Dr. Kira Omelchenko, Principal Conductor
Winner of the International Conductors Workshop and Competition, Dr. Kira Omelchenko is an Associate Dean of Performance and Recruitment, Associate Professor of Music, and the Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra at Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Music (Ontario, Canada). Previous positions include the Director of the Orchestra and String Studies at Florida Southern College and the Director of Orchestra and Strings at The University of Tampa (US). A passionate educator, Dr. Omelchenko was nominated for a Grammy Music Educator Award, the Laurier Innovation in Teaching Award, and was the recipient of the prestigious 2018 FSC Miller Distinguished Professor Award.
Dr. Omelchenko has been selected for a prestigious Fulbright Scholar Award for 2023-24 where she will be spending five months in New Zealand conducting, teaching, mentoring students, collaborating with local composers, and conducting research in the National Library of New Zealand. During her Fulbright, she will be a visiting scholar and artist-in-residence at The New Zealand School of Music—Te Kōkī, at Victoria University, in Wellington, New Zealand.
She is the 2022 winner of the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music, a 2022 finalist in the National American Prize in Music virtual concert production category and is a past prize winner in Opera Conducting category. Upcoming conducting engagements include Carnegie Hall, the Vienna Opera Academy, Orlando All-County Orchestra, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Waterloo Chamber Players, and residencies in New Zealand, Thailand, South Korea, Papua New Guinea, British Columbia, Wyoming, and Hawaii.
As the 2017 winner of the International Institute for Conductors in Bulgaria, Dr. Omelchenko conducted the Vidin State Philharmonic Orchestra in a Concerto Festival and was invited back to guest conduct in their 2017-18 season. In the summers of 2019 and 2018, Dr. Omelchenko served as artist in residence and guest conductor at the University of Aveiro (Portugal) where she mentored graduate conducting students and conducted the University Orchestra. During her residency in Portugal she was also invited as a guest lecturer at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Castilla y León in Salamanca, Spain. In addition, she served as the string director at the International Opera Performing Experience Festival in Mercatello sul Metauro (Italy) in July 2019.
Additional guest conducting appearances include conducting the 2021 Florida All-State Honors Orchestra, the Gwinnett Symphony Chamber Symphony (Georgia), the Imperial Symphony Orchestra (Florida), the Seasons Music Festival Orchestra in Yakima, Washington, and the Bulgarian State Opera in Burgas. In 2015 Dr. Omelchenko was selected to participate in a conducting festival in St. Petersburg, Russia where she conducted the orchestra in the historic Mariinsky Theatre. She has held international conducting fellowships and has studied in Vienna, Rotterdam and Amsterdam conservatories in the Netherlands and Bulgaria. She has also participated in conducting workshops with Gustav Meier, Ulrich Nicolai, and Harold Farberman.
A passionate global educator, Dr. Omelchenko has led students in a variety of study and performance abroad opportunities, including travels to Italy, Russia, Bulgaria, and Portugal. She has worked with Middle School and High School students in Summer Orchestra Music Camps at Florida Southern College, The University of Tampa, and the University of Iowa. She has served as Director of the Florida Southern College String Camp from 2014-2019, as a clinician and adjudicator for Florida Orchestra Association, OrlandoFest, Music USA Festival at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL, and Brightparks Travel Festivals. As a highly sought-after and inspiring presenter, she has served as a clinician and adjudicator, and has conducted various All-County Orchestra Festivals.
As an innovative leader in community engagement, she has served on Faculty Senate and the Board of Directors for the Imperial Symphony Orchestra. As an advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, Dr. Omelchenko serves on the orchestra panel for And We Were Heard (AWWH), an organization that brings quality recordings of works by underrepresented composers, and is a mentor for Girls Who Conduct, a program that encourages the upcoming generation of women, women-identifying, and non-binary conductors. As a recipient of the Sigma Alpha Iota Conducting Scholarship, Dr. Omelchenko has presented research at international, national, and state conferences including the International Conference on Arts & Humanities (IAFOR), The National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), American String Teachers Association (ASTA), and Florida Music Education Association (FMEA).
Recognized for her research and contribution to her field, she has been awarded numerous research grants including the Laurier Student Life Levy, Laurier Research Grant, Ontario Arts Grants, American String Teachers Association Grants, Sigma Alpha Iota Professional Development Grants, FSC Faculty Summer Stipend and Professional Grants, FSC Faculty and Student Collaboration Grant, as well as the University of Tampa Alumni, Dana, and the David Delo Research Professor Grants. Dr. Omelchenko’s research on health and music has been published in Health Education Journal (SAGE publications, UK) and her research on the delivery of remote orchestra ensemble during the COVID-19 Pandemic is published in The International Academic Forum (IAFOR International Arts & Humanities, 2022). She has been a contributing author for Wenger Music Corporation and Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI) Panpipes magazine. A native of Kansas, Dr. Omelchenko holds degrees from the Knox College, the University of New Mexico, and a doctoral degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Iowa, where she studied with William LaRue Jones.