Vahan Mardirossian, an accomplished Armenian pianist, performed in the Concert Hall at Fresno State on September 11, in a concert sponsored by the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series and the Armenian Studies Program at California State University, Fresno.
Born in Yerevan, Armenia, in 1975, the prize-winning Mardirossian went on to graduate from the Paris Conservatory and become one of Armenia’s leading pianists. After entering the Paris Conservatory in 1993, he was awarded the first prize for piano, the chamber music prize and the Conservatory’s higher diploma in 1996. He then moved on to postgraduate studies.
Mardirossian has performed in Austria, Canada, England, France, Germany, Greece, Russia, Spain, and the United States, and he has been regularly invited to appear with orchestras including the Armenian Philharmonic, the Cannes Orchestra, the Yerevan Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestre International de Paris, and the Orchestre du Conservatoire de Paris.
He has collaborated with his friend, composer Tanguy. Mardirossian’s April 2001 recital was reviewed by the newspaper Le Monde, which headed the article “Pianiste Phénoménal!” He has made recording of works by Brahms, Handel, and Schubert, for the Intrada label. He has also made live recordings devoted to J.S. Bach and Eric Tanguy for the TransArt Live Label.
Vahan Mardirossian started his performance with Frederic Chopin’s “Ballade in G Minor, Op. 23,” which gave the audience a perfect overview of what to expect from the concert. Mardirossian showed the audience his mastery of the piano by playing such a dynamic piece with incredible precision, emotion, and beauty. He then performed Chopin’s “Ballade in F Major, Op. 38,” Brahm’s “Rhapsody in B Minor, Op.79 No.1” and “Rhapsody in G Minor, Op.79 No.2,” and Eric Tanguy’s “Passacaglia.” These pieces further displayed Mardirossian’s ability to play the rapid and thunderous passages with unrelenting intensity, while being able to play the more calm and elegant passages gracefully.
The second half of the concert included Robert Schumann’s “Kreisleriana, Op.16” and Frederic Chopin’s “Polonaise in A-flat Major, Op.53.” The rather lengthy “Kreisleriana, Op.16” was full of changes in tempos and dynamics, and again showed Mardirossian’s immense control over the piano. After the last piece, the much-deserved applause encouraged Mardirossian to play two encores. The first was one of Chopin’s Nocturnes from Op.2, followed by Khachaturian’s “Tocatta.”
Mardirossian played very passionately throughout the performance, humbly smiling and bowing after each piece. At the end of the concert, some of the audience described it as “amazing,” “powerful yet elegant,” “no nonsense and straight to the point” and “incredibly precise as well as emotional.” They appeared to be more than satisfied.