Tom Varner

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.



Sound Clips
  • Five brass instrument players in the studio at Jack Straw
    Tom Varner - Sound Vespers Ensemble
  • Tom Varner - Seattle Blues
  • Tom Varner and Eric Barber at JS 50
  • Tom Varner - The Trilling Clouds
Recent Posts
Announcing Summit Sound, a public audio gallery at the Seattle Convention Center

December 19, 2023

Jack Straw is thrilled to announce Summit Sound, an audio gallery at the new Seattle Convention Center Summit Building on Pine St. Summit Sound was envisioned by the SCC Art Program as “an outdoor space where residents and visitors can immerse themselves in one of our region’s revered creative disciplines–sound.” As the new home to […]

Read More

Wooden bench and platform adjacent to a glass and metal building in the background. Speakers mounted on black columns over the bench.

Categories: Art and Heritage Partnerships, Artist Support Program, Writers Program, Youth Education Programs

View More Posts