This is a fascinating interview with renowned Russian conductor, Elena Sharkova. In it, Elena describes her musical journey growing up in the USSR and how she was pigeon-holed to be a musician since the age of 6. We compare and contrast US educational principles with those she was raised with, and find out how she rose from an immigrant living in Detroit to the chorus director of Symphony Silicon Valley and international clinician. This episode is sponsored by KI Concerts.
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Native of St. Petersburg, Russia, Elena Sharkova received her training at the famed Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire and holds a graduate degree in conducting. In 1993 Ms. Sharkova moved to the United State where she continues her varied career as a conductor, teacher, singer, editor, and an advocate for Russian choral music.
Recognized for her deep and passionate interpretation of her country’s vast choral repertoire, Ms. Sharkova has been frequently called to design and direct programs featuring sacred, secular, folk, and urban vocal legacy of the nation, spanning over a thousand years of its repertoire. Most recent engagements have been with the Grammy-winning “Orchestra of Voices” Chanticleer, Miami-based Grammy-nominated choir Seraphic Fire, and Houston Chamber Choir. Dedicated to promoting new and unknown Russian choral compositions of the twentieth and twenty-first century, she has served as editor of “Elena Sharkova Choral Series” for Carl Fischer Publishing since 2011.
Ms. Sharkova is in her eighteenth year as the chorus master for Symphony Silicon Valley (previously San Jose Symphony) and has prepared over fifty major works. Each season she leads the symphony and chorus in a concert of choral masterpieces as well as the annual Christmas celebration.
Elena Sharkova has been Artistic Director of Cantabile Youth Singers of Silicon Valley since 2004. Today the organization serves over 300 youth ages 4-18 and provides comprehensive vocal and choral training and offers performing opportunities of the highest caliber.
As a frequent festival conductor, Elena Sharkova has had a privilege to inspire youth and amateur singers in seventeen countries across three continents. She enjoys working with people of all ages and abilities and advocates passionately for the importance of informal singing and building communities through joyful and meaningful music-making.
As soprano, Ms. Sharkova appears on five SonyClassical studio CDs by the Lege Artis chamber choir (St. Petersburg, Russia), Boris Abalyan, conductor.