Over 30 years ago, Professor Ninuca Pop launched in Cluj Napoca The Gheorghe Dima International Music Competition under the name of Gheorghe Dima Festival and Competition of Composition and Musical Performance. The first event took place in December 1984, being a composition competition dedicated to choral, chamber and orchestral works.
The personality of Gheorghe Dima was highlighted in the festival by the main activities that characterized his life: composition and conducting. Most of his compositions are for choir: he left us an important number of works both with original themes and inspired by Romanian folklore.
The following competitions added the Musical Performance Competition as a new component. With each event the instruments were changed to allow more young musicians to compete.
The Composition Competition was designated for choral works, vocal music with accompaniment, works dedicated to wind or brass instruments, piano, cello and piano. Meanwhile the Musical Performance Competition was focused towards violin, piano, singing, wind instruments ( flute, oboe, clarinet), string quartet, bass, viola and cello. In 1987 when the Gheorghe Dima Festival and Competition of Composition and Musical Performance reached its fifth edition a national premiere took place in the festival: the first Performance Competition for percussion instruments.
The 6th edition also marked a national premiere by introducing the section of Musical Critique. Here Romanian students specialised in Musicology were invited to participate with their own works.
Starting with the 8th edition, in 1992 the Festival introduced the section of Choir Conducting underlining the personality of Gheorghe Dima as a conductor.
After 15 years intermission, from 2011 to 2017 the competition focused on wind instruments, becoming rapidly very popular.
The 17th Edition took place in June 2018 and it was designated for Choral Conducting regostering an extraordinary succes: young conductors from Romania and 23 countries ( Australia, Austria, Belarus, Brazil, Czech Republic, China, Colombia, Croația, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Slovenia, Taiwan, Thailand, SUA, Ucraine, Great Britain) have applied, the competition achiving a very high standards of the competitors. There were selected 32 candidates, competing in four rounds.
Due to the success of the Edition from 2018, the 19th Edition that will take place between 14 – 19 June 2020 is being extended with the COMPOSITION SECTION along with the CHORAL CONDUCTING SECTION existent.