Russian music, dance and song balalaika trio (Leonid Bruk, Elina Karokhina, Mikhail Smirnov) performed three small concerts in Middletown, Connecticut in the spring 2016. First concert and workshop took place at the World Music Hall of Wesleyan University. Second show was a 45 min concert for students and teachers at the Farm Hill Elementary School located at 390 E Ridge Rd, Middletown, CT 06457 on Monday, May 2nd. 2016. School assembly performance started at 2PM. The Balalaika Trio performed Siberian Nanai Wrestling Dance "Нанаец", Russian folk button accordion "Гармошка" introduction with traditional Russian song "Kalinka", The Snowstorm, Russian folk dance ("Метелица"), Kamarinskaiya, Russian folk instrument balalaika introduction ("Камаринская"),
Russian Tongue Twisters Medley ("Скороговорки"), Jewish wedding dance "Свечки", Russian Percussian Orchestra interactive game with students ("Трещётки"),
Russian Romani Roma Gypsy song and dance ("Цыганский"), Russian folk dance lesson ("Урок танца"), Ukrainian folk song and dance Pidmanoola ("Украинский"),
instrumental solo "Чардаш", Russian Bear dance "Медведь", and other selections. Last performance took place at the Memorial Chapel Middletown located at 221 High Street in Middletown, CT.
ABOUT PERFORMERS: Elina Karokhina Elina Karokhina was born in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), Russia. She began her formal training at the Mussorgsky Music College of St. Petersburg and continued her training at N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatory, earning a degree as an Orchestra Soloist. Elina continued her training at the Conservatory, which included a brief residency in Germany. After, she returned to her native St. Petersburg and completed her education, earning a Doctor of Musical Art Degree in the Balalaika. Following her graduation, she began working as a musician, both as a teacher and as a performer, teaching balalaika. Elina Karokhina served in the Russian Army in the Military Ensemble in the Northwest Order of Red Stars. She is a winner of International Music Competition in Cherepovets and a Holder of the First Place in Troyanovsky's Competition for musicians performing of traditional instruments in St. Petersburg, Russia. As a balalaika soloist Elina has toured all over the world.
Elina Karokhina on the stage of the Carnegie Hall in New York City
She was a soloist of State Concert Russian Orchestra of Saint Petersburg under direction of Honored Performer of Russia Vladimir Popov (Russian: Государственный Русский концертный оркестр Санкт-Петербурга, Художественный руководитель и главный дирижер – Заслуженный деятель искусств России ВЛАДИМИР ПОПОВ.) When she moved to the United States in 2009 she was hired as a musicial director and soloist with the biggest professional Russian music, song and dance ensemble Barynya (New York). In January 2015 Elina Karokhina was selected to perform the balalaika part with Mariinsky Theatre directed by world-famous conductor Valery Gergiev in Rodion Shchedrin's opera "The Enchanted Wanderer" at the Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn, New York. In May 2016 she was hired to play several concerts at the Carnegie Hall in New York City with symphony orchestra, choir, and opera soloists as a soloist of "The Orchestra Rocks" production.
About Leonid Bruk:
Acclaimed New York based contrabass balalaika player Leonid Bruk was born in Leningrad, Russia. Leonid was graduated from music school as a bass guitarist and performed with many different groups. In 1998 he joined Russian dance and music ensemble Barynya. In 2000 he founded his own Russian folk music trio "BROOKLYN BALALAIKAS". Since 1889 when he arrived to USA, Leonid Bruk (Russian: Леонид Кимович Брук) was deeply attracted to the bass-balalaika and contrabass balalaika.
Leonid Bruk has played with variuos folk groups including NYC Klezmer Band, Tamara Volskaia's Russian Souvenir ensemble, Mandalin Orchestra of New York, NYC Russian Band and New York Balalaika Orchestra and soon become known expert in Russian folk music. His specialty is playing balalaika bass and balalaika-contrabass.
About Mikhail Smirnov: Mikhail Smirnov was born in Moscow, Russia in 1966. He has been in the business of Russian folk dance and music for more than 25 years. Mikhail is an artistic director and founder of ensemble Barynya based in New York City, author of many articles about traditional Russian dance, music and instruments in English and Russian. Mikhail received his Master's degree from the Moscow State University of Culture and Arts. As a child, he was a member of the famous "Moscow Boys Chorus" - one of the most prestigious all-male choirs in Russia.
Before coming to the United States in 1991, Mikhail was a soloist in a several Russian folk dance and music groups including the Moscow State Center for Russian song, "Russkaya Pesnya", under the direction of Nadezhda Babkina. In January 2009 Mikhail Smirnov and dancers of ensemble Barynya were featured on national TV, NBC's "SUPERSTARS OF DANCE" - breathtaking international dance competition led by executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Simon Fuller (American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance). This prestigious dance competition hosted by Michael Flatley ("Lord of the Dance") and Susie Castillo, a former Miss USA. Mikhail Smirnov was one of eight judges to decide which country will win. The show premiered on NBC network.