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Sava, Iosif

(1933–1998), musicologist, radio and television host, and journalist. Iosif Sava (originally Segal) was born in Iaşi to a family of musicians—his grandfather, Iosif Segal (1868–1927), after whom he was named, was a violinist and a close friend and collaborator of Avrom Goldfadn, the founder of the Yiddish theater. Sava’s father, Bernard Segal (1897–1958), was a violist in the Iaşi philharmonic who also made his mark as a composer and conductor at the Jewish theater in Iaşi.

After taking private piano lessons in his hometown, Sava studied philosophy from 1951 to 1955 at the Faculty of Philosophy of Bucharest University, and musicology from 1955 to 1960 at the Ciprian Porumbescu Conservatory in Bucharest. He was editor of the newspaper Scînteia tineretului (Youth’s Spark) between 1951 and 1969. From 1969 to 1990, he worked in radio and television as an editor and host of programs for Romanian Radio Broadcasting and as editor in chief for the cultural and musical departments of Romania’s television service.

Sava wrote, alone or in collaboration, more than 65 books on music (memoirs, monographs of Romanian musicians, encyclopedias, dialogues, portraits, confessions, and analyses), among which one of the most important was the three-volume set under the general title Muzicieni evrei la noi şi în lume (Jewish Musicians from Our Country and Worldwide): Muzicieni pe acoperiş (Musicians on the Roof; 1995); Variațiuni pe o temă de Chagall (Variations on a Theme by Chagall; 1997); and Harpiştii regelui David (King David’s Harpists; 1998). He was a prolific critic, publishing reviews in the press and broadcasting them on the radio. He also followed family tradition and became an acclaimed musician, playing piano, organ, and harpsichord on international tours with Romanian orchestras.

An intellectual with a rich humanist foundation, and an uncontested authority in the field of music history and aesthetics, Sava earned renown in the mass media by presenting Romania’s earliest cultural talk shows. At first, his shows focused on music (among them, the radio show Invitațiile Euterpei [Euterpe’s Invitations; 1972–1996]), but he eventually diversified his topics and acquired a vast audience for his television broadcasts. Under the title Serate muzicale (Musical Evening Events), such shows hosted debates by musicians, young artists, Romanian intellectuals, and scholars.

Suggested Reading

Iulia Deleanu, “Convorbire cu muzicologul Iosif Sava,” in Pledoarie pentru realsemitism: Dublu recital Nicolae Cajal—Iosif Sava, Caietele culturale, 1 (Bucharest, 1997); Oltea Şerban-Pârâu, “În dialog cu muzicologul Iosif Sava,” Adevărul literar şi artistic, no. 782 (23 August 2005).



Translated from Romanian by Anca Mircea