Irina Zahharenkova is one of the most outstanding keyboard performers of her generation to emerge from Estonia today.
She has won first prizes from major international piano competitions as the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition (Leipzig, Germany – 2006), Alessandro Casagrande International Piano Competition (Terni, Italy – 2006), International Competition George Enescu (Bucharest, Romania – 2005), and Jaén International Piano Contest (Jaén, Spain – 2004). In 2008 she became prize-winner in Artur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv, Israel. Irina has also been a laureate in 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 2007 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship Award.
Irina Zahharenkova obtained her Master of Music degree in Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre with Prof. Lilian Semper and in Sibelius Academy in Finland with Prof. Hui-Ying Líu-Tawaststjerna. In addition to piano she explored early keyboards, studying harpsichord with prof. Maris Valk-Falk and fortepiano with Prof. Pekka Vapaavuori.
She has attended masterclasses of Sir András Schiff, Stephen Kovacevich, Angela Hewitt, Malcolm Bilson, Pierre Hantaï and others.
Performing frequently in solo piano and harpsichord recitals in Europe and Asia, Irina Zahharenkova has played among others in Klavier-Festival Ruhr and Mendelssohn Festival in Germany, Spoleto Festival, Serate Musicali di Milano and Accademia Chigiana Festival in Italy, Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, Naantali Festival, Mikkeli Summer Festival in Finland, Prades Pablo Casals Festival in France, Enescu Festival in Romania, Bergen International Festival in Norway and many others.
As soloist she has appeared with BBC Ulster Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestre National de Lorraine, Israel Philarmonic Orchestra, Sinfonietta Riga, Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of North Carolina, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Prague Chamber Orchestra, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Finlandia and others, played with such conductors as Olari Elts, Robert Trevino, Daniel Raiskin, Juha Kangas, Risto Joost, Dmitri Alexeev, Leif Segerstam, Patrick Gallois.
As an active chamber musician Irina Zahharenkova has played among others with Elina Vähälä, Arto Noras, Klaus Mäkelä, Harri Mäki, Réka Szilvay, Jaakko Luoma, Jaakko Kuusisto, Martti Rousi, Minna Pensola, Antti Tikkanen, Sergey Malov, Daniel Müller-Schott, Vladimir Mendelssohn, Patrick Gallois, Sascha Sitkovetsky, Nicolas Dautricourt, Daniel Rowland, Jacques Zoon, Ilya Gringolts, Harmut Rohde, Nicholas Daniel, Radovan Vlatkovic, Ivan Monghetti.
Her repertoire encompasses a wide range of musical styles from baroque to contemporary.
Apart from concert activities Irina Zahharenkova is working as a part-time piano teacher in Sibelius Academy and in Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre.
''Wanda Landowska worthy successor by her expressive manner,
huge repertoire (from Scarlatti to Ligeti) and breathtaking technique!''
- Christine Ducq, La Revue du Spectacle.fr
''The wonderful harpsichord playing of Irina Zahharenkova,
her playing is rhytmic, inventive and skilful''
- Dominy Clement, MusicWeb International
"Irina Zahharenkova was very impressive /.../ we got all the musical colour we might have wished for, but played with the delicacy required to blend with the other musicians."
- David Karlin, Bachtrack