Recipient of national, state, and university teaching awards, Dr. Irina Voro is internationally known for her novel approach to presenting piano music, as well as for her unique method of teaching creativity. She gives concerts and masterclasses around the world, and has been repeatedly invited to share her teaching techniques at the most prestigious national and international conferences for music teachers. The winner of an international performance prize, in recent years she has performed solo concerti with philharmonic orchestras on four continents and gave solo piano recitals in 11 countries and 15 states of the United States.
Upon joining the University of Kentucky in 1999, Dr. Voro committed herself to bringing new audiences to classical music. In a 2000 performance at Carnegie Hall, she unveiled her “l’Excital” – a form of classical piano recital in which she tells her listeners her vision of the piece before they hear that vision take musical form. Such concerts are often accompanied by lighting, video and sound effects, creating a highly theatrical experience and drawing in new listeners. To date, her l’Excitals have been performed at over 50 venues across North America and in Europe, Russia and Brazil, all to enthusiastic response. Critics and audiences agree that Irina Voro has a precious gift for uncovering the drama of a piece and telling the world something new, touching and wonderful.
When not on stage, Dr. Voro is the Artist/Teacher of piano at the UK School of Music, guiding talented students from around the world. She is the recipient of the university-wide Award for Outstanding Teaching (2005) and was named “Teacher Who Made a Difference” in 2011. She was also named “Teacher of the Year” by the Kentucky Music Teachers' Association (2004), and the only university professor in Kentucky to receive the U.S. Presidential Administration award for distinguished teachers (2009).
In order to teach music performance, Dr. Voro trains her students' creativity and imagination. Her method is built upon the Russian and French traditions of her own teachers, but reflects her personal philosophy of seeking poetry in music and making music be “seen”. Dr. Voro emphasizes the links between the quality of musical story, the quality of a performer’s touch, and the quality of sound. Combined, these make playing music nearly effortless, yet filled with meaning and charm. Along with her own awards, the many prizes received by her students (including the World Piano Competition, the Beethoven National Competition, and numerous KMTA and UK competitions) testify that this teaching method is highly effective. Four of her students have performed solo at Carnegie Hall, and among her doctorate students have been graduates of the celebrated Oberlin College and Indiana University, Moscow and St. Petersburg Conservatories.
Dr. Voro has been regularly invited to adjudicate in state, regional and international contests and to present her methods at the most prestigious national and international music teacher conferences. Recently, those have included conferences of the College Music Society (international), the Music Teachers National Association, the European Piano Teachers’ Association (international) and the National Conference of Keyboard Pedagogy. Dr. Voro has also been a keynote Convention Artist for several State Music Teachers’ Association conferences.
In addition to her UK post, Dr. Voro served as Visiting Professor at the University of Florida in Gainesville and the Faculdade de Musica do Espirito Santo, in Vitoria, Brazil. She also was on the faculty of the Prague International Piano Master Classes and was a guest teacher-artist for the Indiana University School of Music's Summer Music Academy.
A graduate of the Saratov Consevatoire (Russia) and l’Universite de Montreal (Canada), Irina Voro is the winner of several international contests, including most recently the International Louise McMahon Piano Competition (1998). She has been a soloist with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Espirito Santo (Brazil), Tianjin Philharmonic Orchestra (China), L’Orchestre Philharmonique du Grand Montréal and Montreal Chamber Orchestra (Canada), Kislovodsk Symphony Orchestra (Russia) and Lawton Symphony Orchestra (Oklahoma, USA), among others.
Dr. Voro records for the Classical Records label of Moscow, Russia. Her CD “Ah! Recording! My shortcut to Carnegie Hall” was released in 2004.
In 2015 Dr. Voro was recognized as one of six Great Teachers by the UK Alumni Association.
Representative Press Reviews:
“Irina Voro is revolutionizing the way classical music is presented to the public.”
- Bob Withers for the Herald-Dispatch, Huntington, WV
“'Awesome' and 'amazing' were a few of the terms [that the audience] used to describe her highly expressive interpretation of the work of great composers. A fine poet…she can apply as much power or gentleness as needed to express feelings… The space between her notes is not empty.” - Greta Fields for the Hazard Herald, Hazard, KY
“A unique music personality… Everything – musicality, technique and a powerful drive – was there! The secret of Voro’s formula is that it practically hooks you into thinking along her lines… [Her] images are too salient, too memorable to be easily forgotten…”
- I. Morozova for the New York Concert Review
“Irina Voro…has made it her mission to bring young people back to piano recitals. [This] pianist tries to rejuvenate recitals with artistic influences.”
- Rich Copley for the Herald-Leader, Lexington, KY
“The concert turned out to be a precious gift from the professor from the University of Kentucky… The very first notes made us aware that at the piano is an artist of the highest caliber. Her poignant melodic musings transformed themselves into startling chords, and then the melodic theme dissolved us all within itself… The listeners could only wonder how such a svelte person could emit in her playing so much energy, power and, if you will, sheer might …”
- Nina Kazarian for the Kavkazskaya Zdravnitsa, Russia
“She gives [us] the possibility to 'see' the music, to see the sound… Students and teachers could not hold back their genuine exaltation, gratefully erupting in applause and shouts of 'bravo!' For almost two hours Irina Voro held the hall in the palm of her hand, nourishing the souls of her listeners.”
- I. Nemykina for the Zvezda Prikubania, Russia