The Estonian pianist and musicologist, Vardo Rumessen, graduated from professor Bruno Lukk and Eugen Kelder's piano faculty at the Tallinn Conservatory in 1971.
Today Vardo Rumessen is one of the best known Estonian interpreters and promoters of Estonian piano music. Rumessen, who has frequently performed abroad - in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Canada, the USA, Turkey and Australia - has been described as a “masterful” and “consummate” pianist, both “unique” and “competent.” An evening with Rumessen has been described as “a grand and memorable experience,” and his playing adjudged to contain "sensitive interpretation,” “dynamic power,” and “rock-solid technique.” “No matter how gentle or forceful, his touch is just as sensitive,” wrote one reviewer. “His tone is open and natural.”
Vardo Rumessen has recorded the piano and chamber music of R. Tobias, M. Saar, H. Eller, E. Oja and E. Tubin. He is recognized as a master interpreter of Eduard Tubin’s piano music. He recorded a set of 3 CD’s with complete piano music by Eduard Tubin for Swedish company BIS in 1988. Rumessen was a personal friend of Tubin and had the opportunity to discuss the composer’s intentions in depth. Eduard Tubin has to a high degree authorized Vardo Rumessen’s interpretations of his music. Rumessen performed the American premiere of Tubin's Piano Concertino in 1993 with the Longview Symphony Orchestra conducted by Tõnu Kalam. Rumessen has performed works by L.v. Beethoven, César Franck, Tobias and Tubin for piano and orchestra with the Estonian Symphony, Longview Symphony, and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the late Peeter Lilje, Tõnu Kalam and Neeme Järvi. He has also performed frequently in ensemble with numerous Estonian singers, violinists, cellists and other groups. He has performed in Finland, Russia and Japan.
Although Vardo Rumessen has achieved his success mainly as an interpreter of Estonian classical music, he has performed a lot of world music. His largest undertakings have been such as the complete J.S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavichord, Part I (BWV 846-869) (1976), A. Scriabin's 10 sonatas (1972), F. Chopin's 27 etudes (1979), Sergei Rachmaninov's 15 etudes-tableaux (1980, 1998) the complete piano works of E. Tubin (1977, 1988), the complete piano works by M. Saar (1982), H. Eller's 29 piano preludes (1987, 1998), and more.
Vardo Rumessen is not only the foremost interpreter of Estonian piano music but also a musicologist with a vast knowledge of Estonian music. He has published much Estonian music, by R. Tobias, M. Saar, E. Oja and H. Eller, which have naturally found a place in Rumessen's repertoire as both soloist and ensemble player. Among other works he restored and published R. Tobias’s master oratorio Jonah’s Mission, which was printed by Nordiska Musikförlaget in 1996. In 2005 he published The Works of Eduard Tubin (ETW).
In addition, Vardo Rumessen has written many articles and has served as editor of several books on R. Tobias, M. Saar, A. Kapp, E. Oja, E. Tubin and others.
He is a chairman of the International Eduard Tubin Society (founded in 2000) and an Artistic Director of the International music festival „Eduard Tubin and his time“ (since 2001).