18 Sep 2018
Ara VartoukianOAM is a name synonymous in Sydney with the growth of young and aspiring pianists.
As the founder and director of Theme & Variations Piano Services, Ara's connection with the piano extends beyond the technical. Knowing first-hand about the demands, commitment and perseverance that comes from the very first audition or performance, Ara has been inspired along his career to ensure resources are available for today’s students and concert artists.
The Sydney Symphony first engaged with Ara in 2003 when he was commissioned by the Orchestra to restore and rebuild a Steinway concert grand. Regarded as one of Australia’s leading concert technicians and piano experts, a musical friendship with Ara developed and an official partnership soon followed.
Now, Theme & Variations Piano Services is the Presenting Partner of the Sydney Symphony’s International Pianists in Recital series – an annual series presented at City Recital Hall, Angel Place, in celebration of four world-renowned virtuosos. As a Gold Partner, Theme & Variations Piano Services also supports the Sydney Symphony by donating a portion of the proceeds from their annual piano sale to the Orchestra, with funds directed to extending outreach activity. In 2016 this enabled Sydney Symphony musicians to travel to the Xinghai Conservatory in Guangzhou, China. The musicians had the opportunity to work alongside the talented students in a series of specialised masterclasses. The students then applied their newfound performance knowledge in a performance of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony with the Sydney Symphony.
Alongside supporting the Sydney Symphony, Ara has contributed significantly to the wider Australian arts community by providing pro bono services. In recognition of his support, the Theme & Variations Foundation was inaugurated at Government House in 2011. Today, the foundation provides resourcing, mentorship and financial assistance to young Australian pianists. Over the years the foundation has provided opportunities to gifted young pianists to fulfil their goals and establish themselves within the arts industry. In recognition of his academic and philanthropic achievements within the music industry, including his long support of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Ara was recently awarded the Order of Australia Medal.
Theme & Variations Piano Services was estavlished in 1985. The flagship showroom in Willoughby, Sydney was officially opened in 2009 by Vladimir Ashkenazy, who has recently accepted a Conductor Laureate title, highlighting his long-standing relationship with Australia’s premiere Orchestra. Since then, many of the Orchestra’s guest artists have been delighted to visit the showroom, including pianists Lang Lang, Emanuel Ax and Stephen Hough. A range of pre-loved and new pianos fill the showroom, with a special focus on pre-owned Steinways.
Don’t miss your chance to show your support for the Sydney Symphony at the annual Theme & Variations piano sale September 21-23.