The Armenian pianist, Vardan Mamikonian was born into a musical family. He began his piano studies at the Yerevan School of Music at the age of 6. He continued his studies at the Moscow Conservatory and at the prestigious Tchaikovsky Conservatory where he became a student of Valery Kastelsky, the last pupil of legendary teacher Heinrich Neuhaus. Further studies followed with Russian virtuoso Lazar Berman, and in 1981 he was awarded First Prize at the Balis Dvarionas Piano Competition in Vilnius. More first prizes followed - in 1990 at the Lefébure Competition in Saint-Germain-en-Laye and in 1992 at the World Music Masters Competition in Monte Carlo, reserved exclusively for winners of international competitions. In 1991 he Mamikonian emigrated to France and has since made his home in Paris.
Vardan Mamikonian has attracted the attention of the international public with his elegant technique and superb musicianship. In the USA he has appeared with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra playing Sergei Rachmaninovís Concerto No 1; with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra (Tchaikovsky's Concerto No. 1), Detroit Symphony Orchestra (S. Rachmaninov's Paganini Variations and Lutoslawski's Paganini Variations), Pacific Symphony Orchestra (Tchaikovsky's Concerto No. 1), and National Symphony Orchestra (S. Rachmaninov's Concerto No. 4), and with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl (S. Rachmaninov Concertos No. 1 and 4.).
Highlights of recent seasons include a recital on the International Piano Series at Londonís Royal Festival Hall; performances of Franz Liszt's Concerto No. 1 in Turin with Eliahu Inbal, with the Berliner Symphoniker, and with the Charleston Symphony and David Stahl; two F. Liszt concertos at the St. Moritz Festival in Switzerland; the opening and closing concerts of the Festival d'Antibes; concerts in Montréal with I Musici de Montréal; and recitals in Los Angeles, at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, in Seattle, and at the Kennedy Center. He made a return visit to Londonís Wigmore Hall, and toured with the Prague Symphony performing concertos by S. Rachmaninov and Chopin. Other engagements have included a tour of Germany and Holland with the Kirov Orchestra and Valery Gergiev, his debut with the Houston Symphony Orchestra playing Ravel's Concerto for the Left Hand, and concerts with the Moscow Radio Symphony at Zurichís Tonhalle.
The 2006-2007 season includes a return to the USA with performances of the S. Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and the Fresno Philharmonic, and a recital performance with works by Chopin, Debussy, Ravel and Armenian composers Komitas and Babajanian. Other upcoming recital and orchestral engagements this season include additional performances of the S. Rachmaninov's Paganini Variations and the Chopin Piano Concerti Nos. 1 and 2 with orchestras in London, Milano, Germany and Sweden.
Vardan Mamikonian has recorded extensively for radio, television and has made numerous recordings. He has recorded the Chopin Etudes Op. 10 and Op. 25 and waltzes by Ravel, F. Liszt, Chopin, Scriabin for the Calliope label, and works by Ravel, Tchaikovsky, Babajanian, Igor Stravinsky and Khachaturian for Solstice Records. His releases on the Orfeo label include works by J.S. Bach and concertos by S. Rachmaninov, F. Liszt and Felix Mendelssohn. His most recent CD release is a recording of Komitas songs with soprano Hasmik Papian, on the Audite label in September 2006. Several of these recordings have received awards from the international press.