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Irena Portenko

Degrees & Studies

B.M. and Post-Graduate Study, Kiev National Academy of Music (Ukraine); M.M., and D.M.A., University of Michigan


Piano, Piano Partners

Music Conservatory of Westchester

Faculty since 2007

Born In

Kyiv, Ukraine

Performances & Distinctions

Irena Portenko made her New York debut in 2009 at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, under the auspices of Concert Artists International. She has appeared as an orchestral soloist under the batons of Volodymyr Kozhuhar (Ukraine), Kenneth Kiesler (USA), Rossen Milanov (Bulgaria), Volodymyr Sirenko (Ukraine), Uwe Harrer (Austria), Allin Vlasenko (Ukraine), and Dai Uk Lee (Korea). An avid chamber musician, and has appeared with distinguished artists at festivals and recitals in the Ukraine, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, and the US. Ms. Portenko’s recordings include Chopin’s Études on the Blue Griffin Label, and Tchaikovsky’s First and Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerti with the Ukrainian National Symphony. Her passion for collaborating with contemporary composers has led her to perform numerous works by living American, Ukrainian, Chinese and German composers, including the Tryptich “Venetian Blinds” for solo piano by Grammy Award winner Michael Daugherty (2003). In 2014, she launched “Music in the Alps,” a summer music festival in Austria.

Teaching Philosophy

“Piano is an instrument I love. Piano has an incomparable variety of sounds and possibilities. It can also sound like a human voice or like another instrument. One has to practice and to study a lot to be able to open the world of music to a listener. Besides that, one has to feel, understand and experience even more in order to teach piano. To be called “a teacher” is a gigantic responsibility, that involves everything that a human being has: its emotional, intellectual and physical aspects. It is my job as a teacher to ignite the spark of curiosity in the mind of the students and to make sure, they feel safe, creative and appreciated for what they give back, as they learn and explore music. I feel grateful for being able to continue sharing my passion, my skills and to have this exclusive profession – a pianist.”