Biography of Musica Bella Orchestra member Rachel Varga
Rachel Varga, violin, the daughter of concert violinists Ruben Varga and Norma Jones Varga, began her musical studies at the age of three with her parents. She first performed in public at the age of four. At the age of eight, she made her recital debut at Central Synagogue in New York in a joint recital with her father. At the age of ten, she made her concerto debut with the North Jersey Symphony Orchestra, playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. She quickly followed this with performances of Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen, Saint-Saëns’s Havanaise and Introduction and Rondo Cappricioso, and the Paganini First Violin Concerto. In 1983, she made her debut at Carnegie Hall, again playing the Mendelssohn Concerto.
She was a winner of the 1987 Artists International Competition, and made her recital debut the following season at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall. Since then, she has become one of the top competition prize winners from her country, receiving awards from many competitions including the Palm Beach International Invitational Competition, the Vianna da Motta International Competition, the Szigeti International Competition in Hungary, and the Washington International Competition.
In 1993, after a national search, she was selected by a distinguished panel of judges to become the first woman and the youngest violinist to receive the prestigious Montgomery Symphony Orchestra Fellowship Award. She served as the resident soloist and concertmaster of the Montgomery Symphony for the next two years, during which she continued to concertize internationally and was also awarded the Waldo Mayo Award for an Outstanding Young Violinist. In 1995, she won the First Prize and the Audience Prize in the XXII International Competition of Musical Performance in Viña del Mar, Chile. Her subsequent performance of the Bruch Scottish Fantasy at the International Music Festival in Frutillar, Chile received rave reviews.
She has played concerts and recitals in the United States, Europe, Japan, the Caribbean, and Latin America, with such orchestras as the Zagreb Symphony, La Orquesta Filarmonica de Jalisco, the Budapest Radio Symphony, La Orquesta Sinfonica de Chile, La Orquesta Sinfonica Del Estado De Mexico, La Orquesta Filarmonica de Bogota, and La Sinfonica Nacional de Puerto Rico. Her repertoire currently includes about thirty concertos and several complete recital programs. Her expressive performances and beautiful tone have inspired comparisons to such artists as Jascha Heifetz, Mischa Elman, and Midori. The Strad calls her “a powerful player” who gives an “impassioned performance.”
She holds the degree of Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music. Always interested in teaching and developing young talent, she has taught several international master classes, and currently works with approximately forty young students on a regular basis, teaching violin and chamber music. She is a recipient of two Superior Teaching Awards from Queens College in New York.
She has soloed with the Musica Bella Orchestra in Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1, 3, and 4, on January 20 and/or 27, 2002; the Bach Double Concerto on January 20, 2002; Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 on June 2, 2002; the Brahms Double Concerto on December 8, 2002; and the Glazunov Violin Concerto on October 19, 2003; and she is scheduled to play either the Sibelius or Brahms Violin Concerto with us sometime in the 2004-2005 season.
CHARTER MEMBER OF MUSICA BELLA
Musica Bella concerts: January 20, 2002; January 27, 2002; June 2, 2002; October 13, 2002; December 8, 2002; May 18, 2003; October 19, 2003; November 30, 2003