With her powerful sound and dynamic performances, 20-year-old pianist Sophia Ohanian captivates audiences with her musical sensitivity and compelling personal interpretations. Ms. Ohanian, of Armenian heritage, has a deep affinity with the music of Armenian composer Khachaturian. This performance with the Redlands Symphony Orchestra fulfills a passionate childhood dream of one day having the opportunity to perform his stirring piano concerto with an orchestra.
Originally from Los Angeles, Ms. Ohanian is currently a junior at the University of Redlands. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance, studying under the tutelage of Professor Louanne Long. Ms. Ohanian is a recipient of the prestigious LeHigh Endowed Piano scholarship, an award based on exceptional talent and pianistic promise.
Among other notable first prizes that have been awarded to her recently are those from the Armenian Allied Arts Competition, the Inland Empire Piano Festival, and the Music Teachers Association of Southern California Solo Competition. In March 2013, Ms. Ohanian was chosen to perform for the University of Redlands President’s Honor Recital, an honor bestowed each year upon the most outstanding performers in the School of Music. She was the youngest of six performers receiving this award.
Ms. Ohanian has been enthusiastic about performance since the age of six when she began her studies at the Academy of Music and Fine Arts in Los Angeles. She later attended Charter High School of the Arts, a school specializing in music, drama and dance. During this period, Sophia studied piano with Cal State Northridge alumnus Hovsep Torosian and music composition with Oberlin Conservatory alumnus Frank Becker.
Since coming to the University of Redlands in the Fall of 2011, Ms. Ohanian has also been pursuing organ studies with world-renowned organist Frederick Swann. Passionate about all aspects of music, she is active as a member of Madrigals, an all-girls chamber choir directed by Dr. Joseph Modica. Through this ensemble, Sophia had the opportunity to perform Mozart’s Requiem in Carnegie Hall in May of 2013.
As an advocate for new music, Ms. Ohanian recently recorded music for films created for PAH-FEST, a competitive event sponsored by Hollywood filmmaker/producer Christopher Coppola on the campuses of his two alma maters: the University of Redlands School of Music and the San Francisco Art Institute. Ms. Ohanian also had the opportunity to work personally with respected American composer Joan Tower, performing Ms. Tower’s piano work Fresh as a Daisy during the October 2013 Frederick Loewe Composer Symposium.
Ms. Ohanian serves as a piano instructor for the Community School of Music at the University of Redlands, where she teaches students from kindergarten through high school. She plans to further her education in music in order eventually to teach at the collegiate level. Most definitely she will continue to pursue her passion for performance. Ms. Ohanian is also a devoted member of Sigma Alpha Iota, a professional music fraternity for women.