B.Mus. Thompson Rivers University
Performance Diploma, The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto)
Graduate of Lviv State Academy of Music
Oksana Zelinska-Shevchuk grew up in a world surrounded by musicians. By the age of 9, she knew that the bandura would be her life. Oksana attended and graduated from some of the most prestigious music schools in Ukraine and Canada that provided her with life-changing experiences. Despite the remarkable teachers she had the pleasure of learning from, her biggest role model and inspiration in life was her late mother, renowned Artist of Ukraine - Vira Zelinska who founded the Zoloti Struny family. Taking over the role of Artistic Director at Zoloti Struny has been one of Oksana’s most cherished accomplishments as she vowed to carry on her mother’s legacy. Currently, she has also found fulfillment as a co-conductor of the Women’s Bandura Ensemble of North America. Oksana hopes to continue to expand our bandura family, retaining our most experienced members to perform globally at some of the most notable venues and influential events. Oksana believes that “Bandura is not only what you do for life; it has the ability to define your soul.”
BSc. Biological Sciences & Psychology, Brock University
Olzych Foundation of Canada Award
For over a decade, Sonia Szubelak has worked continuously to support the Zoloti Struny family by dedicating her time to expanding the bandura program, building relationships with local communities and participating in hundreds of performances throughout Canada and some in Ukraine. As one of late founder Vira Zelinska's first students in Canada, Sonia developed a love for the bandura at age 10 when she discovered her musical abilities through private lessons and intensive bandura camp workshops. Over the years, she trained with Vira Zelinska, performing in and achieving numerous awards annually at the Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival and the Ukrainian Music Festival. Sonia's commitment to Zoloti Struny to this day has helped the bandura family grow, inspiring young talent to pursue learning an important part of Ukrainian heritage and culture.