Biography

Matei Varga - Pianist Matei Varga is “the greatest young Romanian pianist” before the public today (Enescu Festival News, 2013), and the true heir of an incomparable pianistic tradition that includes Dinu Lipatti, Clara Haskil, Mindru Katz, and Radu Lupu.

In recent years, Mr. Varga’s artistry 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, the legendary Italian 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 “impressive” (Gramophone, 2016), “magical” (Süddeutsche Zeitung, 2009), “colorful, vivacious [and] engaging” (Le Diapason, 2012), “luminous” (ConcertoNet 2011), and “spectacular” (Adevarul, 2013).

A “musician who can imbue even the simplest of melodic lines with meaning” (Fanfare, 2012), Mr. Varga is equally at home in staples of the pianistic repertoire and works written by today’s foremost composers, as evidenced by his commission to perform the European premiere of Michael Hersch’s “insanely difficult” second piano concerto, which left the audience “astonished” (Neue Musikzeitung, 2013). His latest recording in collaboration with cellist Laura Metcalf (“First Day”) was ranked in the top 10 of Classical Music Billboard chart in May 2016. Gramophone magazine wrote that “the cellist and pianist brilliantly address the music’s intense rhythmic interplay and extended lyrical passages”.

Matei Varga - Pianist
Photo by Jason Wang
Mr. Varga’s 2017-18 appearances include performances of Messiaen’s Quartet for the end of time at venues in Portland, Los Angeles and Albuquerque, two appearances with the “George Enescu” Philharmonic at the Romanian Atheneum in Bucharest (performing Beethoven’s G major piano concerto) and a promotional tour of his latest recital-CD “Early Departures” released by Sono Luminus.

Winner of the “George Enescu” prize in Bucharest and laureate of the “Maria Canals” competition in Barcelona, Mr. Varga is also a recipient of the Salon de Virtuosi Career Grant. He has appeared as a soloist and recitalist in many of the world’s leading concert halls, among them Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall (New York), Konzerthaus (Berlin), the Auditorium du Louvre, Salle Gaveau, and Salle Cortot (Paris), National Center for the Performing Arts (Beijing), Royal Dramatic Theater (Stockholm), and Palau de la Música (Barcelona).

Mr. Varga holds degrees from the Romanian National University of Music, where he studied with Ana Pitis, Ioana Minei, and Sandu Sandrin, and the Mannes School of Music, where he studied with Pavlina Dokovska. He lives in New York City.