Calvin Sieb


The Development of a Violinist

©Photo by Lois Siegel
Emanuel Vardi

April 21, 1915 - January 29, 2011

“Vardi dominated the scene as man and artist…Vardi represents the American School at its best and his recital was colossal…”     
Strad Magazine 



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 Hall.


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 art.

Baroque Largo


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 world.

 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.

Web Page Design by Lois Siegel