The Prodan Romanian Cultural Foundation is a recently-formed charitable body endowed by the Estates of the late Mia Prodan de Kisbunn of Romania and her daughter the late Maria Bjornson, the well-known British theatre and opera designer best known to the public as the costume and set designer for Phantom of the Opera. The trustees of the Foundation are Christopher Moore, Professor Robert Temple, and Olivia Temple.
The purpose of the Foundation is to promote outside Romania the high points of Romanian contributions to 20th century Western culture, mainly the activities of the Romanian diaspora who fled their country to escape the two world wars and the Nazi and communist regimes.
The primary musical emphasis of the Foundation is upon the compositions of Dinu Lipatti (who died aged 33, an exile in Geneva) and upon the Foundation's Later Fugue Project. The Foundation has created a mini-label named Brancusi Classics which is recording all fugues of major composers since the deaths of Bach and Handel, performed by Stefano Greco. The Foundation has also paid for the restoration of Romania's oldest keyboard instrument, a Clavichord of 1820 at Sighisoara, jointly with the Mihai Eminescu Trust.
The Foundation is translating the complete works of Prince Matila Ghyka from French into English, commencing with Le Nombre d'Or, books which include lengthy discussions of musical theory, with a later volume in the series entitled Essai sur le Rythme. The Ghyka Project, which elucidates the Golden Section in the history of world art and architecture, is connected with the forthcoming study by Stefano Greco of Bach's fugues, through his elucidation of the Golden Section in Bach's fugue composition technique.
The Foundation is also translating or plans to translate into English works by a variety of Romanian authors, including Professor Serge Moscovici, Professor Mircea Eliade, Isidore Isou, Benjamin Fondane, Lucian Blaga, and Tristan Tzara. We are also accumulating works by Gherasim Luca, Jacques Hérold, Brassai (a 'Hungarian Romanian' best known as a photographer), Mikhail Sebastian, Victor Brauner, Countess Anna de Noailles, Helène Vacaresco, Carmen Sylva, Queen Marie of Romania, Princess Marthe Bibesco, Dolfi Trost, Gellu Naum, Ion Vinea and others. In addition, the Foundation is collecting archive material relating to the numerous theatrical and film personalities who came from Romania: Edward G. Robinson, Bela Lugosi (a 'Hungarian Romanian'), John Houseman, Gabriel Pascal, Leonard Spigelgass, Nadia Gray, Johnny Weissmuller, Lupu Pick, Jean Negulesco, and others.
The Foundation is also promoting and collecting material relating to Romanian artists of the past, from the Romanian Impressionists through to the Dadaists and Surrealists and other modernists: these include Constantin Brancusi, Victor Brauner, Arthur Segal, and Jules Pascin (a 'Bulgarian Romanian').
For the purposes of the Foundation, the various ethnic differences of the creative personalities concerned are ignored, and the criterion adopted is 'born or grew up in Romania or territory which was or is Romanian, or of Romanian descent with a strong Romanian family tradition (such as Maria Bjornson)'.