Charissa Vandikas 

Photo by Janice Lin 

Charissa Vandikas started her music lessons at the Yamaha Music School at the age of 2. She was 4 when she began her formal piano studies, later also learning to play various instruments at school, including the recorder and the trombone.  She has competed in various local, provincial, national, and international piano competitions, including the Ontario Music Festival Provincial Competitions, the Canadian Music Competitions, the CFMTA National Piano Competition, the New York International Piano Competition, and the Suzhou Jinji Lake International Piano Competition, where she earned several awards, scholarships and performance opportunities. She completed her ARCT diploma at the age of 13, and her Licentiate Diploma  in 2015, attaining a level of First Class Honours with Distinction in both diplomas.    

Charissa performed her debut concerto performance with the Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra in the fall of 2013. In 2014, Charissa won the North York Music Festival Founder's Award and scholarship entrance to the Peter de Grote Summer Academy in the Netherlands, where she received the HJSO Solo Award.  In the same year, she won the ORMTA Young Artist Provincial Competitions and proceeded to the CFMTA National Competition in 2015 where she won first place. She has since performed both solo works and appeared with several orchestras in Canada, U.S, Europe, and Asia.  Charissa is the 2018 recipient of the Emerging Artist Grant from the Hnatyshyn Foundation.

The Grand Prix winners of the 2017 Canadian Music Competitions Grand Prix,  Charissa and her duo partner, Linda Ruan (La Fiammata piano duo) and has been named one of the Youth Ambassadors for the CMC's  60th Anniversary Concert Tour . The duo won first place at the North-West International Piano Ensemble Competition as well as the top prizes at the Suzana Szorenyi International Piano Duo Competition in Romania. They were featured at CBC's In Concert on radio, and has premiered Canadian work for two pianos by composer, Julia Mermelstein.  Most recently, as the youngest piano duo finalists, they were awarded the second place award and the Henle Urtext Award of the 70th ARD International Music Competition.

She teaches beginner, intermediate, and advanced students at our studio in both piano and theory. She is on demand as a collaborative pianist  for both vocal and instrumental performances.  She completed her Bachelor of Music degree on full scholarship (the Janet and Bill L'Heureux Scholarship) uder the guidance of John O'Conor at the Glenn Gould School, Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.  She has also completed her Master of Music degree, studying on full scholarship with Jean Saulnier and Charles Richard Hamelin at the Universit√© de Montreal.   Currently, she is pursuiing her doctoral studies at Universit√© de Montreal under Jean Saulnier, Charles Richard Hamelin and Henry Kramer.  In the 2023-2024 season, her duo, La Fiammata, are featured artists in the Pan-Canadian Tour under the auspices of Prairie Debit, Atlantic Debut, and Jeunesse Musicale. 

Charissa is a  graduate of the gifted program at Rogers Public School, Newmarket and of the Arts  Unionville Program at Unionville High School where she performed as both soloist and collaborative pianist.  She has also played the trombone for the school's Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, and Jazz Band. She loves many sports, and played rep soccer with the Newmarket United A Girls team, and the school soccer team. She holds a black belt in Goju Karate, and enjoys running and reading in her spare time.