Balalaika virtuoso Elina Karokhina was born in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), Russia. She is the daughter of the 2003 Pushkin Prize-winning author L'ev Fyodorovich Karokhin and Galina Savich. Lina (Elina L'vovna) 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. She 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. In 1994 Elina was one of the winners of international competition "Kubok Severa" of folk musicians in Cherepovets, Russia. In 1996 she won the First Place of Troyanovsky's Competition of musicians performing on traditional instruments in St. Petersburg (Russia). Elina was invited as a special guest for the Gloden Ring of Russia 1993 Balalaika and Domra Association of America convention. She shared the stage with Alexander Tsygankov, Valeriy Zazhigin and Mikhail Sheikhman for the concerts at the "Rossia" Concert Hall in Moscow (Ìîñêîâñêèé êîíöåðòíûé çàë "Ðîññèÿ") and at the Saint Petersburg's State Capella (Ãîñóäàðñòâåííàÿ àêàäåìè÷åñêàÿ êàïåëëà). Elina Karokhina (Russian: Ýëèíà Ëüâîâíà Êàðîõèíà) served in the Russian Army in the Military Ensemble in the Northwest Order of Red Stars. As a balalaika soloist Elina has toured all over the world. When she moved to the United States in 2009 she founded and performed with Boston Russian Music Duo. Currently she is a musicial director and soloist with the biggest professional Russian music, song and dance ensemble Barynya based in New York, USA. She performs solo, with the NY Balalaika Duo, Brooklyn Balalaikas Trio, Barynya Balalaika Orchestra, NYC Klezmer Band, wedding band 5grand, and some other groups and ensembles. In January 2015 Elina Karokhina was selected to perform the balalaika part with Mariinsky Theatre directed by famous Russian 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 six concerts at the Carnegie Hall in New York City as a part of "THE TRIUMPH OF HOPE" international event. In September 2016 he appeared at the Carnegie Hall again as a part of Moscow Gypsy Army representing rich musical culture of Eastern Europian Roma people. In January 2017 Elina was hired to play Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh" Suite at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. with the National Symphony Orchestra. All four performances were under direction of world-famous conductor Sir Mark Elder. In July 2018 Elina was selected to perform as a Honored Guest Artist during Balalaika and Domra Association of America 40th Jubilee Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In October 2019 Elina Karokhina with other members of Barynya ensemble performed several shows during Emirates-Russian Week at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The most important guest of the event were Russian president Vladimir Putin, United Arab Emirates' Prime minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov.
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Elina Karokhina is one of the most notable graduates of the N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatory
Elina Karokhina is listed between George Balanchine and Sergei Diaghilev on the list of the top most notable graduates of the N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatory in Saint Petersburg, Russia (link).
With Anthony Thistlethwaite (formerly of “The Waterboys") -
“All The Way” and “Welcome to the White Nights” on the album “Crawfish and Caviar”, recorded 10/95 (Demon Records) in St Petersburg Russia with special guest Mick Taylor, formerly of the Rolling Stones.
Barynya - Elina Karokhina & Barynya. Balalaika music album, 2010
Izba Trio- self-titled CD, 2007
Russian Army Order of the Northwest Red Stars- “Songs of Russian Heroic Fame”
Kupola Folk Ensemble- self-titled CD
State Russian Concert Orchestra of St. Petersburg- self-titled CD, 2003
Nadir Mamedoff - “My Russia”, toured/recorded CD as a member of his backing musical trio “Troika”.
Performance with the National Symphony Orchestra, Kennedy Center, Washington D.C.
Elina Karokhina at the Carnegie Hall in New York City
Balalaika virtuoso Elina Karokhina performed six concerts at the Carnegie Hall in New York City on May 23rd, 24th, and 27th, 2016 as a soloist of "The Orchestra Rocks" production. Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute brought together thousands of New York City students and teachers for annual "Link Up" concerts, featuring the Orchestra of St. Luke's, choir and three opera singers.
On January 14, 2015 Elina Karokhina was selected to performed balalaika part with Mariinsky Theatre from St. Petersburg, Russia in Rodion Shchedrin's opera "The Enchanted Wanderer" at the BAM - Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn, New York. Some photos and video from Shchedrin’s rarely staged musical treasure, based on the story by Nikolai Leskov are available on Barynya website
Emirates-Russian Week, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Musicians of Barynya ensemble provided several thirty minute performances during Emirates-Russian Week at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The most important guest of the Emirates-Russian Week were Russian president Vladimir Putin as well as United Arab Emirates' Prime minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov.
01-23-2020. "From Russians With Love", Concert with Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Gaillard Center, Charleston, SC
On Thursday, January 23rd, 2020 Elina Karokhina, and Mikhail Smirnov performed joined concert titled "FROM RUSSIANS WITH LOVE" with Charleston Symphony Orchestra led by conductor Yuriy Bekker. Program of performance: Dmitri Shostakovich Festive Overture, Op. 96, Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky “ Polonaise ” from Eugene Onegin, Sergei Rachmaninoff's Vocalise, Modest Mussorgsky, (arr. Nikolai Rimsky - Korsakov) Night on Bald Mountain, Stravinsky's Firebird Infernal Dance Berceuse Finale, Aram Khachaturian's “Sabre Dance“ from Gayane, Nikolai Rimsky - Korsakov “Flight of the Bumble Bee” from Tale of Tsar Saltan, Russian Folk Song "Oche Chiornie" (Dark Eyes), arr. Carmen Dragon, Lionel Bart, arr. John Bachalis “ From Russia With Love “ from James Bond: From Russia With Love, Maurice Jarre, arr. Bill Holcombe “Laura’s Theme” from Dr. Zhivago, Russian Folk Song "Kalinka", Russian Folk Song "Kamarinskaiya", Russian Folk Song "Valenki", Russian Folk Song "Korobushka", Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky “Finale” from Symphony No . 4 in F minor, Op. 36. All instrumental numbers were performed by Elina and MIkhail on guitar, and the traditional Russian instruments balalaika and garmoshka. After the performance conductor Yuriy Bekker, tenor Edward Brennan, Mikhail and Elina stepped into the lobby of the beautuful Charleston Gaillard Center to sign concert posters and take photos with people who attended the performance. Exact address of the venue: 95 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29401
Koinonia Christian Fellowship, Bloomingdale, Canada
Leonid Bruk, Elina Karokhina, Mikhail Smirnov performed a program of Russian and Russian-Gypsy traditional music during Svet Ministries Event at the Koinonia Christian Fellowship in Bloomingdale, Canada on Saturday, October 26, 2019 . Performance took place at the Koinonia Christian Fellowship, 850 Sawmill Rd, Bloomingdale, ON N0B 1K0, Canada.
Russian dancers, singers and musicians of ensemble Barynya performed 90 min concert at the Lone Tree Arts Center in Lone Tree, Colorado on Saturday, March 9th, 2019. Cast of Barynya ensemble included dancers
Alisa Egorova, and musicians
Leonid Bruk (balalaika-contrabass),
Elina Karokhina (balalaika),
Mikhail Smirnov (garmoshka, guitar, vocals).
Dancers performed Moldavian dance, Sailors' dance, Barynya, Kalinka, Hopak, Danila Cooper, Jewish wedding dances (Bottle dance, Candle dance), Siberian, Gypsy, Cossack, and other selections. Exact address of the venue: Lone Tree Arts Center, 10075 Commons Street, Lone Tree CO 80124.
Ensemble Barynya, Colorado, Russian dancers, Lone Tree Arts Center, Alexander Rudoy, Konstantin Tulinov, Vladimir Nikitin, Olga Chpitalnaia, Katia Brovkina, Valentina Kvasova, Alisa Egorova, Leonid Bruk, Elina Karokhina, Mikhail Smirnov
Elina Karokhina, Queens, New York
Fayetteville Technical Community College, Fayetteville, North Carolina
On Tuesday, January 21st, 2020, two dancers and two musicians of Russian dance, song and music ensemble Barynya proided dance and music workshop with questions and answers from 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM, and formal performance from 12:00PM to 1PM at the Cumberland Hall Auditorium on Fayetteville campus Fayetteville Technical Community College, 2201 Hull Road, Fayetteville, NC 28303. Students learn facts about Russia, and asked questions about Russian Culture and e njoy traditional Russian folk dances, music, and songs performed on garmoshka, and balalaika. Cast of performers: Elina Karokhina, Mikhail Smirnov, Alisa Egorova, Sergey Tsyganok.
Faith Food and Fellowship Festival, Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, East Meadow, Long Island
On Saturday, August 31st, 2019 ensemble Barynya (Leonid Bruk, Alisa Egorova, Elina Karokhina, Mikhail Smirnov) provided three hours performance during Faith Food and Fellowship Festival-2019 at the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in East Meadow, Long Island from 12 to 3pm. The program of performance included Russian, Ukrainian, Cossack, Moldavian, Tatar, Jewish and Gypsy folk songs, music and dancing.
Concert at the Freeport High School in Freeport, New York
On Saturday, October 13th, 2018 ensemble Barynya performed 90 min concert sponsored by Freeport Community Concert Association (FCCA) at the Freeport High School, 50 S Brookside Ave, Freeport, NY 11520. Cast of Barynya ensemble included Vladimir Nikitin, Irina Zagornova, Leonid Bruk, Valentina Kvasova, Alexander Rudoy, Simona Zhukovski, Serhiy Tsyganok, Irina Biryukova, Konstantin Tulinov, Olga Yeliseyeva, Olga Chpitalnaia, Ilia Pankratov, Alisa Egorova, Elina Karokhina, and Mikhail Smirnov.
Steinway Street Fair International Cultural Festival in Astoria, Queens, April 2018
Sunday, April 29th, 2018 during performance of ensemble Barynya at the Steinway Street Fair International Cultural Festival on Steinway Street (between Broadway & 31st Avenue) in Astoria, Queens. Dancers: Vladimir Nikitin, Konstantin Tulinov, Serhiy Tsyganok, Dinara Subaeva, Alisa Egorova. Musicians: Elina Karokhina (balalaika), Leonid Bruk (contrabass balalaika), Mikhail Smirnov (garmoshka, vocals), Gypsy Boulevard Vasily Romani (singer, 7 string Russian guitar).
Steinway Street Fair International Cultural Festival in Astoria, Queens
Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), exhibition "Faberge Revealed", Salem, Massachusetts, July 2013.
Photo from concert at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) during exhibition "Faberge Revealed" in Salem, Massachusetts, July 2013. All photos made by Shawn Fitzgerald Photography are available on Barynya website.
Barynya Balalaika Trio led by Elina Karokhina on TV. Bevcam TV Studio in Beverly, Massachusetts, June 29th, 2011.
Barynya Balalaika Trio: Elina Karokhina (balalaika), Leonid Bruk (balalaika-contrabass) and Mikhail Smirnov (garmoshka, guitar, vocals).
Recorded and produced by EstradaProduction. All photos and videos from this event are available at the website www.Russian365.com.
State Capella of Saint Petersburg, St.Petersburg, Russia, February 27, 2012.
Elina Karokhina and Mikhail Smirnov were invited to perform at the concert dedicated to celebration of 80th jubilee of Mr. Nikolai Aleksandrovich Shubin, famous teacher of the balalaika and domra. Elina and Mikhail played very difficult medley that consisted of Russian folk songs, classical and popular hits. The concert took place at the "State Capella of Saint Petersburg", one of the most prestigious concert halls in St. Petersburg, Russia located at Naberezhnaya Reky Moiki, #20, metro (subway station) "Nevsky Prospekt". All photos and videos are available at st.petersburg.russia.htm
Russian-American Wedding at the Garrison, Garrison, New York
On Saturday, September 17th, 2011 musicians and dancers of Russian dance, song, and music ensemble Barynya provided music and entertainment during mixed Russian-American wedding in Garrison, New York. Cast of Barynya included Danila Sherstobitov (dancer), Ilia Pankratov (dancer), Olga Chpitalnaia (dancer), Anna Brovkina (dancer), Leinid Bruk (contrabass balalaika player), Mikhail Smirnov (singer, garmoshka, and guitar player), and balalaika virtuoso Elina Karokhina. Exact address of the venue: The Garrison, 2015 US 9, Garrison, New York 10524. Address for GPS: 1 Snakehill Rd, Garrison, NY 10524.
Concert at the United States West Point Military Academy, West Point, New York
Balalaika Trio perfored a formal concert at the West Point Military Academy on April 16th, 2015. Elina Karokhina (balalaika), Mikhail Smirnov (garmoshka, guitar, vocals), Leonid Bruk (balalaika-contrabass) played a mix of popular, classical and traditional music and songs from Russia and from around the world. Program of performance included Andreev's Waltz, Russian folk song Kamarinskaya, Dr. Zhivago, The Moon Is Shining Brightly, Peddlers, Yablocko, Ural Mountain dance, Angry Husband, Onegin's Name Day Waltz, Russian Tongue Twisters, Mozart Turkish Rondo, Russian Folk Songs Medley, Dark Eyes, Gypsy Roma Medley, Shostakovich Waltz #2, Chardash, Balalaika Medley, Valenki (Felt Boots).
Barynya Trio at the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Russian Brides, Season 13, Episode 7
Elina Karokhina and other musicians of Barynya ensemble were a part of famous TV show Episode about Russian mafia. In order to bring down a Russian mobster running an international prostitution/kidnapping ring disguised as a Russian bride website, Cragen steps from behind the desk to go undercover as a "john". Cast: Elina Karokhina - balalaika, Mikhail Smirnov - garmoshka, Alexandre Tseytlin - violin.
July 25, 2010, Northern Adult Care Center, Brooklyn, NY
On Sunday, July 25th, 2010 Elina Karokhina performed two concerts with New York based guitar player Alexey Efimenko at the Northern Adult Care Center, 1 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, NY 11215. The program of performance included Russian, Gypsy, Ukrainian and Jewish music as well as several classical pieces.
April 2010, Scottish Rite Auditorium, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, USA
Concert with ensemble Barynya on Wednesday, April 21, 2010. Dancers: Anya Zeenenko, Sophia Panych, Olga Chpitalnaia, Alexey Maltsev, Alexander Rudoy, Danila Sherstobitov, Mikhail Smirnov (garmoshka, guitar, vocals), Elina Karokhina (balalaika), singer Alexander Menshikov, Leonid Bruk (balalaika-contrabass).
Friday, April 9th, 2010, Old Mill Inn, 21 Old Mill Road, Toronto, Ontario, M8X 1G5 CANADA, Winter Palace Ball and the Gala Charity Fundraiser benefitting Ruskoka, a summer camp for underprivileged children.
Musicians: Elina Karokhina
(garmoshka, guitar, vocals),
Valery Abramov (tenor-saxophone), Oleg Sorin (trumpet).
April 29th, 2010. Balalaika Piano Duo, wedding ceremony in Boston, MA
Balalaika/Piano Duo led by Elina Karokhina provided music for wedding ceremony on April 29th, 2010 in Boston, MA. The music included The Swan (Le Cygne) from Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens, "Here Comes The Bride" Wedding March, J.S.Bach - Arioso from Cantata BWV 156 (Adagio), Ave Maria - Schubert, "CANON IN D" by PACHELBEL, WEDDING MARCH by MENDELSSOHN, "CLAIR DE LUNE" by DEBUSSY, and other selections.
Military Ensemble of Northern-Western Order, St. Petersburg, Russia
From 2004 to 2009 Elina Karokhina was the soloist of the Russian Military ensemble "Ansambl Vnutrennikh Voisk Rossii Severo-Zapadnogo Okruga" based in St. Petersburg, Russia on the Millionnaiya Steet near Hermitage Museum. At the time the ensemble had about 70 members: musicians, dancers, singers.
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