Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tigran Vardanyan

Tigran Vardanyan is an Armenian violinist and teacher born on July 4, 1977 (Heifetz was 76 years old and had already retired.)  He is best known as one of the violinists in the first violin section of the Rochester Philharmonic (U.S.A) and exemplifies the type of highly gifted players (about whom I have been writing lately) who occupy some of the top positions in the best orchestras in the world.  Vardanyan is also one of only two Armenian violinists I have on this blog – the famous violin pedagogue Ivan Galamian is the other one.  He began his violin studies with his father, a professional violist, at the age of six.  Later he attended the Sayat Nova School of Music and the Tchaikovsky Specialized Music School, studying with Professors Levon Zorian and Villy Mokazian.  While still very young (age 13), he made his debut with the Armenian Television and Radio Orchestra playing the Mendelssohn concerto.  Two years later, he performed the Bruch g minor concerto with the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra.  Vardanyan also appeared as soloist with the Armenian Chamber Orchestra during this time.  In 1994, Vardanyan came to the U.S. to study with Abram Shtern, at the Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles.  Since 1995, he has regularly performed throughout Mexico, and has also presented numerous recitals in that country.  In 1996 Vardanyan moved to Rochester (New York) to study with Zvi Zeitlin (a pupil of Ivan Galamian and Louis Persinger) and Oleh Krysa (a pupil of David Oistrakh) at the Eastman School of Music.  (Zeitlin is one of the oldest living violinists who is - like Ruggiero Ricci, Ida Haendel, Abram Shtern, Albert Markov, David Nadien, and Ivry Gitlis - still actively teaching)  In 1998 (at age 21), Vardanyan won an audition for a vacancy in the Rochester Philharmonic and has been with the orchestra ever since.  The year he graduated from Eastman, he made his professional U.S. debut with the Rochester Philharmonic playing the Sibelius concerto - December 30, 2000 (Christopher Seaman conducting.)  Vardanyan is a winner of several competitions: First Prizes in the 1991 and 1993 Armenian National Competitions, and the Gold Medal in the 1992 Amadeus Competition for Young Artists, and has received awards from the Leni Fe Bland Foundation, the Maurice Sklar Music Scholarship, the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Encourage Award), and the Starling Foundation at the Eastman School of Music.  He continues to perform as a soloist and chamber musician at many music festivals and concert venues in the Middle East, Europe, Central America, and North America.  He also teaches at the Hochstein School and Nazareth College in Rochester.  His repertoire includes all of the standard concertos (and some that are not so standard – Szymanowski, Glazunov, and Khachaturian.)  His particular affinity however is for the small vignettes in the violin repertory, showcased in his recital programs; in fact, his future plans include recording many of these miniatures.  He is unusual in that he plays a modern violin (1984) constructed by Ukrainian violin maker, Stefan Melnik (Stefan Melnyk), whose instruments have been very highly praised. 

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