Theme & Variations Foundation

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Those who love great piano playing understand that its source is a combination of inborn talent,  a tireless work ethic and the opportunity to apply both.

Providing that opportunity is what the Theme & Variations Foundation is all about. It was set up in 2011 to formalise and extend the assistance that Nyree and Ara Vartoukian had been providing without charge for many years. As an adjunct to their piano services business, they had been offering practice facilities, performance opportunities and moral support to many talented young pianists in need.

They saw the need to turn their informal help to young pianists into a stand-alone, not for profit organisation so that it could function on a more efficient basis and be legally registered. They drew around them a group of people who also loved piano music and were interested in assisting promising young Australian pianists.

The Theme & Variations Foundation was born. It is run by a volunteer board. The Theme & Variations Foundation is quite separate from Theme and Variations Piano Services.

There are gifted young Australian pianists who have world-class talent, but not the financial resources or the opportunity to fully develop it. The goal of the Foundation is to help them further their studies in Australia or overseas so they can reach their potential. Candidates need to be Australian citizens or residents aged 25 or less at the time they make their application for a grant or an award and they must be studying in Australian approved courses or institutions.

Great pianists can come from the most unexpected places. A young person may have an extraordinary gift for playing the piano but developing it may be beyond the resources of his or her family. This is where the Theme & Variations Foundation focuses its endeavours.

It is a simple enough idea: raise money and use it to nurture pianistic talent. But the execution is quite complex. The foundation has set up a fully validated trust which has been granted DGR-1 status so that any donations over $2.00 are tax deductible. It takes those donations and uses them, through a carefully structured search and assessment process, to assist young Australian pianists.

Assistance may take many forms. It could be a financial donation, providing public performance opportunities, contributions to lessons, travel to important musical events, or master-classes.

We commend the work of the foundation, and will be deeply appreciative of any assistance you can provide, whether that is a financial donation or providing some time to help us run some of our fundraising events.

For more information, please visit the official website or email


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