“Vardi dominated the scene as man and artist…Vardi represents
the American School at its best and his recital was colossal…”
Long known as the world’s leading viola soloist,
Emanuel Vardi is acclaimed as a performer, pedagogue and champion
of his instrument. In 1942, Vardi received the prestigious
“Recitalist of the Year” award from the New York music critics
for the best New York recital following his Town Hall debut.
His many concerts and recitals have taken him throughout the
Americas, Europe, and the Far East. As a member of the
unparalleled NBC Symphony Orchestra, and protégé of the famed
conductor Arturo Toscanini, he has soloed many times with that
famed orchestra, and was given the extraordinary distinction
of being asked to perform a solo recital at the White House
for Franklin D. Roosevelt during WWII. Vardi is one of one two
violist in the world to have ever given a solo recital in Carnegie
During his career, Emanuel Vardi has played countless
solo recitals to great critical acclaim in the major concert
halls of the world, including New York’s Alice Tully, Carnegie
Hall, and London’s Wigmore Hall. In 1985, Vardi was featured
in a full length article in Strad Magazine, and in 2003 he was
honored with a lengthy interview in The American Viola Society
Journal, with his painting ‘Homage to a Great Violist’ appearing
on the front cover.
Homage to a Great Violist
During his career, he frequently appeared live
on concert radio stations around the globe, including the BBC
in London, CBC in Canada, and WQXR and WNCN in New York City.
The only person to have ever recorded all 24 Paganini Caprices
on the viola, Vardi has made numerous recordings which can be
heard on such labels as MGM, Kapp, Musical Heritage Society,
Audio Fidelity, Vox, Columbia, and RCA. Recently, he has
recorded for Dorian, Chandos, and Collins Records. He
has served as full professor of viola and violin at Temple University
in Philadelphia, Manhattan School of Music in NYC, and the University
of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. As a renowned pedagogue,
he has helped to produce some of the finest soloists, chamber
musicians, and orchestral players throughout the world.
Emanuel Vardi has worked with some of the top
names in jazz and has produced recordings for such greats as
Lionel Hampton, Al Hirt, and Louis Armstrong.
Following a serious accident in 1993, Vardi,
an avid painter throughout his music career, retired from the
concert stage and decided to devote the rest of his life to
Emanuel Vardi’s art career developed parallel
to his musical career as he began lessons in art while simultaneously
studying the violin and piano as a seven-year-old in New York
City. At the age of 14, while a student at the prestigious
Walden School in New York, he won first prize in sculpture at
Macy’s Children’s Art Show. Subsequently, Vardi studied
life drawing with Morris Kantor at the Art Students League for
two years, and in 1950 he studied for two years at the Academia
de Belle Arte in Florence, Italy. His instructors were
renowned landscape and portrait artist Giovanni Colachicci and
Italy’s most famous portrait artist Primo Conte.
While in Italy, Emanuel Vardi won the prestigious
first prize at the Rappalo International Art Competition for
his abstract of a violin, which now hangs at the Bordeghera
Art Museum. In 1956 his painting White on White, Composition
No. 3 was shown in a group show in New York’s City Center and
was picked by the New York Times as best in show. Since
the early 1970’s, Emanuel Vardi has concentrated on painting
musicians. These paintings became very popular amongst
musicians, music lovers, and private collectors all over the
Oil on Canvas
60" X 36"
In 2001, Vardi was commissioned
to paint a large oil of a violist for the Brigham Young University
Library’s PIVA wing in Provo, Utah, and in 2003 he was commissioned
by the Dallas Symphony to paint a large canvas for their annual
Symphony Gala Fundraiser.
Vardi now makes his home in North Bend, Washington where
he continues to be very active.