Tom Varner is internationally known as one of the top living pioneers of jazz/improvised/new music on the French horn and as an inventive, witty, and passionate composer for his different ensembles, which have featured, over the years, such players as Steve Wilson, Tony Malaby, Lee Konitz, Mark Feldman, Kenny Barron, Cameron Brown, Billy Hart, Tom Rainey, and Matt Wilson. Tom’s recent Seattle nonet project, Nine Surprises, was released in 2014. Tom has been awarded residencies at the MacDowell and Blue Mountain arts colonies and grants from the NEA, Doris Duke Foundation/Chamber Music America, and the Jack Straw Center. Tom has 14 recordings as a leader and plays on over 70 others, such as with Steve Lacy and John Zorn.
After living in New York City for 26 years, Tom moved with his family to Seattle in fall 2005. Since his move, he has played at the Vancouver, Earshot, and Bumbershoot festivals, the Good Shepherd Center, the Seattle Art Museum, and at the Royal Room and Tula’s as a leader and sideman alongside many Seattle greats such as Mark Taylor, Hans Teuber, Wayne Horvitz, Kate Olson, Neil Welch, Thomas Marriott, and Jim Knapp. Tom is also an Associate Professor of Music at Cornish College of the Arts.
Artist Support Program 2019: A meditative sound collaboration with the “Sound Vespers” Mixed Ensemble, featuring four field recording artists, five trumpets, French horn, trombone, and percussion.
Artist Support Program 2012: Nine Surprises, a new original work for an improvising nine-piece ensemble.
Artist Support Program 2007: Heaven and Hell, an album of classical chamber and jazz compositions for double-quintet featuring French horn.