The son of a Basque father and an Iranian mother, Álvaro Cendoya was born in San Sebastián in 1960. He first studied at the local Conservatories and then in Madrid. Subsequently he moved to Buenos Aires, where he studied the piano for three years with Bruno Leonardo Gelber and later continued his piano studies in London with Noretta Conci and Peter Feuchtwanger.
In 1989 he won the prize for the best interpretation of Spanish music at the international Premio Jaén competition. In 1993 he appeared as soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 at the Santander Palacio de Festivales, winning critical praise.
He made his debut in Geneva in 1995 with the orchestra of that city in the Victoria Hall and a year later made his London debut at Wignore Hall. He went on to give recitals at St Martin-in-the-Fields, St John’s Smith Square and again at Wigmore Hall in 1998. Álvaro Cendoya has also appeared in South America and different European countries, and from 2001 to 2003 appeared annually in Iran, giving recitals and classes. Under the auspices of the Instituto Cervantes he gave first performances in the United States in 1999 at the University of Connecticut of works by César Cano and Tomás Garbizu. In May 2000, under the same auspices, he played at the American University of Beirut, and in 2001 at the Conservatories of Shanghai and Beijing. In the same year he made a recording of Latin American Hispanic music, and for Naxos two recordings of music by the Basque composer Garbizu (8.557630 and 8.572096) and one of Ignacio Cervantes’ Danzas cubanas (8.572456). He is a professor at the Basque Conservatory of Music.