Audrey vardanega, piano
Praised as a “[musically] eloquent” (San Francisco Classical Voice) player “with the kind of freedom, authority, and strength…that one expects from the world’s finest pianists” and a “bewitching musical presence” (The Piedmont Post), 21 year-old pianist and composer Audrey Vardanega was born and raised in Oakland, California and began her piano studies at the age of six with Araks Aghazarian. She began formal piano training with Robert Schwartz at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music from 2002 to 2013 as well as formal composition training with Arkadi Serper at the Berkeley Crowden School from 2004 to 2013. Her past instructors include Seymour Lipkin, Jeremy Siepmann, Christopher Elton and Victor Rosenbaum. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Music at Mannes The New School under the tutelage of Richard Goode. Vardanega earned her B.A. in Political Science from Columbia University. Along with five other internationally selected pianists, Vardanega participated in the Carnegie Hall Workshops with Jonathan Biss in February 2017, exploring late piano works by Brahms, Beethoven and Schubert. She participated as a fellow in the Ravinia Stean's Music Institute in the Summer 2017.
Vardanega made her debut as a soloist with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra at the age of 11 and became the youngest soloist in the history of the Bay Area's Midsummer Mozart Festival under the baton of the acclaimed Maestro George Cleve in the summer of 2010, appearing again with Maestro Cleve in the summers of 2012 and 2013. From 2011 to 2013, she served as the Principal Keyboardist with the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra and spent the summer of 2012 on a European tour with the SF Symphony Youth Orchestra, performing in venues like the Berlin Philharmonic and the Munich Gasteig.
In the Summer of 2008, Vardanega made her solo recital debut at the age of 12 with IMG Artists’ Festival Del Sole in Napa Valley, California. She has since been featured as a solo and collaborative recitalist at venues like the Hangzhou Grand Theater, the Zhejiang Conservatory of Music, San Francisco’s Old First Concerts Series, the Piedmont Piano Company, St. Paul Towers of Oakland, the San Francisco Conservatory, the Berkeley Crowden School's "Sundays at 4," and the Berkeley Hillside Club Concert Series. Along with engaging audiences with solo recitals, she also engages with students in masterclasses and lecture-performances all over the world, including Hangzhou, China, Sonoma State University, and Berkeley's Crowden School. Vardanega has also been interviewed and featured on various media outlets including Berkeley's "Piano" segment on KPFA 94.1 hosted by Larry Bensky, San Francisco's Classical KDFC, Hangzhou China's Central TV Station, the San Francisco Classical Voice, and New York's WWFM, among others. Vardanega is a Classical Music radio programmer at Columbia University's WKCR 89.9 FM WKCR HD1 New York.
Vardanega began composing music at the age of six. Her first composition is titled "Beauty of Heart" and was dedicated to the victims of 9/11. "Beauty of Heart" won the Music Teacher's of California's Composers Today Contest. She has composed numerous instrumental and vocal pieces, the most significant of which is an eight-movement ballet suite for full orchestra titled Zingara ("gypsy" in Italian). Zingara was premiered by the San Francisco Academy Orchestra under the baton of conductor Andrei Gorbatenko in October of 2012.