Lucian-Leonard Raiciof jubilees! 

Lucian-Leonard Raiciof jubilees! Leo has been a violinist in the Residentie Orkest for 25 years, 17 of which as concertmaster. Therefore, we put him in the full spotlight. For the first time, Leo talks about his childhood in Romania, his career as a violinist and the special way he came into our orchestra.

Leo was born in 1971 in Onești, a small town near Bacău, Romania. His musical talent revealed itself when he was two years old, Leo says: "If there was music on TV, I would jump on my cot and sing along loudly!" His father enjoyed playing the accordion and harmonica. On that Last instrument, he taught toddler Leo to play a few songs. That went so well for Leo that his father had him enter a music competition when he was three. "The microphone on the stage was way too high, and I was put on a chair with my harmonica. I won first prize then." 

Music class

During that time, Leo won several competitions. A retired pharmacist friend recognized Leo's musical talent and began giving him piano lessons. "I enjoyed that very much, but I could only play in his house, because for my parents a piano was much too expensive. The pharmacist went to remodel his house at one point, and nothing came of piano lessons. However, he was friends with an old, Jewish violinist, A.I. Cuperman. He convinced my parents that the violin would be a good choice for me. From him I learned a lot."


The family moved to Bacău, where Leo attended lyceum. There he received violin lessons from Alexandru Iosub. Leo's violin playing developed rapidly. In the early 1980s, Leo was then eleven, this school was disbanded by Ceausescu Leo found a new teacher in the big city of Iași at the Octav Bancila music school: Natalia Epure. Again, his parents and sister moved with Leo. When he was eighteen, Leo began his studies at the George Enescu Music Academy with Leonid Popovici, Natalia Epure's former teacher. "During those years of study I became concertmaster of the Iași "Moldova" Philharmonic Orchestra. Every year I had to do a very long trial performance to prove that I was still worthy of that position. In the Last year of my studies, that trial play was even longer, because I also had to conduct the orchestra, in Dvorák's Ninth Symphony."

Residentie Orkest

Conductor Alexandru Lascae, who was also second concertmaster at Residentie Orkest, was chief conductor of the orchestra in Iași at the time. "In 1996 we made a tour to the Netherlands. Lascae told me that shortly after the tour there would be a trial performance at the Residentie Orkest, for tutti first violin. I was interested in that, and I decided to participate in the trial play. It was a difficult situation for me, because I couldn't tell my colleagues what I was going to do; then I risked getting fired. I couldn't call or write my parents, because the Romanian government kept a very close eye on their citizens even in the post-Ceaușescu era. I then gave a colleague friend a cassette tape with my story to give to my parents."
Leo won the tryout and joined the Residentie Orkest on April 1, 1996 , where Yevgeni Svetlanov was then chief conductor. "That was a dream come true! In my youth I bought many albums of orchestral music, often with Svetlanov as conductor. Masterful! That man was like a god to me. So I cherish in my heart the many concerts with him in The Hague and elsewhere."

Trial Play

In 2004, Leo submitted a special trial play for the vacant position of first concertmaster: he insisted on playing, instead of a choice determined by the committee, the entire imposed repertoire; a book of 67 pages. "I played for more than an hour and a half at a time. Afterwards there was a long line of colleagues in front of the toilets!"


As concertmaster, Leo has always witnessed the ups and downs of the Residentie Orkest very closely. His musings on the effects of the corona pandemic on the orchestra are surprisingly positive: "It may sound strange, but I think that corona brought out the best in orchestral musicians: the work ethic, the good preparation of parts, the great concentration during rehearsals and concerts. With conductors like Nicholas Collon, Anja Bihlmaier, Antony Hermus and Jun Märkl, who have worked with us with great dedication and respect, we have given beautiful concerts. Of course, we also suffered a lot: concerts without an audience, great distances between the musicians that made playing together difficult, and also offstage always only half contact due to coronagraphic measures. Anyway, it will be an emotional moment when, after years of playing in the Zuiderstrandtheater and on Meppelweg, in September we will move into our new hall in Amare , hopefully without corona. I can hardly wait until we play the first note there! We deserve a good sounding, beautiful hall, a hall where we are really at home, like we used to be in the Dr. Anton Philipszaal. I hope that in Amare we will find our heart and soul again!"

Ronald Touw

18-year-old Leo plays E. Enescu's third violin sonata, "dans le caractère populaire roumain" (in Romanian folk style)
Portrait photo Residentie Orkest