Arie Vardi is a classical pianist, conductor and piano pedagogue. He is laureate of the Israel Prize in 2017.
Arie Vardi graduated from the Rubin Academy of Tel Aviv University, Israel, and obtained the soloist diploma from at Musik Akademie - Basel, Switzerland. His teachers included Paul Baumgartner (piano), Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen (composition). Alongside his study of music he succeeded in obtaining a law degree at the same University. He then went on to become professor of piano and Head of Department at the Rubin Academy (renamed the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in 2005), and later became the Head of the School.
Arie Vardi launched his concert career at the age of fifteen as the winner of the Chopin Competition in Israel and the George Enescu International Competition in Bucharest. He has appeared with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta, and has collaborated with other conductors such as Semion Bychkov, Sergio Commissiona, Gustavo Dudamel, Lukas Foss, Kurt Masur, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Paul Paray, David Robertson, Paul Sacher and David Zinman, among others. His concert tours have taken him to Europe, the United States, Latin America, the Far East and Australia. His first Russian tour, in 1992, included performances in Moscow, St. Petersburg and several other cities.
Vardi performs regularly as soloist-conductor, playing the complete set of concerti by Bach and Mozart, part of which he has played on the Hammerfluegel. His extensive repertoire includes various Israeli works, many of which were dedicated to him. In the 2001 season, Arie Vardi directed, conducted and played a series of five concerts with the Israel Chamber Orchestra. The series, entitled "The Piano Concerto," featured twelve concertos ranging from Bach to the 21st century. In the 2004-5 season he launched a new weekend series with the Israel Philharmonic, "Morning Intermezzo", where he serves as conductor and presenter. For television viewers he is best known for his series "Master Classes", the family series of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra which he conducts and presents, and also currently for his new series "Intermezzo with Arik". There are more than 500 video clips on these series as well as his other performances on YouTube.
His students include many of today's leading concert artists, such as Yefim Bronfman. More than 60 of his students are first prize winners at major international competitions. Among them are Nareh Arghamanyan, Saleem Ashkar, Sa Chen, Alexander Gavrilyuk, Boris Giltburg, Daniel Gortler, Martin Helmchen, Claire Huangci, Nikolay Khozyainov, Yundi Li, Dong-Hyek Lim, Francesco Piemontesi, Roman Rabinovich, Beatrice Rana, Aviram Reichert, Lahav Shani, Lori Sims, Yeol Eum Son, Yaara Tal, Alessandro Taverna, Dorel Golan and many more.
He has been a Jury member in many major international competitions, namely the Beethoven (Bonn), Beethoven (Vienna), Busoni (Bolzano), China, Chopin (Warsaw), Cleveland (Ohio), Cliburn (Texas), Gina Bachauer (Salt Lake City), Hamamatsu (Japan), Leeds (England), Dino Ciani (Milan), ARD (Munich), Paloma O'Shea in Santander (Spain), Scottish (Glasgow), Shenzhen (China), Shanghai, Sydney, Tchaikovsky (Moscow), Tokyo, and others. Vardi is currently the Artistic Advisor and Chairman of the Jury of the Arthur Rubinstein International Master Competition.
Vardi has held master classes and presented lecture recitals at the Juilliard School, Paris Conservatoire, Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, London Royal Academy, Beijing Central Conservatory, Seoul National University and many other major music centers. For international festivals, he has been guest artist at Aspen, Bowdoin, Goslar, Hamamatsu, Liechtenstein, PianoTexas, Verbier, Ravinia and Salzburg. His CDs of Mozart Concerti have included the Concerto for Three Pianos with Yefim Bronfman and Radu Lupu. Vardi teaches at the Hochschule für Musik in Hanover, Germany and at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv.
Arie Vardi's TV show, "Intermezzo with Arik" was popular in Israel and reached international audiences on YouTube. A number of the shows are conducted in English or with English subtitles. Titles appearing on these clips are: Dmitri Bashkirov (in Russian and Hebrew), Guy Braunstein, Yefim Bronfman, Alma Deutscher, Martin Engstroem, Justus Frantz, Asher Fisch (in Hebrew), Alexander Gavrylyuk, Aviv Geffen (in Hebrew), Richard Goode, Sasha Grynyuk and Carlos Ibay, Evgeny Kissin, Alexander Korsantia, Stephen Kovacevich, Colleen Lee/Sa Chen/Xiaohan Wang, Robert Levin, Inas Masalha, Kurt Masur, Denis Matsuev, Zubin Mehta, Hiroko Nakamura, Murray Perahia the Artist, Murray Perahia on Bach, Awadagin Pratt, Menahem Pressler (in Hebrew), Pawel Przytocki, Pnina Salzman (in Hebrew), Andras Schiff on Bach, Andras Schiff on Hungarian Style, Andreas Scholl (in Hebrew), Yeol Eum Son, Yeol Eum Son/Francesco Piamontesi/Igor Levit, David Stern on Isaac Stern, Yaara Tal and Andreas Groethuysen (in Hebrew), Daniil Trifonov, Yuja Wang, Annabel Widenfeld on Rubinstein Part 1, Annabel Widenfeld on Rubinstein Part 2, Emre Yavuz, Haochen Zhang, Xu Zhong.
Awards and recognition
His recordings of the music of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel have won many prizes and critical acclaim. In 2004, the Minister of Education Award was bestowed upon him for his lifetime achievement. And in 2017, Arie Vardi was awarded the prestigious Israel Prize.
- Baldassin, Rick (1989) "An Interview with Concert Artist Arie Vardi", Piano Technician's Journal, Volume 32, p. 12
- מקום 78 (בשנה שעברה - לא הופיע): פרופ' אריה ורדי - פסנתרן, מרצה ומנצח (in Hebrew). Ynet. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
- אריה ורדי מסביר איך להפוך תחרות ל"מסיבת הפתעה" עבור הקהל (in Hebrew). Globes. May 4, 2011. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved November 29, 2011.