Born in Budapest in 1969, Tamás Varga has been principal cellist of the Vienna Philharmonic for over twenty years and his solo performances with this orchestra are among the highlights of his illustrious career. Particularly outstanding were his performances of Schumann’s Cello Concerto under the direction of Christoph Eschenbach (2005/2006), Richard Strauss’ “Don Quixote” under Zubin Mehta (2009), and Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B minor under Andris Nelsons (2017), all of which received exceptional critical acclaim. In the 2018/2019 season, along with Concertmaster Albena Danailova and the world-renowned pianist Rudolf Buchbinder, Varga is performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, once again under the direction of Andris Nelsons.
Tamás Varga has appeared as a soloist in every continent and has collaborated with such famous conductors as Ádám Fischer, Seiji Ozawa, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Pinchas Steinberg, and Michael Tilson Thomas. Together with Tilson Thomas, he shares the deep conviction that one of his fundamental responsibilities is passing on knowledge and experience to young musicians. Varga gives masterclasses throughout the world, most recently in Australia, China, Vietnam, Japan, and the USA (New York, Berkeley, Miami and Chicago). He makes use of the most modern technology and also teaches via the Internet. A further fresh challenge was presented when he undertook the tutoring of the cello section of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra in Sydney. Projects such as his
participation in a 2018 tribute concert by the National Youth Orchestra of Chile and Venezuela, an invitation extended by Gustavo Dudamel, reinforce Varga’s belief in working together with young musicians in order to discover the connecting, strengthening, and redeeming power of music. A committed chamber musician, Varga performs regularly at prominent music festivals in Europe such as the Wiener Festwochen in Vienna, the Budapest Spring Festival, and the Rheingau Music Festival. During the 2018 Salzburg Festival he and some Vienna Philharmonic colleagues presented a celebrate chamber concert at Mozarteum Salzburg. His fellow chamber musicians include Ferenc Bognár, Rudolf Buchbinder, Frédéric Chaslin, Christopher Hinterhuber, Karl Leister, Bobby McFerrin, Daniel Ottensamer, Karl Heinz Schütz, and Tamás Vásáry, as well as the Bartók Quartet and the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra.
In the past twenty-five years Tamás Varga has recorded over thirty CDs for Camerata Tokyo, Naxos, Hungaroton, King Records, and Cavalli Records. In October 2018 he recorded Bach’s complete Cello Suites for a second time, offering an intriguing comparison between the sounds and interpretations afforded by their performance on a baroque instrument (2018) and a modern one (2004).
Particularly close to Varga’s heart is a recent project (October/November 2018) involving five world premieres of contemporary works for solo cello composed at his request by A.J. Kernis, A. Nishimura, G. Vajda, L. Vidovszky, and Z. Wysocki (the last of whom had already dedicated his Cello Concerto to Varga). The unifying element of these works is that they were all written as a response to Zoltán Kodály’s famous Sonata for Solo Cello, which was premiered in 1918. The works were performed as part of two festivals of contemporary music – in Budapest (Café Budapest) and Vienna (Wien Modern).