Audrey Vardanega, pianist

Award-winning pianist, violinist, and composer Audrey Vardanega began studying the piano at the age of six and started violin studies at the age of nine. In 2002 she began formal piano training with acclaimed pianist Robert Schwartz and currently studies violin with Victor Romasevich as well as composition with Arkadi Serper. She has taken lessons with Gary Graffman, Seymour Lipkin, among others. She attends the College Preparatory School in Oakland and is the pianist at San Francisco Youth Orchestra.

In 2010, at age 14, Audrey was the youngest soloist in the history of the festival at the Midsummer Mozart Festival. San Francisco Chronicle's Joshua Kosman praised her "dexterous keyboard techniques" and "[ways] with the music's harmonic depths" and Ira Steingroot wrote he " [doesn't] believe [he has] ever heard a teenager play with both the facility and understanding that Ms. Vardanega displayed." In 2008, Audrey was selected Debut Artist for the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and in the summer of that year she wowed audience as well as critics with her solo performance at the Festival del Sole in Napa Valley.

Audrey was awarded first prize in 2007 at the U.S. Open Music Competition Showcase Concerto in the Junior Piano Division and was a finalist at the Virginia Waring International Piano Competition. In 2006, she was the recipient of a full scholarship to the Vienna International Young Pianists Academy in Austria where she performed as a piano soloist among an international group of musicians.

A talented composer, Audrey adapted Hans Christian Andersen's story The Emperor's New Clothes, composing a fresh musical score for her adaptation, which premiered at Crowden School in 2006. In 2005, her Sonata in G (for solo piano) won an award at the Music Teachers' Association of California's Composers Today. This fall, the Academy Orchestra will perform Audrey's eight-movement Ballet Suite Zingara in San Francisco.

In addition to her professional performances, Audrey engages audiences with recitals at community outreach events. She has performed for philanthropist Alba Witkin and has recently co-initiated "Kids for Children," an organization that uses benefit concerts to raise money for the Oakland Children's Hospital.

Audrey Vardanega plays Mozartís Piano Concerto in C, K.467