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Stephen Smoliar

“Beyond the nuts and bolts of the marks on paper, what mattered most was the sensitive attentiveness that Vardanega brought to all four movements of [Schubert’s Piano Sonata D. 960], each of which has no end of distinctive qualities. For all her attention to technical matters, it was her ability to find her own rhetorical delivery that made this very familiar music sound fresh and original. Taken as a whole, the sonata is a meticulously conceived landscape of moods; and Vardanega knew how to cultivate every subtle detail in the landscape without ever overwhelming the listener with the impression the she had too much to say.”

the piedmont post




Ira STeingroot

“Ms. Vardanega played Klavierstücke Opus 118 by Brahms. We were transported to a different world, and became transfixed by a bewitching musical presence. Vardanega draws the listener into her spell with a subtle, warm tone. In this, she seems to be unique in contemporary piano playing. Her tone gives no hint of the terrestrial. ”



“I don’t believe I have ever heard a teenager play with both the facility and understanding that Ms. Vardanega displayed. Leaving her age to one side, she played with the kind of freedom, authority and strength, especially in the first movement, that one expects from the world’s finest pianists. The movement of her hands during the Allegro maestoso was as beautiful to watch as the performance of a great dancer, while the notes flowed from her fingers with a brilliant poetic logic. The music became so transparent, that, if it had been jazz, I would have felt free to laugh out loud with delight.”

the berkeley daily planet

The San Francisco Classical Voice 


Martin Snapp




The San Jose Mercury News 

“Young Audrey Vardanega’s exquisite pianism was anything but humble. In this final set and in all the music she played in this concert honoring George Cleve, Audrey Vardanega clearly and forcefully established herself as a major talent.”



“As a pianist, her relationship with a-different-instrument-at-every-venue is perhaps less personal, and because of the size of the instrument definitely less physical. Yet somehow she managed to turn the Steinway into an extension of her body, so the music could flow directly from her brain and hands into the hall. Vardanega’s musical eloquence showed not only in the way she made sense of Chopin’s crazy piece and its loose, improvisational structure, but also in her dialogue with Chan, during the Beethoven and Brahms duets.”




“Audrey is 15 now, and she has blossomed into one of the truly great classical pianists of her generation. Even a musical illiterate like me can appreciate how good she is because she includes the audience in the sheer joy of making music. It’s a rare quality that only the greatest artists share. Louis Armstrong had it. So does Fredericka Von Stade. And Audrey has it in spades.”



“The fun got ratcheted up still higher with a super performance by young piano soloist Audrey Vardanega: clear and assured, spinning her pearly-toned figurations through the Piano Concerto in G major, the Oakland native was fleet when she needed to be fleet, patient when she needed to be patient. She didn’t over-play a stitch; she is no mere whiz kid. Poised and soulful, she is all of 16. Cleve presented her two summers ago, at 14, and she was impressive even then. But Vardanega — pianist for the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra — has taken some leaps forward these past two years. She understands this music of shadow and light, and approaches it as a team player: i.e., suspending lovely trills amid Cleve’s slow tempi in the Andante, then making the briefest eye contact with the conductor and seamlessly re-entering Mozart’s solo-orchestra dialogue. Perfect! These small touches accumulated; it was a poetic performance by the soloist and orchestra, together.”