Irena Abramovna Orlov name at birth (Russian: Ирена Абрамовна Рожанская, others surnames: Yasnogorodskaya; 19 April 1942 – 8 May 2018) was a Russian-American pedagogue and piano teacher.
Irena Abramovna Rozhanskaya was born in Leningrad, the daughter of Abram Isaakovich Rozhansky, a prominent Jewish trial lawyer. In 1960-1970s, Abram Rozhansky actively served as a defense lawyer in several political anti-Jewish trials (between 1969-75). The family was active in cultural and artistic life. Orlov was close to such figures as Alexei Khvostenko, Mikhnov-Voitenko, Alexander Knaifel. Following the publication of Abram Rozhansky's Anti-Jewish Trials in the Soviet Union, Orlov's life in the USSR became problematic.
She was a close friend of Leonid Aronzon (1939–1970) and Elena Schvarts (1948–2010), Russian poets. Following the death of Leonid Aronzon, Irena was instrumental in arranging a secret transfer of the Aronzon's archive outside of the USSR. She later became the keeper of the archive (until 1993). She and poet Elena Schvarts compiled the first significant publication of L. Aronzon's collected poems in Israel ("Maler" publishers).
In 1993, she returned the archive to the poet's brother Vitaly Aronzon, whom she considered the poet's rightful heir after the death of his wife Rita Purishinskaya. From 1960-80, she was a close friend and supporter of Boris Ponizovsky (1930–1995) ru:Понизовский, Борис Юрьевич, a reformer and theorist of theater.
Irena's husband, Genrikh (Henry) Orlov (1926–2007), was a musicologist and philosopher. He authored A Tree of Music, about the philosophy and cultural aspects of music.
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Orlov was trained at School of Music of Leningrad Conservatory. One of her teachers was then famous and prolific pedagogue Marianna Friendling. Orlov showed interest in teaching piano with noticeable success at age 15, when she was still in high school. She entered Saint Petersburg Conservatory and graduated in 1970 and established her name as a free spirited and very efficient teacher of music. She taught at a children's school of music and performed in The Ensemble of Period Instruments under Andrey Boreyko.
In 1980 Orlov moved to Israel, where she continued teaching. She also developed musical therapy methods which she used as a therapist in psychiatric hospitals. She showed publicly the effectiveness of her musical therapy for patients with dementia and deep depression. In 1986 Orlov moved to the USA. She joined the faculty of the Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C.
For more than two decades, she produced students consistently winning in a variety of young musicians' competitions, many of whom continued their education in leading conservatories of music of the world, including Juilliard School, St Petersburg Conservatory, Royal Conservatory of the Hague and many others. She enjoyed considerable recognition from the faculty members and musicians associated with those schools.
Apart from her teaching, Orlov was an active contributor for a Russian language publication Literary and Artistic Magazine Etazhi. From 2016-18, she contributed a number of publications, in particular her interviews with musicians and composers of world renown: Dmitry Masleev, Nikolai Lugansky, Leonid Desyatnikov, Andrey Boreyko, and Lucas Debargue.
- A Tree of Music, Washington (DC), H. Frager & Co; Saint Petersburg, Sovietsky Kompozitor, 1992; 2nd ed., 2005.
- Recognition article, Levine School of Music; accessed 10 May 2018.
- "Дмитрий Маслеев: "У меня нет никаких ритуалов перед выходом на сцену"".
- "Николай Луганский: "Мне удается скрывать свой страх"".
- Slippedisc. "Death of an iconic piano teacher, 76".
- Reaching Beyond film on WorldNews website
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