Irina Chernysheva-Hicks was born and educated in Moscow, Russia in the former Soviet Union. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Russia’s most elite music school, the Gnessin Russian Academy of music.
At the age of 7, her musical gifts gained her admission to the Shaporin Music School, one of Moscow’s specialized preparatory music schools for children exhibiting high musical potential. At age 14, she was the winner of the concerto competition among the Moscow music schools for gifted children and played the Grieg Piano concerto in a concert at the Great Soviet Army Auditorium. As one of the outstanding performers in her preparatory school, Irina gained admission to the highly competitive Gnessin State Music College of Russia which was known for its rigorous admission standards (Gnessin is now known as the Russian Academy of Music).
Irina earned both her Bachelor and Masters degrees in piano performance from Gnessin. While there, she studied with Ms Rimma Dieva, Ms Irina Naumova and had additional coachings from Lev Naumov. These reknowned teachers and pedagogues were all former students of the legendary pianist and teacher, Heinrich Neuhaus, one of the most influential piano pedagoges and pianists of the 20th century. Her later teachers include Arthur Bernghard and Arcady Sevidov.
Mrs. Chernysheva’s special teaching ablities were recognized in her pedagogy classes at Genessin where she was regularly singled out for commendation. Her teaching career began in 1981 while still a student in college. In 1983 she held a piano teaching position in the Moscow District Specialized Music School for gifted children and later, held a position as staff accompanist for the Gnessin voice department. Mrs. Chernysheva graduated from the Russian Academy of Music (Gnessin Institute) in 1988.
After graduating, Ms Chernyshvea was made aware of a cooperative program between Russia and Thailand. Because of her demonstrated pedagogical skills, she was chosen to travel to Bangkok, Thailand where she served as a pedagogical specialist to assist Music Schools in Thailand. Her responsibilities included teacher training as well as training students for public performance and performance examinations. While in Bangkok, Ms Chernysheva maintained her own private studio and was active as a piano soloist, colloaborative artist, and clinician throughout the region. She was a regular performer for ESCAP, the United Nations branch for Southeast Asia where she did numerous fund-raising concerts for humanitarian causes. Because of her students high marks on examinations for Guildhall, Royal School Academy, Trinity College, Associated Board, and the Australian Board, Ms Chernysheva developed a reputation as one of the leading teachers in Bangkok and the South East Asia region. Many of her former students have gone on to become successful teachers and performers in Bangkok. Among these students is the reknowned Thai pianist Tarin Supprakorn who began his ealiest studies with her from 1995-1999.
In 1999 Ms Chernysheva moved to Austin where she and her husband, Dr. Eric Hicks established their Piano Performance Academy. Since that time, she has devoted herself exclusively to her teaching. Since being in Austin, she has continued to produce exceptional students. Her reputation as a teacher has made her in demand as an adjudicator in numerous festivals and competitions including the Dallas Music Teachers Solo Competition, Concerto competition, the Wichita, Kansas solo and concerto competition, numerous ADMTA festivals and events, and various San Antonio competitions. Her students have gone on to study at the Interlochen Academy of Music and to Harvard University. As shown from her own activities and her students’ numerous accomplishments, she has proven to be one of the most productive and gifted teachers in the area. In 2009, Ms Chernysheva received recognition for her teaching in Austin as the Austin District Music Teachers Association’s (ADMTA) Outstanding Pre-CollegiateTeacher of the Year.
Performances with Orchestra
Austin Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition (ASYA)
1st prize winner and performer 2010 & 2007
Austin Civic Orchestra Amster Concerto Competition
1st prize winner and performer 2010, 2008 &, 2006
Wednesday Morning Music Club Competitions:
a) Maurer Scholarship Competition (12th grade): 2007 1st Prize Winner.
b) Minne-Sneed Wilcox Competition:2005 &, 2006 2nd Prize winner; 2016 Honorable Mention.
ADMTA High School (Janet Russell Memorial) Scholarship Competition:2007 1st Prize; 2015 1st Prize; 2016 2nd Prize.
ADMTA Shedler Middle-School Scholarship Competition (6-9 Gr.):2008 1st Prize, 2007 3rd Prize
ADMTA Solo Competitions: Since 2000, yearly top prize winners i.e. 1st, 2nd or 3rd prize. 2016- 2nd prize grade 10.
San Marcos Young Pianist Competition: Since 2002 top Prize winners; 2011: 1st place winner in 9-10 category; .
Asian-American Young Musician Competition: Top prize winners in 2004, 2005, 2007.
TMTA Solo Competition: Winners of local and District competitions and finalists in state competition; 2016 – Honorable Mention Grade 10.:
Austin Young Artist Concerts: Winners in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008.
San Antonio Symphony Orchestra Future Stars Concerto Competition: Finalist in 2009; First prize winner, 2010.
Dallas Music Teacher Solo Competition: 2nd & 4th Prize winners
Baylor/Waco Concerto Competition: 1st Prize 2004; 2015-Honorable Mention.
KMFA Radio Interview and Performances: 5 different performances.
San Musical Bridges Antonio Prodigy concerts: Students invited to perform in, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007,2008.
Student recipients of full tuition scholarship at Baylor University and San Marcos Summer Piano Institute
2009: Ms Chernysheva was chosen as ADMTA’s (Austin District Music Teachers Association) Pre-Collegiate Teacher of the Year for her outstanding work with her students.
Ms. Chernysheva-Hicks’ students have been chosen by audition or invitation to perform for such imminent and renowned concert artists such as John Perry, Paul Badura-Skoda, and Jon Kimura Parker in master classes.
2006 – Ms Chernysheva-Hicks was invited to send a student participant to the MTNA National Convention masterclass.
2013 – Ms Hicks was invited to send a student participant to the TMTA State Convention masterclass.
Some of Ms Chernysheva-Hicks’ outstanding students have gone on to study piano at the Curtis Institute, the Longine School of Music in Boston, and the Interlochen Academy of Music. In addition, Ms. Chernysheva had students receive full scholarships to the Baylor and San Marcos State University Summer Workshops.