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, 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), 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 as “poignant [and] delightful”, 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. Varga’s previous releases include a Naxos album with piano works by George Enescu (where he “tears into the sinew of this music with great bite and forcefulness” - American Record Guide), as well as two piano and cello collaborations: first with Laura Buruiana on Coviello Classics, performing the two Brahms Cello Sonatas (“an absolutely thrilling, breathtaking marvel to behold” - Fanfare Magazine) and then with Laura Metcalf, another Sono Luminus release named First Day (where the two artists “make for superb company” - MusicWeb International).
Photo by Jason Wang 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 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.
As a guest of the Chatter Albuquerque Music Series in New Mexico, Mr. Varga will continue during the 2018-19 season a monumental project which he undertook last year: to present the entire piano solo repertoire of Frederic Chopin.
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 serves on the faculty of the International Keyboard Institute and Festival (NYC) and is also Project Manager and Artistic Advisor for the Vendome Prize Piano Competition, at the Verbier Festival. He lives in Manhattan.