Ever since I was a child, teaching and teachers have been paramount in my life as a pianist. I probably had more teachers than most young people who start studying the piano and, while I am grateful to each and every one of them for what they brought to my development as an artist, I searched for years until I found the "perfect match". That, for me, happened when I met my two Maestre: Ana Pitis and Ioana Minei, a team of well known and very influential piano professors whose career spanned more than half a century and produced some of the leading pianists of Romania. Once I became a student of the National University in Bucharest, this power team welcomed another wonderful member: Sandu Sandrin.
Mrs. Minei was a distant cousin of George Enescu and a former pupil of Florica Musicescu (teacher of the great Dinu Lipatti). Mrs. Pitis was a music and philosophy graduate of Bucharest's University where she studied with Constanta Erbiceanu, a disciple of Carl Reinecke, himself a student of Schumann and Liszt. The Pitis-Minei duo wrote a treaty on piano technique which, to this day, is the "bible" I always return to when searching for answers. Mr. Sandrin is an accomplished pianist and has been for many years one of the most respected and successful teachers at the University.
After I graduated and left Bucharest, I moved to New York City and became a Master student at The Mannes School, under the guidance of their Piano Chair - Pavlina Dokovska, a teacher of tremendous gifts and continuator of the great French tradition as a student of Yvonne Lefebure.
During all these years I have been privileged to receive guidance from superb artists, some of them world famous, some less so, but all of them exceptional musicians and mentors who have greatly influenced me: Raoul Sosa, Max Wilcox, Jerome Rose, Mariana Nicolesco, Richard Goode, Murray Perahia, Claude Franck, Todd Phillips, Joel Lester and others.
It is thus with great joy that I look upon inspiring others to find within themselves the richest resources for self-improvement, development (both as performers and as human beings) and the ability to find their own voices, at whatever level of proficiency they wish to attain.
Teaching is a labor of love and the best way to learn about ourselves, therefore I consider it a privilege and a responsibility. All I ask from my students is patience, humility and an open mind and heart!
Since my graduation from Mannes in 2008, I have taught all levels and ages as part of my private studio in NYC, and also as piano faculty at the Lucy Moses School at Kaufman Center and as guest to numerous festivals and Master Classes sessions in the US, Europe and the Caribbeans. I served as jury member of the "Dinu Lipatti" competition in Bucharest, the "Chopin" competition at Columbia University (NYC) and the New York Piano Festival (NYC).
I am a regular faculty member of the International Keyboard Institute and Festival which takes place every summer in New York City. Also, for the past 10 years I have been acting as General Manager and leading Artistic Advisor for The Vendome Prize, a piano award initially held at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon and later on as part of the Verbier Festival in Switzerland.
Getting to meet, listen to and advise some of the most gifted young pianists of today has been a life-changing experience and I believe that I have grown (and will keep growing) as a teacher thanks to these meaningful encounters.
I have studied piano with Matei Varga over the past ten years and it has been a most rewarding experience. Matei is a highly competent concert artist himself, who relates easily and well to all ages and musical levels. He is a thorough and delightful teacher! I recommend him for beginning students, persons who have not touched the piano for many years as well as for accomplished pianists. Do take advantage of this online learning opportunity that Mr. Varga is offering at this time.
My 14-year-old son developed a love for music while taking piano lessons with Matei. My son not only learned how to play the piano, but he also gained exposure to music theory and composition. Matei’s enthusiasm and spirit energized my son, and the nurturing and fun atmosphere that Matei created made my son feel comfortable and proud of his accomplishments. Matei’s flexibility enabled the lessons to be adjusted to meet our son’s learning style and goals. To top it all off, Matei is an award-winning pianist whose moving artistry will inspire even the toughest critic!
I've met Matei while attending summer masterclass sessions in New York. Not only is he an incredible pianist, but his sincerity in approaching students and his deep knowledge in a wide-ranging repertoire makes him an inspiring teacher and mentor. I especially had memorable lessons with him on Romantic repertoires of Chopin, Schumann, Medtner, Brahms with which we had interesting and enlightening discussions of aesthetic clarity and technical approach. Whatever the repertoires he will help navigate thru the crux of the piece while respecting and helping students find their own voice in the music.