Matei Varga

Director of The Vendome Prize

“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. 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 “Lory Wallfisch” 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, Gabriel Bebeselea and Antoine Marguier, among others. He has performed with the “George Enescu” Philharmonic Orchestra, the Romanian National Radio Orchestra, Orchestre des Nations (Geneva), the Hartford Symphony, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra and many others.

Matei Varga’s upcoming recording, to be released by Sono Luminus in June 2022, is an homage to salon music throughout three centuries. The CD will include staples of the piano repertoire by Scarlatti, Beethoven, Chopin, Balakirev, as well as several works by Cuban master Ernesto Lecuona. Mr. Varga’s previous recordings have been released by Naxos, Coviello Classics and AIX Records. His album of Brahms’ Cello and Piano Sonatas (with Laura Buruiana) won the 2013 Listeners’ Choice Award from The Violoncello Foundation.

Mr. Varga holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Romanian National University, where he studied with Ana Pitis, Ioana Minei and Sandu Sandrin. He earned a Master’s degree and Professional Diploma in piano performance from The Mannes School, in the studio of Pavlina Dokovska. Throughout the years he received guidance from Yefim Bronfman, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, 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. He lives in New York City.