Michael Cretu is an internationally recognised musician and composer, whose family has a long musical tradition dating back to the 17th Century. Born in Bucharest, Romania Michael has been playing the double bass since he was 12. At the age of 19, he joined the Romanian National Radio Symphony Orchestra. Michael studied music at George Enescu Music School in Bucharest and he won a scholarship to complete his postgraduate studies with Duncan McTier at the Royal Northern College in Manchester.
In 2011, Michael premiered his new septet at the Romanian Institute of Culture in London and his new solo double bass piece at the Romanian Institute of Culture in Paris. He performed his solo pieces at the Royal Academy of Music and King’s Place, London. He composed the music for Thrasher, a new play that sold out at The Royal Exchange, Manchester and Camden People’s Theatre, London. Michael also performed two recitals at The Royal Exchange, Manchester and one at The Royal Northern College of Music. He played at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and won strong praise and positive reviews for his performances.
Michael regularly works as a classical and jazz double bassist, composer and musical director. He has performed as a solo, chamber, orchestral and jazz musician across Europe and South America, touring Holland, Spain, Brazil and Great Britain with violinist Cristina Anghelescu. Michael is currently composing and performing as part of a chamber group, funded by the European Union to promote the work of contemporary classical composers. The project includes performances in London, Paris, and Bucharest.
Since 2014 Michael is the musical director for the Manchester International Roots Orchestra, formed by RNCM and North West Community Arts.
As a composer, Michael was commissioned by the Bucharest Conservatoire to write a solo piece for the Josef Prunner International Double Bass Competition. Among his major works are Eight Steps to Eternity; Homeland; and The Wolf, the Bear and the Shepherd. Michael also transcribed and recorded Paganini’s Violin Capriccio Number 24for the Double Bass and is currently working with a touring theatre company as a composer and solo bassist. His compositions are published by Liben Music Publishers, Cincinnati, USA and Recital Music, UK.
In 2013 Michael composed the music for a Romanian National Radio show, for this work he was a finalist and nominated for a prize in the European Broadcasting Competition and Festival!
A live performance of Michael playing his solo work has been broadcast on BBC Radio. Within the UK, he has performed his pieces at a variety of venues, including Royal Academy of Music-London, Royal Northern College of Music- Manchester, Queen’s Hall-Edinburgh Festival, Bridgewater Hall- Manchester, Manchester Cathedral, Purcell Room-London, and St James Piccadilly-London. Michael regularly performs in Manchester and elsewhere in the UK with his successful Jazz trio.
In 2017 Michael was invited to talk and perform live on one of the most prestigious radio music programs – BBC Radio 3 In Tune.
Michael is an artist in residence at Salford University Music Department.
“In the atmospheric setting of the chapel of St John’s Church, Michael Cretu, an internationally acclaimed double bassist and composer, gives a passionate talk about the history of his family, followed by a recital”
“Cretu’s elegant and passionate mastery of the double bass, paired with the sentiment expressed during the talk, makes the moment a profound and rich testimony of history and culture” – TVBOMB (rated four stars).
“The music impact was heightened by the composer use of space, particularly underlining the power of an explosive violin passage that brought to mind Shostakovich” – Manchester Evening News.
“The violin and bass duet Homeland by Michael Cretu is a pleasant contrast among all of the solo bass music….Exciting and well balanced, this is one of my favourites of the book” Double Bass Magazine.
“Burnt is fringe theatre at its best, not least because it also boasts a live soundtrack courtesy of double-bass maestro Michael Cretu. Romanian by birth, Cretu’s brooding score is the perfect complement to McKee’s melancholic tale.” – Ian Winterton, The Public Reviews
“The haunting music (composed by Michael Cretu) only highlights the sadness the characters feel, like lost ghosts wandering through the city, unloved, unnoticed whilst their calls for help, unanswered.” – Lucia Cox, What’s On Stage
“This theme is reinforced by Michael Cretu’s score in which the depth of the bass from the strings brings emotional gravity, whilst its distinctly Hispanic feel combines to give a weightless ephemeral quality, teetering between the two throughout, a motif the director has artfully conveyed in every aspect of the play.” – Emma Short, Manchester Salon
“a very lovely recital on the double bass by composer Michael Cretu, which emphasized the happier outcomes of the final scene.” – Jane Kilpatrick, The Mancunion
“The refreshingly different duo breathes new life into old favourites of Bach and Paganini, for example and reveals a vital spark of Romanianism in its work” – The Hampshire Chronicle.
“The pair’s performance at the cathedral was inspired an inspiring, hitting emotional and dramatic peaks, notably in the premiere of Cretu’s Eight Steps to Eternity” – Manchester Evening News.
“an atmospheric soundscape created by musician Michael Cretu on the double bass” – The Scotsman
“Michael Cretu’s fantastical timbres … and his longer melodic passages wove a beautiful yet tragic aesthetic.” – Three Weeks
“extraordinary playing of the double-bassist, Michael Cretu” – Louise Hemfrey, Broadway Baby
“Cretu contributes more than just atmosphere. His music ranges from tonal background sounds that add drama to powerful jazz/scat beats” – Dave Cunningham, The Public Reviews