Born in Moscow, Russia, Svetlana's youthful style, sensational voice and personal charm made her one of the leading singers in her homeland of Russia and have, in recent years, endeared her to audiences around the world, as well as made her one of the extraordinary Jewish performers. In the midst of the successful career in radio, television and the concert stage she developed a yeaning for Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian and international music and introduced it into her repertoire.
Svetlana Portnyansky, a solo Jewish singer, graduated from the famous Gnesin Musical State Academy in Moscow with honors in 1986 and began her singing career at the Jewish Theater "Shalom.
In 1991 she won the First Prize at the Moscow International pop-n-rock Music Festival. That same year, Svetlana immigrated to the USA where she continued her education in cantorial vocal and theology at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York and Los Angeles and became a cantor in one of the concervative sinagogue of Los Angeles (www.templeisaiahoc.org). Since that time Svetlana enjoys the status of international Jewish star with concert tours all over the world, including USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand, Japan, Western and Eastern Europe, and of course, Israel.
Her performances include the International Songs Festivals in Moscow, New York, Montreal and Italy just to name a few. She performed with Noreen Green Jewish Symphony Orchestra, La Mirada Symphony Orchestra, at the Gala Concert "Israel 2000" and "Israel 2002" in Greek Theater, in Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles; at the Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Lincoln Center in New York; Tokyo Opera City in Japan; at the Bolshoy Theater in Moscow. She sang the American National Anthem at the Dogers Stadium in Los Angeles and in Las Vegas during a boxing competition.
Svetlana made personal appearances on TV shows "Shalom America" in New York, Hanukkah Telethon in Los Angeles, and in numerous Russian and Israeli broadcasts.
In 1996 she recorded the soundtrack for Steven Spielberg's documentary "Survivors of Holocaust" at Capitol Records, in 2002 - soundtrack for Jeff Kanew's film "Babij Jar".
Throughout her career, Svetlana has performed with internationally known stars such as Steve Allen, Lionel Hampton, Maximilian Schell, Roselin Kind, Lenny Kazan, Clare Berry, Debbie Friedman, Bruce Addler, Mike Burstein, Cantor Dudu Fisher.
Today Svetlana is one of the few singers that bring Jewish music, culture and tradition to the whole international Jewish community. Her songs strengthen the resolve for thousands of Russian Jews to go to their homeland. She continuously inspires American Jews to contribute generously for the cause of Israel.
Svetlana's songs are creating the new bound between the Jewish communities of this world. Through her art she rewakens the best of the Jewish spirit - faith in God, respect for tradition and love the eretz Israel.
"Los Angeles Times", L.A. CA
... She is a Sweet Svetlana, swaying and weaving silky songs of a dozen cultures in a dozen languages. Her swaying stile and distinct musical interpretations are strictly Svetlana, and while she has not patterned herself after anyone, she seems to assume a dozen personalities, all showing off her uncommon beauty to advantage...
"Jewish News", Sydney, Australia
... Svetlana is a superb artist, at times commanding comparison to Streisand. I give her just 100 percent in all categories-appearance, style, personality, vocal quality and range, movement, audience communication and any other that you might want...
"Slavyansky Bazar" (Slavic Fair), Byelorussia
... When she sang, goose bumps ran up and down your body. The biggest disappointment at her concert was the end. For a while listeners couldn't compose themselves, demanding that the singer sings an encore...
"Panorama", Los Angeles
... Her voice-clear, clean and romantic-was like a holiday firework: its multi-colored notes scattered in the air only to yield to the next bouquet, which was born and died in the eyes of the astounded crowd...
"Novoye Russkoye Slovo" (New Russian Word), New York
... An encounter with her became a true revelation. She subdued people with her complete penetration into the music's essence, for the talented singer was able to grasp and convey the hidden meaning, the subtext. There was such a Chagal-like multi-dimensionality to her, such mental anguish! And such moving beauty...
"Jewish Press", New York
... Now the only discernible presence - perhaps within miles - was an ar commonly attractive, black haired young woman in a shimmering aqua gown. When she struck her first note, people began setting off magical sparks that zig-zagged through the audience like a giant runaway flashlight. She was introduced as Cantor. But she performed like Streisand.