Irina Shachneva, Artistic Director
For more than a quarter of a century, Slavyanka’s Artistic Director Irina Shachneva has brightened the world as a musician with a broad-based, outstanding international record of success as conductor, teacher, performer and manager.
Irina wanted to be a choral conductor since she was a teenager in Russia. She received her Bachelor of Music with Honor from the Penza Music College and a Master of Music from the Gorky (Nizhni Novgorod) State Conservatory. She founded and was the first Artistic Director of the Municipal Choral School, “Rhapsodie,” which has since become one of the largest Children’s Choral-Music Schools in Greater Moscow. Ms. Shachneva toured with her choirs in France, Bulgaria, Poland and Russia, and recorded a CD. As an innovative advocate of music education for all ages, Irina still loves teaching piano, voice and music theory to children as well as adults, which she continued to do when she moved to Boston in 1994 and San Jose in 2011.
After coming to the United States, Irina continued her education by taking three years of conducting classes with Tamara Brooks at the New England Conservatory of Music. She established the Boston Russian Chorus and has been a guest conductor of the New England Conservatory Chorus, the Jordan Hall Festival Chorus, and the Plymouth Festival Chorus. Irina also worked as an organist, pianist and conductor in her capacity as Music Director at Mt. Calvary Church in Acton, MA, where she led its choir and orchestra in performances of masterpieces by Bach, Fauré, Mozart and other works ranging from the German Renaissance to modern American composers. This ensemble performed to acclaim at the International Music Festival in Würzburg, Germany, in 2011.
In 2010 Mrs. Shachneva founded and became the Artistic Director of the International Rachmaninoff Russian Music Festival in Boston. Its success led to a prestigious invitation to Russia, where she led the Festival Choir at an International Choral Festival celebrating the 450th anniversary of the famed St. Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square. In 2012 Irina also led the Second International Rachmaninoff Russian Music in Boston.
In 2011 Irina’s family moved to California and she applied for the position of Artistic Director of Slavyanka. Reflecting on her selection as Slavyanka’s new director in June 2012, Mrs. Shachneva says, “It has long been my dream to work with music written for and sung by male choirs in Russia and other Slavic countries for over 800 years, so I’m delighted and excited that Slavyanka has given me an opportunity to fulfill that dream.”