"The greatest young Romanian pianist before the public today” (Enescu Festival News), Matei Varga is hailed as a true heir of an incomparable pianistic tradition that includes Dinu Lipatti and Clara Haskil. The legendary Italian critic Paolo Isotta described him as a “true poet of the keyboard, a musician of depth, and a genuine artist.” Other critics have found his performances “impressive” (Gramophone), “magical” (Süddeutsche Zeitung), “colorful, vivacious [and] engaging” (Le Diapason).
Prize winner of the “George Enescu”, “Maria Canals” and Porto International Piano Competitions, Mr. Varga is also recipient of the Salon de Virtuosi Career Grant in New York and the Virtuoso Award at the 2003 and 2006 Vendome Prize. In 2002, at the invitation of Gian Carlo Menotti, he made his debut at the Spoleto Festival in Italy. He has performed in many of the world’s leading concert halls, among them Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, New York City Center, Konzerthaus Berlin, the Auditorium du Louvre, National Center for the Performing Arts (Beijing), Victoria Hall (Geneva) and Palau de la Música (Barcelona). He has appeared frequently alongside soprano Mariana Nicolesco, and has collaborated with conductors such as Otto-Werner Mueller, Elio Boncompagni, Christian Reif and Antoine Marguier.
Matei Varga’s latest recording, released by Sono Luminus and titled Early Departures topped the Chamber Music 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.
Photo by Jason Wang
Mr. Varga holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Romanian National University and a Master’s degree from the Mannes School of Music, both in piano performance. His teachers were Ana Pitis, Ioana Minei, Sandu Sandrin, and Pavlina Dokovska. Throughout the years he received guidance from Raoul Sosa, Jerome Rose, Richard Goode and Murray Perahia among others.
He has been Project Manager and Artistic Advisor of the Vendome Prize since 2008 and was appointed Director of the competition in 2020. Mr. Varga is a faculty member of the International Keyboard Institute and Festival. He lives in New York City.