Russian musicians. Staten Island, New York. Balalaika and Garmoshka Duo

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On Saturday, March 18th, 2017 from 12-1pm Russian musicians of Barynya Balalaika Duo Elina Karokhina and Mikhail Smirnov performed one hour concert at the HAPPY ISLAND SENIOR CENTER, 1671 Hylan Blvd, Staten Island, New York 10305. Program of the performance included Dr. Zhivago's Somewhere, My Love (Lara's Theme), Memory from Cats musical, Tango Jalousie, Yesterday by The Beatles, La Kum Parsita by Jacob Gade, Besa Me Mucho, Michelle by The Beatles, Time To Say Goodbye by Bochelli, Bublichki (Bagels), "If I was a Rich Man" from "The Fiddler On The Roof" musical, "Tumbalalaika", Blue scarf (Крутится, вертится шарф голубой), Hava Nagila, 7-40, "Kai One", "Shatritsa", "Dark Eyes", "Those Were The Days", "Two guitars", "The Gypsy Trail" (Мохнатый шмель), "Nane Tsokha", "Mardjandja", Гори гори, любовь цыганки, Moscow Nights, Только грянет на Москвою утро вешнее, Дунайские волны (вальс), Katyusha (Катюша), На сопках Манчжурии (вальс), Pidmanula (Ты ж мэнэ пiдманула), Утомлённое солнце (танго), and other selections. Both musicians are members of ensemble Barynya, number 1 Russian dance and music company outside of Russia.  Ensemble Barynya is available for hire for Performing Art Centers, school assemblies, festivals, colleges, universities, libraries, concert halls, restaurants, private and corporate events as one powerful ensemble or in smaller groups.

Contact information: email msmirnov@yahoo.com, phone/text (201) 981-2497

Elina Karokhina, Mikhail Smirnov, Happy Island Senior Center, Staten Island, New York
Elina Karokhina, Mikhail Smirnov, Happy Island Senior Center, Staten Island, New York
click image above to see full size high-resolution photo

ABOUT PERFORMERS:
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. 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. Recently Elina was invited to perform as a Honored Guest Artist at the Balalaika and Domra Association of America 40th Jubilee Convention in Philadelphia.

Elina Karokhina, Carnegie Hall, New York City, USA
Elina Karokhina on the stage of the Carnegie Hall in New York City

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.  Ensemble Barynya is a world renowned group that enjoys exalting stature as the premier Russian folk ensemble outside of Russia.  Under direction of Mr. Smirnov ensemble Barynya has become the most requested Russian dance and music show outside of Mother Russia.

Mikhail Smirnov performing folk song Korobushka

REFERENCES

“The group was excellent. They did some interaction with the students. Music was great!”
   Mary Kay Hennessy, Principal @ St. Norbert School in Paoli, PA
 
“This group was great! The students were all engaged and really enjoyed the show. They arrived on time and were very professional.”
   Liz Legere, PTO @ Cherry Brook Primary School in Canton, CT
 
“Very engaging and flexible with time because of our buses.”
   Michele Rowland, Asst. Principal @ Rodgers Forge Elementary in Baltimore, MD
 
“Very entertaining. A nice mix of traditional Russian music and dance with colorful costumes/traditional dress. The students learned some basic Russian vocabulary words too.”
   Heather Jeanne, Principal @ Enadia Technology Charter School in West Hills, CA
 
“Enjoyed the sharing of the Russian language.”
   Eva Matthews, Principal @ Park View Elementary in Ripon, CA
 
“We enjoyed the program.”
   Nancy Whitson, Head of School @ St Patricks Day School in Thousand Oaks, CA
 
“Our students enjoyed the rhythms and the energetic dancing. The performers were friendly and very talented.”
   Mary Stadler, Counseling Director @ Stanbridge Academy in San Mateo, CA
 
“Wonderful – Great interaction with the kids”
   Leana Wright, PTO @ Willow Creek Elementary in Tomball, TX
 
“We chose this program because we wanted to expose our students to the beautiful culture, music, dance, traditional costumes, language of Russia. The three performers did a wonderful job entertaining and engaging our students.”
   Barbara LaCorte Principal @ Hope Elementary in Santa Barbara, CA

Contact information: email msmirnov@yahoo.com, phone/text (201) 981-2497

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Contact information: email msmirnov@yahoo.com, phone/text (201) 981-2497

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