Balalaika and Gypsy guitar virtuoso from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Alexey Vladimirovich Siniavski is one of most popular balalaika players in the world.
Alex (Alyosha) is a genuine balalaika YouTube sensation. He has had over 162 thousand (and counting) views on YouTube, placing him in the top 5 most-viewed balalaika videos of ALL TIME and the top 10 most-subscribed Russian folk musicians of all time. Mr. Siniavski is the musicial director of Barynya - the biggest Russian dance and music ensemble outside of Russia. His own compact disk Barynya Russian folk songs was well
recieved by Europian and American Russian folk music fans and professional musicians community.
Tune "Dorogoi Dlinnoyu" from repertoire of Alex Siniavski have been selected
for compact disk "Compilation of Russian Classic Folklore" released in Israel.
In March 2005 Alex Siniavski released BALALAIKA TUTORIAL ON DVD, the easy way to learn all balalaika techniques.
12 free video lessons are available to download from the website: scales, basic chords, Left Hand Position, learning a folk song, strumming, Thumb Pizzicato, Pizzicato Vibrato,
Double Pizzicato, Single Pizzicato, Tremolo and Rolls
Acclaimed balalaika virtuoso Alex Siniavsky arrived in the United States of America in 1992
from St. Petersburg, Russia. As a soloist and director of Barynya he performs around the world, composes and arranges all music
material for the concerts, compact disks and video of the ensemble.
Alex plays museum-quality balalaika,
a three-stringed Russian instrument whose mandolin-like sound is perhaps best known in this country from the Dr. Zhivago soundtrack.
Alex was a leading member (balalaika prima) of The Andreev
State symphonic balalaika orchestra,
one of the most prestigious in former USSR.
Alex graduated with honors from the
Leningrad State Musical Conservatory. He have toured throughout the former
Soviet Union, Europe and America, appeared on
the television and radio in Russia, America
Mikhail Victorovich 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 (Ru: Михаил Смирнов) 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, owner of Barynya Entertainment - the biggest Russian talent booking agency outside of Russia.
Mikhail recieved 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.
While studying in Moscow, Mikhail followed his passion for Russian folk culture by traveling to many different regions of Russia such as Tver, Smolensk, Belgorod, and Don River to collect Russian folklore at its sourse. He was surprised to find out that folk dances, songs, melodies, lyrics, and tunes change from village to village, even if those as close as a couple of miles apart.
In these folklore expeditions, Misha recorded over 100 hours of Russian folk music and dances, performances on folk instruments. Later he has incorporated much of this original material into repertoire of his ensemble "Barynya" - the biggest (and many believe the best) Russian dance and music ensemble outside of Mother Russia.
Mikhail is adept on a variety of Russian folk instruments including balalaika-contrabass, balalaika, and gusli. However, his favorite instrument remains the garmoshka, the small Russian folk button accordion used in Russian folk music and dancing.
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. Of course, he can was not able to be judging Team of Russia... The show premiered on NBC network on January 4th and aired through January 26th, 2009.