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Matei Varga pianist

Pianist Matei Varga has received standing ovations from audiences around the world and superlative reviews from prominent critics. Noting that “it is hard to find the right words to describe the beauty” of Mr. Varga’s playing, Corriere della Sera's critic Paolo Isotta praised the young artist as a “true poet of the keyboard, a musician of depth, and a genuine artist.” Other critics have found his performances “magical” (Süddeutsche Zeitung, 2009), “colorful, vivacious [and] engaging” (Le Diapason, 2012), while The New York Observer’s Robert Gottlieb hailed Mr. Varga as an “excellent pianist”.

Matei Varga’s latest recording, released in 2018 by Sono Luminus and titled Early Departures topped the Chamber Music - New Releases sales chart on amazon.com, while still in pre-order. Praised by BBC Music Magazine as “poignant [and] delightful” and by Gramophone’s critic Jed Distler as “a beautifully executed and engineered achievement that does [Varga] proud”, this unusual and exciting pairing of lesser known works by Tudor Dumitrescu and Dinu Lipatti and staples of the piano repertoire by Leos Janacek and J.S. Bach, is a tribute to pianist-composers who died young and to those who were transformed by such tragic experiences. During the current season, Mr. Varga will teach Master Classes in Grand Cayman and will appear in the Hudson Guild production of “Romanzas de Zarzuela” in New York City. In May 2019 he will make his debut with the Orchestre des Nations at Victoria Hall in Geneva and later this year he will open the 2019-20 season with the National Radio Orchestra in Bucharest.

Laureate of the “George Enescu” International Competition in Bucharest and of the “Maria Canals” Piano Competition in Barcelona, Mr. Varga is also a recipient of the Salon de Virtuosi Career Grant and runner-up at both the Young Concert Artists Auditions in New York City and the Vendome Prize in Lisbon (where Elisabeth Leonskaya awarded him a special prize). In 2002, at the invitation of Gian Carlo Menotti, he made his debut at the Spoleto Festival Italy. He has appeared as a soloist and recitalist in many of the world’s leading concert halls, among them Carnegie Hall (New York), Konzerthaus (Berlin), the Auditorium du Louvre (Paris), National Center for the Performing Arts (Beijing), and Palau de la Música (Barcelona). He collaborated with conductors Otto-Werner Mueller, Edward Cumming, Elio Boncompagni, Gabriel Bebeselea and Eduard Zilberkant, among others. He has performed frequently alongside soprano Mariana Nicolesco and recently appeared with ballet stars Alina Cojocaru, Johan Kobborg and Friedemann Vogel at New York City Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Mr. Varga holds degrees from the Romanian National University of Music where he studied with Ana Pitis, Ioana Minei and Sandu Sandrin, as well as the Mannes School of Music where he studied with Pavlina Dokovska. He is Project Manager and Artistic Advisor of the Vendome Prize Piano Competition at the Verbier Festival. He lives in New York City.

Praise for EARLY DEPARTURES (Sono Luminus, 2018)

"Varga taps into the expressive sound world of Janacek's In the Mists, employing ample rubato and generally measured tempos. Indeed he transforms the Andantino into a moody tone poem... The pianist closes with the Adagio from the Bach D Minor concerto after Marcello. The gentle inward reading realizes Varga's soothing, calming intention... [A] a beautifully executed and engineered achievement, that does this talented young pianist proud." - Jed Distler, Gramophone Magazine

"[A] grand and wonderfully lugubrious new release from the young Romanian pianist Matei Varga... [Dumitrescu's] nine piano preludes recorded here are largely vivacious and full of dense keyboard intricacies that Varga exploits splendidly... Janácek’s swirling, Impressionist masterpiece...gets an appealingly fluid performance. The slow movement of Bach’s D-Minor Concerto...closes out the disc like a serene funeral benediction." - Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

“Varga's poignant homage to composers who died far too young includes delightful world premieres by Romanian pianist Dinu Lipatti.” - BBC Music

"The performances are exquisite... they show a fine sense of shaping a lyrical melodic line with perfect tonal control” - Rob Haskins, American Record Guide

“Now the time is long overdue to make room for another master born to play in the grand manner. His name is Matei Varga and make no mistake, this artist is not yet another dazzling firebrand eagerly ready for his next interview and photo-op combo, but a deeply serious musician well in the midst of a major career.” - Rafael de Acha, Music for All Seasons (Cincinnati)

Watch Matei Varga on YouTube:

Photos by IONUT VACAR and DANIEL D’OTTAVIO

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