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 acclaimed pianist 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 former assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic Seymour Lipkin, former Head of Music at the BBC World Service Jeremy Siepmann, and Professor Christopher Elton of London's Royal Academy of Music; she currently studies with Victor Rosenbaum in New York City. A senior at Columbia University in the City of New York, Vardanega is majoring in Political Science with a focus in International Relations and a concentration in Gender Studies and is currently writing her Senior Thesis on the politics of Classical performance. 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 plans to participate as a selected fellow at the Ravinia Stean's Music Institute in the Summer of 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. She has also appeared as a soloist with San Francisco’s Symphony Parnassus. From 2011 to 2013, she acted 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. Since then, she has been featured as a solo recitalist at venues like the Hangzhou Grand Theater, the Hangzhou Conservatory of Music, San Francisco’s Old First Concerts Series, the SF Herbst Theater, the Palace of Legion of Honor, 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. Shortly after, Vardanega adapted Hans Christian Anderson's "The Emperor's New Clothes" to music which was premiered at the Crowden School in 2007. Since then, she has composed numerous instrumental and vocal pieces, the largest 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.