VARDI, ARIE (1938– ), Israeli pianist, educator, and conductor. Born in Tel Aviv, he studied with Ilona Vincze, beginning his artistic career at the age of 15. He won the Chopin Competition in Israel, appeared with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra with *Mehta, won the George Enescu International Competition in Bucharest, and gave recitals throughout Europe. Alongside his studies at the Rubin Academy of Music, Vardi also obtained a law degree at Tel Aviv University. He continued his piano studies in Basel with Paul Baumgartner and his composition studies with Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen. He performed widely as soloist with major orchestras and leading conductors in Eastern and Western Europe, the United States, Latin America, the Far East, Australia, and Japan. In 1992 he had his first Russian tour, playing in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other cities. Vardi performed regularly as soloist-conductor the complete Bach and Mozart concertos. In later years, he included in his repertoire the complete piano works of Debussy and Ravel. His extensive repertoire also includes various Israeli works, many of which were dedicated to him. His recordings for rca won several prizes. Vardi received international acclaim as one of the country's foremost pedagogues. He was a professor of piano at the Hochschule fuer Musik in Hannover and at the Rubin Academy of Music, TeI Aviv University, having served as its director (1977–9) and chaired the Piano Faculty. He held master classes and presented lecture recitals in Israel, the Juilliard School of Music, the London Royal Academy of Music, and other leading music institutions. In 1999, he was invited to the Yale University School of Music as a visiting professor. Vardi was the artistic adviser and chairman of the jury of the Arthur *Rubinstein International Master Competition, and served as juror of other great piano competitions. Devoted to the task of simultaneously guiding students, he successfully taught a vast number of great pianists, among them Yefim *Bronfman and Li Yundi. From the 1970s Vardi was known throughout Israel for his television series Master Classes as well as the family series of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, which he conducted and presented, and for his series "Intermezzo with Arik." He received Israel's Minister of Education Award in 2004 for lifetime achievement. He supervised Open University publications on music (1978–2004, in Hebrew) and published articles in Israeli music magazines and periodicals (1988–9, 1992–3).
R. Baldassin, "Tuning up: An Interview with Concert Artist Arie Vardi," in Piano Technicians Journal, 32 (Nov. 1989), 16–18.
[Naama Ramot (2nd ed.)]