Widely admired for her technique and artistry, Armenian guitarist Gohar Vardanyan has performed throughout the United States for numerous guitar societies, universities, and arts organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, and guitar societies in Seattle, San Francisco, Houston, Miami, and New York City to name a few. She has appeared on National Public Radio in the United States and Radio Nacional in Argentina. Ms. Vardanyan has performed with the Juilliard Opera Center and as a soloist with the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra and Panama National Symphony Orchestra. She has also been a guest artist at the “Encuentro Internacional de Guitarra” in Panama, the Volterra Project in Italy, and the Hamilton International Guitar Festival in Canada. She has been featured on the cover of Classical Guitar Magazine. Guitar International Magazine has described her as “the complete package,” “with a musicality and emotional quality . . . that one would expect from someone much older than the young wunderkind. Not only is she able to draw you into her performances with engaging musical interpretations, but she has the technical facility that is required of any concert level guitarist.” Her playing has been described as “passionate,” “evocative,” and “virtuosic.”
In addition to her performing career, Ms. Vardanyan is an avid teacher. She frequently teaches master classes and guitar technique workshops during her concert stops. Ms. Vardanyan is an author of four books from Mel Bay Publications with a fifth one of its way. She is an instructor on Strings by Mail’s Lessonettes and Unexplored Repertoire Series on YouTube.
Ms. Vardanyan began studying the guitar in her native Armenia at the age of five under the careful guidance of her father, Vardan Vardanyan. At the age of eight, she gave her first public performance and also appeared on Armenian National Television. She was the first prize winner in the Armenian National Music Contest “Amadeus” and was accepted into the prestigious group, “New Names,” for talented young musicians. She performed in numerous concert venues in Armenia, including Komitas Chamber Music Hall and the Small Philharmonic Hall. She went on to study with Antigoni Goni at the Pre-College Division of the JuilliardSchool. In 2001, Ms. Vardanyan studied with John Wunsch at the Interlochen Arts Academy. She was awarded the Young Artist’s Certificate from Interlochen Center for the Arts and the Harold Randolph Prize in performance from the Peabody Conservatory.
Ms. Vardanyan holds a Master of Music Degree from The Juilliard School where she studied with Sharon Isbin, and a Bachelor of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music where she studied with Manuel Barrueco. She is also an alumna of the Aspen Music Festival and School.
Gohar Vardanyan is sponsored by Strings by Mail and plays on Royal Classics Recital strings.
Guitar: 2012 Jean Rompé
Q: What guitar do you play?
A: I play a cedar 2012 Jean Rompré.
Q: What strings do you use?
A: For a long time I played Savarez Cantiga basses and Augustine Regal or Hannabach Silver Special 815. About a year ago I switched to Royal Classic Recital strings. I like them for their really warm and clear trebles and really powerful and full basses. I use all strings in normal or medium tension.
Q: Where is your name from?
A: I’m Armenian, but my name is Armenian, Persian, and Indian. In Armenian it means opal, but in the other languages it simply means gem or jewel.
Q: How long have you been playing?
A: I’ve been playing since I was about 5 years old.
Q: How many hours do you practice?
A: I practice on average about 4 hours a day. I find that after 4 hours, I’m just moving my fingers and not being productive.
Q: Did you use any specific method book when you were first learning the guitar?
A: No, I did not. I learned various pieces from different sources that were meant to challenge and concentrate on various techniques.
Q: Spruce or Cedar?
A: I used to play a spruce, pretty much all my life, but my heart always belonged to a cedar.
Q: Who made the arrangement of the La Vida Breve you play and is it available for purchase?
A: The short answer, it’s a combination of my own arrangement and one of Keigo Fujii’s, available available in PDF form online if you search for it. I used that as a base, but I changed a few octaves of the accompaniment, I added notes in some places and took a couple of ornaments out. I changed the part around the descending scale and changed the fingerings in a number of places. I didn’t write any of it down, because it was easier to just memorize it than to write the changes. It’s not available for purchase, but maybe sometime in the future when I have the time to write it down.