Singing in Russian
Vera Danchenko-Stern was born in Moscow into a family of professional musicians. She graduated from the Gnessin Institute of Music in Moscow with honors in piano, solo performance, chamber music, vocal and instrumental accompaniment.
Ms. Danchenko-Stern taught at the Gnessin Institute and toured as an accompanist throughout Russia and Europe before emigrating to Canada in 1979, where she joined the faculty of the Royal Conservatory of music in Toronto. She has performed highly acclaimed concerts with her brother, violinist Victor Danchenko, in major cities for sold-out houses throughout the world.
Since moving to Washington, D.C. in 1990, Ms. Danchenko-Stern has been heard often here and in Baltimore. Concert appearances include accompanying Pavel Pekarsky's Kennedy Center debut, the Washington debut of Ilya Kaler (triple prize gold medal winner of the Tchaikovsky, Paganini, and Sibelius competitions), and voice recitals with Medea Namoradze, Mikhail Manevitch, Sergei Leiferkus, Jerome Barry and Nikita Storojev, to name a few. Other artists such as violist Rivka Golani and violinist Martin Beaver engaged her as an accompanist. In 1997, she accompanied soprano Carmen Balthrop singing Rachmaninoff's romances at the Carnegie Hall gala in honor of the 850th anniversary of the founding of Moscow. After Ms. Danchenko-Stern started teaching the course 'Singing in Russian' at the Peabody Conservatory, she induced the entire voice faculty into participation in the "Evening of Slavic Songs" sung in five different Slavic languages.
Ms. Danchenko-Stern has completed several tours in Russia. In 2001, she brought her singer-students of the Peabody Conservatory (soprano Pamela Hay - student of Phyllis Bryn-Julson, and baritone Timothy Mix - student of John Shirley-Quirk) for the Golden Ring Russian tour with performances in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Yaroslavl. For the first time American vocal students demonstrated their art in front of the native audiences singing Russian repertoire in Russian. Their recital in St. Petersburg during this tour took place at the residence of the Consul General of the United States and was a great success. "Closing my eyes I would have imagined that the singers were native Russians," commented the eminent Russian composer Sergey Slonimsky after the concert. This performance led to the invitation to participate in the International week of the Conservatories in 2002, dedicated to the 140th anniversary of the founding of the St. Petersburg Conservatory. This International Festival was staged during the first week of October, 2001. Three Peabody students (soprano Christine Kavanagh - student of Phyllis Bryn-Julson, mezzo-soprano Catrin Rowenna Davies - student of Marianna Busching, baritone Timothy Mix - student of John Shirley-Quirk, and tenor Pablo Henrich from Catholic University) gave a full-sized stunning performance at the Glazunov Hall of the St. Petersburg Conservatory and received standing ovations from the enthusiastic audience which they entertained with a selection of classical Russian repertoire sung in Russian and music of Broadway. All was accompanied by Ms. Danchenko-Stern.
Ms. Danchenko-Stern serves as a Russian diction coach for the Washington National Opera. Her repertoire includes participation in the production of Tsar's Bride by Rimsky-Korsakov (1994), Boris Godunov by Mussorgsky (1997), Queen of Spades (2001), and The Maiden of Orleans (2005) both by Tchaikovsky. In 2003, Ms. Danchenko-Stern was invited by the Honolulu Opera Theater to coach the soloists and chorus for the first Russian opera in the company's repertoire for Evgeniu Onegin by Tchaikovsky. She was also engaged in this capacity to work with the Baltimore Symphony chorus for the production of Prokofiev's Ivan the Terrible under the baton of Maestro Yuri Temirkanov. Deeply committed to the development of young artists, Ms. Danchenko-Stern continues to serve on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University and the Catholic University of America. She is sought after as a judge, master teacher, and chamber pianist and teaches piano at her private studio in Alexandria, Va. Her recent master classes were presented at Princeton University and at Michigan State Universities. With two alumnae of the Peabody Conservatory, soprano Susan Harwood and mezzo-soprano Patricia Green, Ms. Danchenko-Stern has founded a group called Trio Lyrica.
She has been included into the centennial edition of Who's Who in American Women and is a "National Associate Artist of SAI."