|Bela Bartok’s Sonata for Solo Violin arranged for
5 Stringed Cello by Laszlo Varga
Renowned cellist Laszlo Varga passed away December 11, 2014. Born in 1924, Varga studied at the Franz Liszt Royal Academy of Music in Budapest. After escaping the forced labor camps in Hungary during World War II, Varga immigrated to the United States, serving eleven years as the principal cellist of the New York Philharmonic. He was a featured performer and respected teacher at the Aspen, Chautauqua and Shreveport music festivals, among many others. In addition, he conducted major orchestras such as the Budapest Symphony and the San Leandro Symphony. For twenty-five years, Varga served as both director and conductor of the San Francisco State University Symphony. Among his many awards and recognitions, Varga was presented the distinguished title of “Chevalier du Violoncelle” by Eva Janzer Memorial Cello Center at Indiana University in 1991.
Laszlo Varga donated his musical score collection to the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives in 2005. This impressive collection contains over fifty transcriptions for solo cello and cello ensemble, including his solo cello transcriptions of the Bach D minor and E major violin partitas and his arrangement of Strauss’ “Don Quixote, Op. 35” for cello, viola, violin, clarinet, horn, and piano. UNCG celebrated this pioneering artist’s legacy in 2007 by hosting the Laszlo Varga Cello Music Celebration. Varga is the eighth cellist represented in the UNCG Cello Music Collection, the largest single holding of cello music related literature in the world.
University Libraries is honoring the memory of this world-class performer, teacher, and arranger of cello music through the digitization of portions of his collection. The Laszlo Varga Digital Collection contains many of Varga’s unpublished manuscript arrangements, promoting his legacy to cellists worldwide.