Irina Zahharenkova is one of the most outstanding keyboard performers of her generation to emerge from Estonia today. She has won first prizes in Leipzig's Johann Sebastian Bach Competition (2006), Italy's Alessandro Casagrande Competition (2006), Romania's Georges Enesco Competition (2005), and Spain's Premio Jaen Competition (2004). In 2008 she was a prize-winner in Arthur Rubinstein Piano Masters Competition in Tel Aviv, Israel. Zahharenkova obtained her Master of Music degree in Estonian Academy of Music with Lilian Semper and in Sibelius Academy in Finland with Hui-Ying Liu-Tawaststjerna. In addition to piano she explored early keyboards, studying harpsichord with Maris Valk-Falk and fortepiano with Pekka Vapaavuori. Irina Zahharenkova has also been a laureate at Prague Spring competition in Czech Republic (2005) as a harpsichordist and in Festival van Vlaanderen competition in Bruges, Belgium (2004) as fortepianist. She was a winner of a 2007 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship. Performing frequently in solo piano and harpsichord recitals in Europe and Japan, she has played among others in Klavier-Festival Ruhr in Germany, Spoleto Festival in Italy, Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival in Finland, Bergen International Festival in Norway and others. As soloist she has appeared with Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestre National de Lorraine, Israel Philarmonic, Helsinki City Orchestra, Prague Chamber Orchestra, Estonian State Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Finlandia and others, played with such conductors as Juha Kangas, Dmitri Aleksejev, Leif Segerstam and Patrick Gallois. Her repertoire encompasses a wide range of musical styles from baroque to contemporary. Apart from concert activities Irina Zahharenkova is teaching piano in Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. In 2010 Zahharenkova had her debut DVD released by Estonian Record Productions, recorded live at Glasperlenspiel Festival in Tartu, Estonia, where she gave a recital playing harpsichord, fortepiano and modern piano.
Last updated: August 2010
BBT Project: Scarlatti Sonatas CD on Classical Records
"… she never succumbs to the danger of romanticizing - the sound of the harpsichord is to be heard in the fluid playing. Her performance instills these pretty little works with joy and the fine nuances bring out the delicate humour and pay heed to the motto which Scarlatti prefaced his sontatas with: ‘Live happily’"
Tageblatt, 2 June 2012
"Without attempting to reproduce the colour and feel of the harpsichord, but finding a specific language, the pianist manages an approach more convincing, full of lightness, but no superficiality."
La Libre Belgique, May 2012
"Beautifully sculpted pianism with plenty of colour, character and imagination. A very enterprising programme, too: a good number of the sonatas - all of them musically interesting - are relatively unfamiliar."
Rob Cowan, BBC Radio 3, April 2012.
I would like to express my deep gratitude to BBtrust for giving me the Fellowship Award. It has been an extremely developing experience, which influenced my professional life and gave me a lot of encouragement. For this great support, so important for me as a musician, I am very thankful.
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