Gilbert Varga

Conductor
Member of the Competition Jury

Gilbert Varga, son of celebrated Hungarian violinist Tibor Varga, is repeatedly acclaimed for performances displaying a broad range of colours, exquisite textures, and subtle use of dynamics. Renowned for his elegant and exceptionally clear baton technique, Varga has held positions with and guest-conducted many of the major orchestras across the world. In North America, Varga regularly guest conducts the symphony orchestras of Houston, St Louis, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Utah and Nashville amongst others and in 2014/15 makes his debut with the Oregon Symphony Orchestra and the orchestra of the Colburn Conservatory of Music, LA. In Europe, Varga works regularly with the major orchestras of Berlin, Leipzig, Frankfurt, Cologne, Madrid, Budapest, Brussels and Glasgow amongst others and in 2014/15 looks forward to his debut with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. In May 2013 Varga was appointed Principal Conductor of the Taipei Symphony Orchestra, an appointment that comes at an exciting time for the orchestra as the city of Taipei embarks upon a journey to build the orchestra its own concert hall, a process in which Varga will be heavily involved as Consultant.

Gilbert Varga studied under three very different and distinctive maestros: Franco Ferrara, Sergiu Celibidache and Charles Bruck. In the earlier part of his conducting career Varga concentrated on work with chamber orchestras, particularly the Tibor Varga Chamber Orchestra, before rapidly developing a reputation as a symphonic conductor. He was Chief Conductor of the Hofer Symphoniker (1980-1985), and Chief Conductor of the Philharmonia Hungarica in Marl (1985-1990), conducting their debut tour to Hungary with Yehudi Menuhin. He was also Permanent Guest Conductor of the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra (1991-1995) and Principal Guest of the Malmö Symphony (1997-2000). In 1997 Varga became Music Director of the Basque National Symphony Orchestra, leading them through ten seasons, including tours across the UK, Germany, Spain and South America.

Varga’s discography includes recordings with various labels including ASV, Koch International and Claves Records. His latest recording, released in January 2011, of concertos by Ravel and Prokofiev with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Anna Vinnitskaya on Naïve Records was given five stars by BBC Music Magazine.

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