Irina Polyakova was born in St. Petersburg (Leningrad) Russia. At age 6, she studied at the music school for gifted children and then graduated from the Rimsky-Korsakov Music College. Her teachers were Sofia Pozdeeva and Natalya Neginskaya. After coming to the United States in 1991, she first got her degrees, a B.A. in piano and B.S. in marketing from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She studied with Earl Miller and Thomas Labe.
Polyakova also holds a Master’s of Music in piano performance from UTC and has a long career of teaching in both countries. At Cadek Conservatory of Music, she has had a private studio since 1995. Her students have won numerous awards at CMTA, TMTA, and Cadek competitions. Many of her students became piano majors and some are actively involved in their communities as pianists. She has adjudicated at CMTA, Cadek, NFMC, and at the UTC Piano Arts competition for years. She collaborated with musicians at Roland Hayes Hall, Cadek Hall, and Chattanooga Music Club, of which she is a member. She has been an adjunct professor of piano at Lee University since 2009. Her hobbies include competitive running, freestyle swimming, biking, and oil painting.