István Várdai was born in 1985. From 2004 he studied in the class of special talents at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest under László Mező, and from 2005 at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna with Reinhard Latzko. Between 2010 and 2013 he continued his studies at the Kronberg Academy with Frans Helmerson. Since 2013 he has been holding a teaching position at the Academy, and is also a professor at the Mannheim University of Music and Performing Arts.
István Várdai has been honoured with several prestigious international prizes: in 2006 he was awarded the special prize of the Emanuel Feuermann Cello Competition at the Kronberg Academy and received the 1st prize at the International Brahms Competition in Austria. He took the 3rd prize at the Tchaikovsky Music Competition in Moscow in 2007 and won the Geneva International Cello Competition in 2008. In 2012 he received the prestigious Prix Montblanc awarded to the world’s most promising young musician. In 2014 he won the prestigious ARD Competition in Munich.
Since the beginning of his career, István Várdai has played with world-famous musicians and orchestras including: Mikhail Pletnev, Ádám Fischer, Zoltán Kocsis, Howard Griffiths, Gilbert Varga, and the Mariinsky Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, L’Orchestre de Chambre de Genève, Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and American Symphony Orchestra. He has been invited to perform in several music festivals including, Festival of Radio France, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Verbier Festival, Schwetzingen Festival, and Budapest Spring Festival. His chamber music partners include amongst others András Schiff, Yury Bashmet, Gidon Kremer, Nelson Goerner, Kristóf Baráti, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Víkingur Ólafsson, Alexander Sitkovetsky, Mischa Maisky and Dénes Várjon.
The artist’s engagements for the 2018–19 season include performances with Helsinki Philharmonic under Susanna Mälkki, Chamber Orchestra of Europe together with Gidon Kremer and Yury Bashmet, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse under Klaus Mäkelä, and Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra under Hannu Lintu.
His debut album with Janáček, Prokofiev and Elgar’s cello concertos was released in October 2009 by Ysaÿe Records. This was followed by a recording by Hännsler in 2013, where he plays works by Mendelssohn, Martinů, Paganini, Beethoven and Popper. In 2014 he released an album of both versions of Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations released by Brilliant Classics. His CD released in 2015 Singing Cello (Hungaroton) features famous encores, and his most recent recording of Bach’s solo cello suites was released in 2017 by Brilliant Classics.
Together with Kristóf Baráti, István Várdai is artistic director of the Kaposfest Chamber Music Festival in Hungary. István Várdai plays the legendary “du Pré – Harrell” Stradivari built in 1673.
Information for July 2019