Henry-David Varema

Vice-Rector for Artistic Affairs and International Relations, Professor of Cello


+372 667 5703

Photo: Kaupo Kikkas

Henry-David Varema has been teaching cello and chamber music at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre since 2001, and currently holds the position of Vice-Rector for Artistic Affairs and International Relations.

He has performed at international music venues in London (Wigmore Hall), Paris (Théâtre du Châtelet), Berlin (Philharmonie), Munich (Herkulessaal), Madrid (Auditorio Nacional de Música), Zurich (Tonhalle), Hong Kong (City Hall Concert Hall), Tokyo (Suntory Hall), Sydney (City Recital Hall), Melbourne (Hamer Hall), New York (Carnegie Hall Weill Hall) and at major festivals such as Gstaad, Rheingau, Schwarzenberg, Salzburg, Schleswig-Holstein, and Edinburgh.

Previously a member of the Berlin-based Petersen Quartet, his recordings with the ensemble included works by Lera Auerbach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Alban Berg, Cesar Franck, Dmitry Shostakovich, Cesar Franck, Ernst Křenek, Fabian Müller, Aribert Reimann, Alfred Schnittke, Arnold Schönberg, Robert Schumann, and Anton Webern. The quartets critically acclaimed CDs received numerous awards such as the prestigious Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik and the ECHO Classic award.

The special place in Henry-David Varema’s repertoire belongs to music by Estonian composers. He has recorded Estonian music for the Estonian Radio and labels such as Warner Classics, Antes and Dux. In 2001 he gave the world premiere performance of Eino Tamberg’s Cello Concerto, which he recorded with the Vanemuine Symphony Orchestra in June 2016. 

His orchestral experience includes being the principal cellist of the Estonian National Opera and appearances as a guest principal with the Camerata Nordica in Sweden, the Northern Sinfonia in the UK, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, the Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Chamber Orchestra of Berlin, as well as the Auckland Philharmonia in New Zealand. During the 2014 season, he was playing as associate principal cellist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

He has established a close artistic partnership with Estonian violinist Mari Poll and pianist Mihkel Poll, performing together as the piano trio Poll-Varema-Poll since 2013.

Henry-David Varema has given cello and chamber music masterclasses at universities in Europe, the USA, Canada, Brazil and Australia and has been a member of many competition juries including the International Chamber Music competition Premio Trio di Trieste in Italy. 

Henry-David Varema studied at the Tallinn Conservatoire in Estonia, at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich and the Berlin University of the Arts, and earned his PhD at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. 


See also: Estonian Music Information Centre