The Syrian-born Armenian conductor, Zaven Vardanyan, immigrated with his parents to Armenia in 1947. He is a graduate of the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory, where he studied string performance and conducting.
After graduating in 1974, Zaven Vardanyan was engaged as the Assistant Conductor of the Armenian State Symphonic Orchestra, a position he held for five years. In 1979, he founded the Yerevan State Chamber Orchestra, where he was Principal Conductor until 1990. From 1994 to 2000, he served as the conductor of the Yerevan State Theatre of Opera and Ballet. In 2003, he moved to Quenca, Ecuador, where he has taught in the music department at the Quenca State University and led the local symphony. In 2006, he founded the Society of Opera Friends in Quenca, and opened the Quenca Opera Theatre. Despite his residence in Central America, Vardanyan maintains contacts with the music culture in Yerevan; for example, since 2000, he has served as a director of the Armenian Sacred Music Research and Performance Center of the Armenian Ministry of Culture. He likewise leads numerous concerts and festivals in Yerevan.
Zaven Vardanyan has founded and/or led several music festivals in Armenia, including those dedicated to the music of J.S. Bach and Armenian sacred music, as well as the Shakespeare's Days in Armenia Festival (2000). He has led concerts of various styles and mediums, including numerous operatic productions; he likewise has concentrated much on the music of contemporary Armenian composers. Among his awards received include a Gold Medal at the Armenian Republic Competition (1969).