Born in Bucharest in 1980, New York-based pianist Matei Varga is already established as one of the leading young artists of his native Romania and his prodigious talent is fast becoming recognized in the United States and Europe. His debut at Zankel Hall (October 2008) was described by Rorianne Schrade of New York Concert Review as “masterful,” while his account of Schumann’s Fantasy op. 17 at the Berlin Konzerthaus (August 2009) was hailed by Wolfgang Schrieber of Süddeutsche Zeitung as “magical.”
The 2010-2011 season will mark the release of his Naxos album with piano music by George Enescu as well as an extensive tour in Romania, where he will perform Chopin's E minor Piano Concerto with the Romanian National Radio Orchestra, a solo recital celebrating Schumann and Chopin at the Radio Hall in Bucharest and a piano duo recital with Ben Schoeman at the Bucharest's Athenaeum. He will also be a juror at the first edition of the “Chopin” competition in Bucharest. In April 2011, he will appear with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra in Brahms' D minor Piano Concerto.
Mr. Varga is a Second Prize winner at the “George Enescu” Piano Competition in Bucharest, as well as recipient of the Special Prize for the best performance of Enescu's piano music. He also won First Prize at the “Lory Wallfisch” Piano Competition in Romania, Second Prize at both the Young Concert Artists International Auditions and the Porto International Piano Competition, and Third Prize at the “Maria Canals” Competition in Barcelona.
Mr. Varga won the Dorothy Mackenzie Artist Recognition Award at the International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York City, the “Salon de Virtuosi” Career Grant and the Mannes Concerto Competition, which led to the performance of Chopin's second piano concerto at Lincoln Center’s AliceTully Hall.
As a finalist and runner-up of the Vendome Prize, he was singled out by jury member Elisabeth Leonskaja who awarded him a special prize. Following this performance, he was invited to be the Project Manager for the Vendome Prize’s 2009 edition. During the 18 months of preparations, Mr. Varga worked closely with Alexis Gregory, chairman of the Vendome, as well as the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, and played a significant role in the organization of the contest. Together they re-configured the format of the competition and the selection process, which resulted in the most successful contest yet and wide praise from all involved. In 2013 he will resume his position for the next edition of the Vendome.
Mr. Varga has performed as a solo recitalist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist at major venues around the world such as Zankel Hall, Weill Recital Hall and Merkin Hall in New York, the Auditorium du Louvre and Salle Gaveau in Paris (where in March 2008 he presented the complete works for piano and violin by Johannes Brahms with violinist Eugen Tzikindelean), the Romanian Athenaeum and the Radio Hall in Bucharest, Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, Fondazione Cini in Venice, Casals Hall in Tokyo, the Rebecca Crown Auditorium in Jerusalem, and many others. He has also participated in various prestigious music festivals, including the International Keyboard Festival in New York City, the Music Festival of the Hamptons, Festival de Sintra (Portugal); Festival dei Due Mondi (Spoleto, Italy), Young Euro Classics(Berlin), Festival Européen “Jeunes Talents” (Paris) and the “Hariclea Darclée” and “George Enescu” International Festivals in Romania. He has collaborated with such artists as soprano Mariana Nicolesco, flautist Carol Wincenc and conductors Otto-Werner Mueller, Eduard Zilberkant, Ludovic Bacs and Adrian Sunshine, among others. He appeared as a soloist with the “George Enescu” Philharmonic, the Romanian National Radio Orchestra, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, Porto National Orchestra, and the Morocco Philharmonic.
His discography includes two audio DVD releases: “Mozart and Schumann” and “Mixtures I: A Classical Surround Sampler”, both on AIX Records(2002). His album with piano music by George Enescu was digitally released by Naxos in December 2009 and will be available in stores worldwide starting October 2010.
Mr. Varga holds a BA from the National University of Music in Bucharest (2004),where he studied with Ana Pitis, Ioana Minei and Sandu Sandrin, and a Master of Music degree (2006) and a Professional Studies Diploma (2008) from New York’s Mannes College of Music, where he studied with Pavlina Dokovska. He has also received guidance from Yefim Bronfman, Claude Frank, Richard Goode, MurrayPerahia, Menahem Pressler, Jerome Rose, Marian Rybicki, Raoul Sosa, and JeanYves Thibaudet, among others.
Mr. Varga is a Faculty member at the Lucy Moses Music School in New York City.
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