Irina Vardeli, pianist

Performing, teaching and family life are the three centers of gravity for the Georgian-Swiss pianist Irina Vardeli. Giving concerts in Switzerland and abroad, she has been testing her own progress and entertaining demanding audiences. Teaching piano at the Kantonsschule Zürcher Oberland as well as privately, she has been sharing with others her knowledge and enthusiasm. Still, deep in her heart and at all times, she is a family woman. She is married to the sound designer Florian Eidenbenz. Their son Ghio was born in 1998 and their daughter Nina in 2005.

Early career in Georgia

Irina Vardeli was born in Tbilisi on 19 December 1973 into a family of musicians. Her father is a well-known Georgian violinist, her mother is a pianist. Predictably, her musical education started at a very early age, but it is the contribution of her high school piano teacher Natela Mchedlishvili that Irina Vardeli considers to have been decisive in shaping her career as a professional musician. Her teacher managed to awaken the young pianist’s enthusiasm and influence her development as a musician for years to come. Between 1991 and 1995, Irina took a career break, turning to French studies.

Education in Switzerland

Since 1996, Irina Vardeli has lived in Switzerland. She took bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Basel Music Academy, where she studied under Rolf Mäser and Jürg Wyttenbach. She also studied chamber music under Gérard Wyss and accompaniment under Kurt Widmer, and has since been busy performing in ensembles and with singers. Irina Vardeli has attended master classes given by Rudolf Buchbinder, Konstantin Scherbakov, Rudolf Kehrer and Maurizio Pollini. In 2003, she joined Ivan Klansky’s master course at the Lucerne Conservatory. At the concert marking the end of her formal studies, she performed Chopin’s Piano Concerto in E minor with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra at the Lucerne KKL concert hall. 

Performing in Switzerland and abroad

Irina Vardeli participated in numerous contests and festivals, such as the Young Artists in Concert festival in Davos. In 2001, she was awarded the Zurich Orpheus Prize in a duo with the singer Michaela Selinger. In 2005, she won the Lucerne Mozart Prize, which enabled her to participate in the 2006 Mozart Days in Lucerne. She has also performed at the Lucerne festival and twice at the Chopin Festival in Marienbad, the Czech Republic. Irina Vardeli is much in demand as a soloist with orchestras here and abroad, and also offers regular solo recitals and chamber music concerts.