all of the above! hahaha. Your friend,  Rodrigo Garcia(Brasil) - rodrigogarciabh@hotmail.com
  2. To whom it may concern,  My name is Eduardo Ribeiro, I´m a brazilian conductor, resident in Belo Horizonte , Minas Gerais. I teach conducting technique and composition in Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) , and I´m recorder player and singer. In October 2005, after more than a decade of conducting practice and several courses on conducting technique I took an important decision and travel to Romenia, Bucharest , to take lessons with a very well recommended fellow of Celibidache, Maestro Florin Totan. In internet contacts he offered me to prove his concentrated and individual course of Celi Technique, with 3 days of theory and exercises, 12 hours of class rehearsals on his private orchestra and a concert in an important hall of Bucharest. This course represents a turning point in my career and my vision about music and how to deal really professionally with an orchestra. In three days of preparation, I could really felt my arms and muscles, my body and the integration of my movements with my conciousness, very different of my former and mechanical patters of arm movement. In the class rehearsals and concert, I could prove how refined is the Celi technique, teached by a perfect master like Maestro Florin Totan. Very few times in my career and I had such control of phrases , dynamics, tempo and the feeling of musical tension in my hands and my ear. The details of style, the secrets of bowings, structuration and phrasing had a great impact, opening my ears, eyes and the perception of my body, showing me the really treasure of the Celi´s Techinique and Philosophy about music. I liked a lot! I felt a suddenly jump in my technique, in my inner ear and in my musical conciousness. In my return to Brasil, the next concert after this course I could prove alone my improvement. The musicians of my orchestra and my colleagues was very enfatic about the remarkably changing in my conducting performance. I was very happy. Only one month later, in November 2005 I was again in Bucharest , joining me to Maestro Totan in another course to reinforce the contact with this perfect technique and this great experience. In august 2006 I invited Maestro Totan to offer a Celi course in my city, Belo Horizonte , Brasil, commemorating 10 years after Celi´s death. This was a remarkably moment in my orchestra and my students who had 2 weeks of classes and rehearsals, and two great concerts in our hall, one with the students and the closing concert with maestro Florin Totan. We never heard our student orchestra with such colours, powerful sound, brilliant phrases, humour, gallantery, profoundity, and, after all, a deply sense of harmony and balance. He conduct the State Orchestra in the same period with a great success, captivating the whole orchestra with his Fantastic arm technique, ear, phrasing and charism. To us, was a very rich time with a great teacher and great musician like Maestro Totan, who is one of the best known conductors of the Conducting Celi School, and specially, with a great skill to teach an help the student to make a jump in his consciousness, to be a really professional conductor. All of we had a great improvement in the conducting technique, rehearsal technique and all other aspects of the high musical performance, showed in real examples, in front of orchestra by Maestro Totan. Althoug the difficults inherent to conducting, which demands from the students a lot of concentration and, after all, some talent, the classes and rehearsals were absolutely amazing, with a lot of joy, energy, transcendence, knowledge and a fine humour and charism, aspects which jumps from the personality of maestro Florin Totan. I returned more and more (again in 2006 and 2007) to study with him in Bucharest and conduct his orchestra, Sinfonia Bucharest, a very refined ensemble, trained in the fenomenological principles of Celi´s Technique. After Florin Totan, I can say, now I´m a professional conductor, starting a promised career in Europe . I´m really convinced the Celi´s Technique on conducting is the top of this art, showing the real and natural principles including all aspects of musical performance, transcending the standard patterns which we can see in the schools and courses around the world. I deply reccomend the experience with Maestro Florin Totan and his orchestra, Sinfonia Bucharest, for conducting students and even professional conductors to make a great jump in his skill and conciousness about musical performance on conducting. Maestro Eduardo Ribeiro Composer and Conductor of Symphonic Orchestra of UFMG – Brasil ribeiro1685@yahoo.com.br - 0055-3464-6225 - 0055-9637-2106
  3. Maestro Florin Totan is a wonderful musician who conducted a superb concert with my University of Tennessee Symphony Orchestra. He had excellent command of the orchestra and the music, including expert guidance in accompanying the Schumann Piano Concerto. Maestro Totan is passionate and enthusiastic about music, and it shows during his rehearsals. He always had insightful comments to the student musicians, offering imaginative ideas to inspire their best playing…the results were convincing, dynamic, and extremely musical. The audience response to the concert was fantastic. James Fellenbaum, Director of Orchestras (Tennessee University) jfellenbaum@hotmail.com
  4. To whom it may concern, ”O maestro Totan demonstrou ter o domínio completo da orquestra e de tudo que se refere a ela, com grande inteligência e talento. O curso foi um grande sucesso e os alunos e músicos de nossa orquestra ficaram encantados. O público se impressionou ao assistir o concerto de nossa sinfônica regido por Florin Totan, cuja sonoridade teve uma extraordinária transformação nestes dias. ”Maestro Totan show us your complete mastery of the orchestra and all regarding it, with great intelligence and talent. The course was a great sucess, the students and musicians of our orchestra were enchanted with him. The public was impressed in the concert with our orchestra conducted by Florin Totan, whose sonority had an extraodinary transformation in these days”. Lucas Bretas dos Santos, pianist Dr. and Professor of piano in EMUFMG Diretor of EMUFMG Belo Horizonte, Brasil
  5. “O que mais me chama a atenção no maestro Totan é sua força, vivacidade e capacidade de controle do grupo. Sua presença imponente chama a atenção da orquestra de forma enérgica mas também carinhosa”. ”What calls my very attention in Florin Totan is his strenght, vivacity and ability to control the group. Your imponent presence calls attention of the orchestra with very energy but, at same time, in affectionate way. “Silvio Viegas, conductor Professor of conducting in EMUFMG Belo Horizonte, Brasil. 
  6. “Sua regência diz com exatidão e clareza sua concepção musical sobre as obras regidas, além de muito dinamismo e descontração, embora muito exigente nos ensaios. Um maestro de grande beleza gestual e bom gosto musical”. “His conducting technique says exactly and clearly his musical concepcions about the works conducted, besides great dinamism and spontaneity, even though their extreme exigency in the rehearsals. This maestro have so beauty gestures and good musical taste”. Eliseu Barros, violinist Spalla of State Symphonic Orchestra of Minas Gerais Belo Horizonte, Brasil.
  7. “O Maestro Florin Totan mostra, durante os ensaios, presença e prontidão notáveis, interrompendo a orquestra sempre quando tem algo pertinente a ser dito, obtendo, dos músicos, uma resposta cuja eficácia foi demonstrada nos dois concertos em Belo Horizonte. Acompanhando o trabalho do Maestro, temos a certeza de que ele possui um profundo conhecimento e uma nítida imagem sonora da obra que dirige” “Maestro Totan show in the rehearsals, presence and notably competence, stopping the orchestra always when something important must be explained, getting the best from the musicians, as we saw in two remarkable concerts in Belo Horizonte. Following maestro Totan in his work, we have the convinction that he possess a deply knowledge and a clear sound image of the works conducted”. Dr. Oiliam Lana, conductor and composer Professor of Composicion in EMUFMG Belo Horizonte, Brasil
  8. Colorado MahlerFest Robert Olson, Artistic Director 3404 W. 97th Place Leawood, KS 66206 Phone: (913) 648-5808 E mail: olsonrh@umkc.edu July 16, 2005To Whom It May Concern: This is a letter recommending all who read this to consider the excellence of maestro Florin Totan ’s wonderful conducting course concentrating on the techniques of his teacher S. Celibidache. I invited him to present his course in a series of lectures to my graduate conducting students at the Conservatory of Music, University of Missouri-Kansas City in February of 2005. He was most effective in his presentation, was well received by my students and his endless energy in contagious almost to a fault! I should also say that Totan conducted my chamber orchestra in an excellent performance of Prokofieff’s First Symphony, Bartok’s Romanian Dances, and other works from his homeland composers. He brought an unbelievable excitement to the works in rehearsal and performance. In addition, I found maestro Totan to be a person of integrity and warmth, and now count him as a friend … something rather rare in our conducting field! Please do not hesitate to contact me should you wish additional information. Sincerely, Robert Olson (titles listed for purposes of this recommendation). Director of Orchestras/Opera, Conservatory of Music, UMKC, Artistic Director, Colorado MahlerFest, Music Director, Longmont Symphony ( Colorado) Conductor, Kansas City Ballet
  9. Pianista T.Dussaut ii trimete directorului ARTEXIM ,cronica semnata de Dl M. de Brancovan pe cel mai important site international de critica muzicala:
    From: Thérèse Dussaut [mailto:theresedussaut@orange.fr]Sent: 13 October 2009 09:24To: artexim Roumanie/ Mihai Constantinescu/ ArteximSubject: et aussi :
    Cher Monsieur,
    Ravie de lire et de vous faire parvenir un extrait (concert de gala) du large compte-rendu de Mihai de Brancovan sur “musicalpress.org”.
    Avec mes sentiments chaleureux Thérèse Dussaut
    “Parallèlement au festival se déroulait, durant les huit premiers jours de celui-ci, comme le veut la tradition, le concours Enesco, dont les trois volets: piano, violon et composition avaient attiré, respectivement, 41, 51 et 181 candidats originaires de 40 pays. Retransmis par Mezzo depuis un Athénée bondé, le concert des lauréats débute, en présence de Ioan Holender et du ministre de la Culture, Theodor Paleologu – que l’on voit à pratiquement toutes les manifestations du festival – par une remise des prix gentiment brouillonne.
    Le concert proprement dit s’ouvrait donc par l’œuvre couronnée il y a deux ans,Sounds of Meditation, pour soprano et orchestre, d’un autre Chinois (né en 1976): Hu Xiao-ou, qui s’est inspiré de la musique comme de la philosophie tibétaines. Au cours des trois mouvements (Mise au tombeau céleste, Transmigration, Nirvana), les instrumentistes, en plus de jouer, interviennent vocalement, imitant les incantations des moines bouddhistes. Florin Totan, un ancien élève de Celibidache (lequel était fasciné par le bouddhisme…), dirigeait avec autorité et finesse l’excellente Philharmonie de Cluj.
    La seconde partie nous permettait de découvrir les premiers prix des deux sections instrumentales: le Polonais de (presque) 25 ans Jaroslaw Nadrzycki (violon) séduit par son lyrisme, son style fin, racé, dans le Concerto de Sibelius, dirigé de main de maître par un chef qui pourrait être son grand-père, Ilarion Ionescu-Galati, lui-même violoniste à l’origine; quant au pianiste kazakh Amir Tebenikhin (né en 1977), c’est une véritable bête de scène, qui éblouit surtout par une technique à toute épreuve: sous la battue flamboyante de Florin Totan, il se joue des difficultés du 3e Concerto de Rachmaninov avec une aisance que l’on retrouvait dans la prodigieuse Toccata de Prokofiev offerte en bis”.
  10. Interviu în “Cotidianul” cu câștigătorul concursului:
    http://www.cotidianul.ro/amir_tebenikhin_programul_de_concurs_m_a_convins_sa_ma_inscriu-97552.html
    în care spune către sfârșit:
    ÎNTREBARE (Reporter): Ați cântat cu FIlarmonica Transilvania si cu Maestrul Totan, cum a decurs colaborarea dumneavoastră?
    RASPUNS (Amir Tebenikhin): Am fost foarte surprins si foarte fericit sa cânt alături de marii muzicieni ai acestei orchestre… Vreau să-i mulțumesc Domnului Totan, care a fost un dirijor excelent și foarte inteligent în colaborarea cu mine. Am avut luni discuții cu dânsul, fapt care e destul de neobișnuit, pentru că de obicei dirijorii vin la repetiție și dirijează, asta e tot!. Cu domnul Totan a fost diferit, dânsul a venit dimineața la conservator și am avut o discuție lungă de o ora și jumătate. Apoi am cândat concertul, m-a ascultat, am discutat despre tempo-uri și multe aspecte. Este foarte neobișnuit. După care, azi, am avut o altă discuție lungă, este fantastic, un dirijor foarte bun și profesionist!!!
  11. Câștigătorul premiului 2, An Jong Do (Koreea) a declarat tot pentru “Cotidianul”:
    “…. am discutat foarte mult cu dirijorul si dinsul m-a ajutat atit de mult,am vorbit de tempo-uri,despre muzicalitate si asta m-a ajutat enorm.Orchestra este foarte sensibilă, am colaborat excelent cu muzicienii”;
  12. Maestrul Galați îmi spunea la ieșirea din scenă dupa aceasta piesă, ca “e incredibil cum lumea aplauda asa de mult la o piesa modernă, ca după “Carmina Burana”! …;
  13.  Lavinia Coman scrie în suplimentul “Cotidianul” sub titlul “Concursul de pian,un final cu glorie” si continuă:”… cei 3 finaliști și-au sustinut concertele în compania Orchestrei “Transilvania” din Cluj, aflată într-o formă mult îmbunătățită față de finala ediției trecute! Dirijorul Florin Totan a făcut eforturi extraordinare că să asigure cu promptitudine și eficiență parteneriatul orchestră-soliști.Un factor de discomfort a fost spațiul insuficient oferit de sala George Enescu a UNMB”;
  14. Scrisoare primita de la compozitorul chinez (a cărui lucrare, premiată la concursul de compozitie, a fost prezentată în prima audiție absolută la Ateneul Român), în care vorbește că succesul nostru de la Ateneu a fost pe larg mediatizat pe postul național de televiziune din China (cu imagini):
    http://www.sc.xinhuanet.com/content/2009-09/09/content_17646815.htm