Composer • French Hornist • Improviser • Bandleader • Educator

Tom Varner is internationally known as one of the top living pioneers of jazz and improvised music on the French horn, as well as an inventive and passionate composer for his different ensembles, which have featured many jazz legends. Varner has been awarded grants from the NEA, Doris Duke Foundation/Chamber Music America, and the Jack Straw Center.

He has fourteen recordings as a leader.

“Tom Varner has a Mingus-like gift for intertwining complex counter-melodies in a manner that’s more soulful than acrobatic. This approach creates countless opportunities for inspired improvisation, resulting in a marvel of cohesive ensemble writing and playing.”

Nate Chinen, Philadelphia City Paper, NY Times, WBGO

“If a young Duke Ellington were writing ‘Harlem Airshaft’ today, it might sound something like this spirited and humorous 15-part mental soundtrack of urban living by the brilliant French horn player and composer Tom Varner.  What a complex, delicious suite!” 

Paul de Barros, Downbeat, on “Martian Heartache”