Irina Shachneva, Artistic Director
For over 25 years, Irina has enlightened the world as a musician, director, and teacher. Since 2012, she has been the Artistic Director of the Slavyanka Russian Chorus.
An alumna of the Glinka (Gorky) State Conservatory of Nizhnij Novgorod and the Penza Music School, Irina studied with professor E. Garkunov and pedagogue L. Osipova. Upon completing her studies, she was invited to serve as choirmaster and teacher in the famous Dubna children's choir studio. Within three years, she organized and led her own choir studio, Rhapsody, based out of Public School No. 6 in Dubna. Within a year of its founding, Rhapsody earned its first tour, performing in Poland and Bulgaria under Irina's direction. It was one of the first institutions to earn the status of Municipal Choral School and has continued to grow into one of the Outer Muscovy region's most prestigious choral schools.
Shortly after her arrival in America, Irina was invited as a guest conductor at the famed New England Conservatory (NEC) to perform A. Schnittke's Requiem in Jordan Hall, one of the oldest and most prestigious concert halls in America. She has also been a guest conductor of the Jordan Hall Festival Chorus and the Plymouth Festival Chorus.
Concurrently, Irina gave music lessons in piano, theory and voice, and also worked as an organist, pianist, and conductor. In Acton, MA, she was the Music Director and organist at Mt. Calvary Church. Irina led its choir and orchestra in performances of masterpieces by Bach, Fauré, Mozart, and other composers. This ensemble garnered acclaim at the 2011 International Music Festival in Warzburg, Germany.
She led a children's choir for ten years at the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia's (ROCOR) local parish school in Boston, and was Artistic Director of the Boston Russian Chorus which, in 14 years, performed more than 30 concert programs that acquainted the North American east coast with Russian music masterpieces.
Irina was one of the organizers of the 1st International Rachmaninoff Russian Music Festival in Boston in 2010. Its success led to a prestigious invitation to Russia, where the festival choir participated in a week-long celebration (the 450th anniversary of St. Basil's Cathedral) in three cities. Irina reprised her organizational role at the 2nd International Rachmaninoff Russian Music Festival in Boston in 2012, and in 2014 she programmed and conducted the Bay Area's 1st International Russian Choral Music Festival in 2014.
A unique ability to secure extremely professional results in any situation is one of Irina's greatest talents. Goal-oriented, inexhaustibly energetic, original in her musical interpretations (which are imbued with a deep spirituality), and deeply loving of people -- these are the elements that define Irina Shachneva's character, as a person and as a musician.