Irena Tarnawsky, AMus, BEd, is an accomplished educator, collaborative pianist, conductor and vocal coach who holds degrees in piano performance and pedagogy. She studied voice with David Astor and Lary Benson of Edmonton and choral conducting with the late Wolodymyr Kolesnyk (Toronto) during the Ukrainian Choral Conductors’ Seminars organized by the Ukrainian Music Society of Alberta.
Since 1996, Irena has been the conductor of the choir she established at St. George the Victorious Ukrainian Catholic Church in Edmonton. In 1999, Irena along with Lilea Wolanska, worked as a member of production team for “Song of the Soul”- «Пісня душі», a Resource for Ukr. Bilingual Education prepared by the Edmonton Catholic School District. She sang support vocals and arranged/played all the instrumentals on the 7 CD set of Liturgical music currently used to support religious education at all levels of the Ukr. Bilingual Schools.
In 2008–2009 she conducted the Ukrainian Male Chorus of Edmonton for their appearance in the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra’s production Carmina Burana and Prince Igor: Polovtsian Dances.
Irena is vice president of the Ukrainian Music Society of Alberta. UMSA oversees and coordinates numerous Ukrainian musical activities in Edmonton, including community concerts, seminars and workshops fostering and promoting Ukrainian music and musical talents within the Ukrainian and Mainstream communities. She teaches with Elk Island Catholic Schools and also operates the Tarnawsky Music Studio, where she shares her love and passion for the piano with her students. She regularly performs in community concerts throughout the Edmonton area.
In October 2003 Irena received the prestigious “Hetman Award” from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress for contributions and dedicated service to the Ukrainian Community in Alberta. This Award celebrates all volunteers who have chosen to give their time, effort and expertise in order to keep our Ukrainian Canadian community in Alberta strong, vibrant and active.
In 2011 the Alberta Council for the Ukrainian Arts selected her as one of 25 artists who are making a significant contribution to Ukrainian art and culture in Alberta. In 2014, her biography was included in Part 7 of the Shevchenko Scientific Society’s Collected Papers on Ukrainian Life in Canada.
Irena has been Dnipro’s principal accompanist since 1976 and also served as its assistant conductor from 1994 to 1996.