Records available

CD canto:). Hortus Musicus

DVD In the Mystical Land of Kaydara. Peeter Vähi

DVD Coppélia. A ballet by Léo Delibes

CD-series Great Maestros. Beethoven, Brahms. Kalle Randalu, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Neeme Järvi

CD Quarter of a Century with Friends. Arsis, Rémi Boucher, Oliver Kuusik, Rauno Elp

Super Audio CD Maria Magdalena. Sevara Nazarkhan, Riga Dom Cathedral Boys Choir, State Choir Latvija, Latvian National Symphony Orchestra

CD Jerusalem. Hortus Musicus

LP Contra aut pro? Toomas Velmet, Neeme Järvi, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Arvo Pärt

CD The Soul of Fire. Age Juurikas



Pianist, musicologist, music promoter, festival director... Something very special... “Vardo Rumessen does not fit under any ordinary pianistic standard.” (Sirp ja Vasar, Estonia)

We are deeply saddened by the loss of Vardo Rumessen − an unforgettable artist of ERP, a pianist, musicologist, politician, husband, father and much more. He will be truly missed and always kept in our hearts. Requiescat in pace. (ERP)



Vardo Rumessen (1942−2015) graduated from Prof Bruno Lukk and Eugen Kelder’s piano class at Estonian Academy of Music in 1971. Today he is one of the best known performers and promoters of Estonian piano music. Rumessen, who has frequently performed abroad – in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Canada, the USA, Turkey, Australia, and Russia.

Vardo RumessenVardo Rumessen has recorded most of piano and chamber music by Rudolf Tobias, Mart Saar, Heino Eller, Eduard Oja and Eduard Tubin. He is recognized as a master performer of Eduard Tubin’s piano music. Rumessen was a personal friend of Tubin and had the opportunity to discuss the conductor’s intentions in depth. Eduard Tubin has to a high degree authorized Vardo Rumessen’s interpretations of his music. Rumessen performed the American première of Tubin’s Piano Concertino in 1993 with the Longview Symphony Orchestra. Also, Rumessen was the founder and artistic director of the festival  Eduard Tubin and His Time organized by Eesti Kontsert, the National Concert Institute of Estonia since 2001. He was also the chairman of the board of International Eduard Tubin Society. 

Rumessen has performed works by Beethoven, Franck, Tobias and Tubin for piano and orchestra with the Estonian and Göteborg symphony orchestras, conducted by the late Peeter Lilje and Neeme Järvi. He has also performed frequently in ensemble with numerous singers, violinists, cellists, string quartets and other musicians.

Although Rumessen has achieved his success mainly as a performer of Estonian classical music, he has performed a lot of music from other parts of the world. His largest undertakings have been such as the complete Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier I”, Scriabin’s 10 sonatas, Chopin’s 27 etudes, Rachmaninoff’s 15 études-tableaux, etc.

Rumessen was not only the foremost performer of Estonian piano music but also a musicologist with a vast knowledge of Estonian music. He has published a lot of Estonian music, by Rudolf Tobias, Mart Saar, Edurd Oja and Heino Eller, which have naturally found a place in Rumessen’s repertoire as both soloist and ensemble player. Among other works he restored and published Rudolf Tobias’ oratorio Jonah’s Mission. In addition, Rumessen has written many articles and has served as an editor of several books about Rudolf Tobias, Mart Saar, Artur Kapp, Eduard Oja, Eduard Tubin and others.


Press resonance

Neutral choise of media reviews about the performances and recordings of Vardo Rumessen:

I’ve been hearing plenty of piano versions of this keyboard masterpiece in recent years, and the idea of receiving a new recording which would open my ears all over again was far from my mind when I first saw this release. /.../ Rumessen’s view is not one of authentic performance practice, but is one which extends the line which sees the WTC as a kind of springboard for Western Music thereafter: “an encyclopaedia of polyphony that became the foundation of all that followed in music.” /.../ Pianists from Daniel Barenboim, Maurizio Pollini, Till Fellner and Roger Woodward to Angela Hewitt – twice, all show how diverse are the ways and means of expressing Bach’s marvellous legacy. /.../ The recording production for this release is very good, the well-prepared Steinway piano sound sympathetically clear without being uncomfortably close. Vardo Rumessen’s WTC Bk1 is not in a competition to be ‘the best’, and in many ways stands aloof from direct comparison with other recordings. In my opinion it is rather special, and not only for opening my ears to new perspectives in this Panglossian polyphonic masterpiece. (Dominy Clements, MusicWeb International, 2011, the UK, whole article)

... musicians with intriguing artistic profiles tend to have something to say about a broad range of music, and that certainly is true about Rumessen in Chopin. /.../ Rumessen’s touch is appealingly light. He makes extensive but subtle use of rubato, and his playing always is highly expressive. Half of the selections on the disc are mazurkas, and these are rendered most exquisitely, with the greatest feeling for line and harmony. Rumessen gives us Chopin’s works as that master might have played just for himself, or for a few select friends. This is artistry on a very high level. /.../ The sound engineering is excellent, while the program booklet is beautifully illustrated. /.../ I can’t imagine the Chopin lover who would not take this CD very much to heart. (Dave Saemann, Arkiv Music / Fanfare, Nov - Dec 2012, USA, whole article)

Vardo Rumessen, Champion of Estonian Music. The piano, of course, remains the center of Rumessen’s life, /.../ he has been adding recordings of Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Scriabin, and Bach on Estonian Record Productions, a Tallinn label... “In ’72 there was the centenary of Scriabin’s birth and on this occasion I recorded all 10 sonatas for Estonian Radio and performed them in the Music Museum. /.../ After that I forgot all about them, but sometime early in 2000 I discovered that the tapes survived in the archives. I asked a sound engineer if it was possible to restore them. It was thought in the beginning that only Sonata No 6 could be restored, but they did good work and they saved the Seventh Sonata and then the Eighth; finally, all but the first two, which were damaged...” (Martin Anderson, Fanfare, 04.10.12, USA)

The piano sound is very open and natural... Recommended with enthusiasm. (Fanfare, USA)

Vardo Rumessen does not fit under any ordinary pianistic standard. (Sirp ja Vasar, Estonia)

Undoubtedly Rumessen is unparalleled as a performer of Tubin... (Aftonbladet, Sweden)

Rumessen is a pianist of very considerable stature and Tubin is fortunate in having so commanding and sensitive an advocate. (Gramophone, UK)

Vardo Rumessen, himself an Estonian, is as Tubin seems to have acknowledged, a master of the music. (Hi-Fi News)

Rumessen’s visit was not only a great musical event; it was a reminder for us to keep alive in our minds the struggle for Iceland’s independence and culture. (Morgunbladid, Iceland)

A master pianist... one of the most notable interpreters of Tubin... (Länstidningen, Sweden)

It would hardly be possible to play the music any better... (Goteborgs-Posten, Sweden)

The world will largely depend upon Rumessen for interpretive insight into Eller’s work, as he is one of the best known advocates not only Eller, but of Estonian music in general. (The Morning Journal, USA)

He plays them here with extraordinary sensitivity and poetic freedom... (American Record Guide, USA)

Vardo Rumessen ist ein meisterlicher Interpret und Kenner der estnischen Klaviermusik. /.../ Rumessen, der selbst persönlicher Freund des Komponisten Eduard Tubin in dessen letzten Jahren war, interpretiert die Preludes in einer vom Komponisten selbst autorisierten Form. (Klassik Magazine, Germany, whole article)

Trotz der Hymnen, die im nur auf englisch und sehr knapp gehaltenen Booklet auf diesen Pianisten gesungen werden, habe ich große Vorbehalte gegenüber seinem Spiel. Mag sein, dass Live-Auftritte einen anderen Eindruck vermitteln, die CD macht nicht glauben, dass es sich um einen sensiblen und unvergleichlichen Pianisten handelt. (Thomas Vitzthum, Klassik Magazine, 11.09.03, Germany,whole article)

...tuleb tõdeda, et plaat on olemasolevatest parim. /.../ Rumessen on oma lemmikautoritesse hästi süvenenud – meeleolusid, värve, karaktereid hästi tabanud; tehniliselt osav, ilusa kõlaga. Väikesed kõrvalekalded mõne prelüüdi noodipildist vastu vaatavast rütmimustrist võib kanda interpreedi subjektiivse kõlaintoneerimise arvele. (Virge Joamets, Muusika, 10/03, Estonia)

Ei esitusele, instrumendile ega salvestusele pole midagi ette heita. Nagu juba öeldud, on ülekaalus väga rahulikud tempod. Kas selline aeglus ja väljapeetus pole kuulajale liiga rõhuv? See jäägu kuulaja otsustada. Samal ajal muusika voolab, on heas rütmilises tasakaalus... Kokkuvõtteks: Vardo Rumesseni Chopin on väärt, et seda tundma õppida. (Toivo Nahkur, Muusika, 8/9, 2011, Estonia)

Eesti pianistidest ei ole keegi nii arvukalt klaveriklassika tippteoseid salvestanud. ... plaadile on aga jäädvustatud rohkematest momentidest kokku pandud esitus, kristalliseerunud mõte ja heli. Kahtlemata sobib Brahmsi looming Vardo Rumesseni interpreedinatuurile erakordselt hästi. /.../ Siin ei ole midagi kerglast ega pealiskaudset. (Ia Remmel, Muusika, 5 / 2014, Estonia, whole article)

Imetlust äratab Rumesseni erakordne haare ja vaimujõud. /.../ Skrjabini sonaatide salvestused on unikaalsed, kõrgeima raskusastmega seitsmendat ja kaheksandat sonaati on maailmas suhteliselt vähe mängitud. (Ia Remmel, Muusika, 8 / 9, 2012, Estonia)



Vardo Rumessen has recorded over nearly 30 records for ERP,  Warner Music / Finlandia Records, BIS, Melodiya, PRO Piano Records, Estonian Radio,  Forte,  Eres, and Estonian Classics.

WiegenliederDerSchmerzen107 Johannes Brahms. Wiegenlieder der Schmerzen
2013 Estonian Record Productions
ERP 7513
Imagetext Estonian Preludes
2003 Finlandia Records. Warner Music
player Saar. Prelude in F major, fragm, mp3
Imagetext Fryderyk Chopin. Melancholy
2011 Estonian Record Productions
ERP 4211
player Chopin. Waltz in B minor, Op 69 No 2, fragm, 80 sec, mp3
Imagetext Northern Lights Sonata
Together with String Quartet of St Petersburg Philharmonic Society
2007 Estonian Record Productions
ERP 1707
Imagetext Eduard Tubin And His Time
2005 Estonian Record Productions
ERP 705
Imagetext Koidust Kodumaise viisini
2007 Estonian Record Productions
ERP 1697
player Tubin. Ballade on a theme by Mart Saar in C-sharp minor, fragm, 99 sec, mp3
player Scriabin. Poem in F-sharp major, Op 32-1, fragm, 68 sec, mp3
Imagetext Mart Saar. Klaveriteosed / Works for Piano
2012 Antes Edition
Imagetext Eduard Oja. Vaikivad meeleolud / Silent Moods
2008 Estonian Classics
EC 001
player Eduard Oja. Trilogy Of Time. Eternity, 150 sec, mp3, 2290 KB
TheCallOfTheStars107 Alexander Scriabin. The Call of the Stars
2010 Estonian Record Productions & Estonian Classics
ERP 5712
Imagetext Johann Sebastian Bach. The Well-Tempered Clavier I
2010 Estonian Record Productions & Estonian Classics
ERP 3610
player Bach. Prelude and Fugue in E minor, fragm, 2 min 27 sec, mp3
Imagetext Sergei Rahmaninov. Piano Works
2011 Estonian Record Productions & Estonian Classics
ERP 4011 / 1-2
player Étude-Tableau in A minor, Op 39 No 2, fragm, 2 min 9 sec, mp3


Main repertoire

Johann Sebastian Bach: Das wohltemperierte Clavier I
Johannes Brahms: Ballads Op 10
Johannes Brahms: Intermezzos
Fryderyk Chopin: Preludes Op 28
Fryderyk Chopin: Ballads
Fryderyk Chopin: Polonaises
Fryderyk Chopin: Berceuse D-flat major
Fryderyk Chopin: Scherzo in C-sharp minor
Fryderyk Chopin: Etudes Op 10
Fryderyk Chopin: Fantasie-Impromptu in C-sharp minor Op 66
Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis: Preludes
Claude Debussy: Preludes
Heino Eller: Preludes
César Franck: Prélude, chorale et fugue
Eugen Kapp: Preludes
Oliver Messiaen: Preludes
Sergey Rachmaninoff: Preludes Op 23
Sergey Rachmaninoff: Études-tableaux
Mart Saar: Preludes
Mart Saar: Bagatelles
Dmitri Shostakovich: Preludes
Alexander Scriabin: Preludes
Alexander Scriabin: Nocturne in D-flat major
Alexander Scriabin: Poemes
Alexander Scriabin: Sonatas
Rudolf Tobias: Preludes
Eduard Tubin: Preludes
Eduard Tubin: Ballad in C-sharp minor

Download: Vardo Rumessen in 2005, photo by Peeter Vähi, jpg, 300 dpi, 1235 KB

See also other musicians represented by ERP
See also other ERP’s pianists: Age Juurikas, Kristjan RandaluRalf Taal