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.
Carnegie Hall is one of the most prestigious concert venues in the world for both classical music and popular music. Located in Midtown Manhattan, Carnegie Hall built by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1891. The concerts took place on Ronald O. Perelman Stage in the main auditorium called Isaac Stern Auditorium which seats 2,804 people on five levels.
Elina spend a few weeks getting ready for the most important performance in her career. The pressure was enourmous. Before she performed for a number of years with the balalaika orchestra and singers in St. Petersburg, Russia. But playing in the front of full-size symphony orchestra, choir and opera soloists was new experience for her. However Bulgarian conductor Rossen Milanov worked hard to make sure everything goes smooth and easy for musicians and singers.
Conductor Rossen Milanov
Rossen Milanov (Bulgarian: Росен Миланов) is a well-known Bulgarian conductor. He is Music Director of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra & New Jersey's Symphony in He is also Principal Conductor of Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias in Spain and the former Music Director of Bulgaria's New Symphony Orchestra, and Music Director Designate for the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.
Several musical rehearsals with symphony orchestra, choir and soloists took place in April and May 2016 at the Carnegie Hall. All tech and costume rehearsals took place on the Ronald O. Perelman Stage. It was a challenge to hook up Sennheiser wireless pickup for balalaika to sophisticated house sound system. It took some effort for experienced stuff to resolve the problem by using own transmitter instead of the one brought by Elina.
Russian Tea Room and Carnegie Hall
Manhattan's landmark "Russian Tea Room" is the next building on the block to Carnegie Hall on West 57th Street in New York City. Elina Karokhina use to perform at the "Russian Tea Room" many times with dancers, singers and musicians of Barynya ensemble. After another private party at the restaurant Elina said to musicians of Barynya: - "One day I am going to play my balalaika on the big stage at the concert hall next door". And she was right.
Dreams are coming true in New York
In the beginning of 2016 owner of Barynya Entertainment booking agency Mikhail Smirnov was approached by person who is handling Carnegie Hall's artistic programming. The lady was looking for actively performing conservatory graduated high-quality balalaika virtuoso. They wanted the best musician available for the job.
Mikhail contacted a few top balalaika players in the United States and Europe. After considering several musicians the board of directors of Carnegie Hall decided to hire Elina Karokhina for this project for the reason that she was local and had all reqired qualifications. Signed contract arrived in March.
For Elina it was a dream to come true: six performances on the main stage with symphony orchestra, choir and opera singers. Elina started to rehearse for a few hours every day to get ready. The most difficult part for her was to get use to some interesting and unusual harmonizations of classical Russian music. The production costume designer requested very interesting outfit for the performance: white Ukrainian shirt, Blue Cossack blouse, and black jeans. It was unexpected but comfortable. White birch-trees were projected on the back wall of the stage for Elina's performance.
Performers, musicians and singers feel very comfortable at the venue. Elina had her own private room, plenty of heathy food, and delisious coffee of several flavors. There was even a special person assigned to open a door for her to enter the stage during the show. After several rehearsals at the Carnegie Hall with full symphony orchestra and singers the production was ready for the first show on May 23rd. All six concerts were very succesful. Everything went without any problems.
About 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. 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. 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.
About ensemble Barynya
Elina Karokhina is the Musical Director of Russian dance and music ensemble Barynya. The Russian music, dance and song ensemble Barynya (Russian: Барыня), established in the year 1991 in New York City, is a world renowned group that enjoys exalting stature as the premier Russian folk ensemble outside of Russia. Barynya presents Russian, Cossack, Ukrainian, Jewish and Gypsy Roma traditional dancing, music, songs, and virtuoso performances on instruments including the balalaika, garmoshka (Russian folk button accordion) and balalaika-contrabass. Barynya has been invited to perform at some of the most prestigious cultural venues in the United States, including Carnegie Hall in New York, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, the Smithsonian Institute of America in Washington D.C., the United Nations in New York, and the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C.
Live Music Balalaika Band - Wedding Tasting Room & Taphouse at Mount Ida Reserve - in Scottsville, Virginia - October 8, 2022
DJ Alisa, bilingual MC-Tamada Mikhail and eight piece live music band provided music and entertainment for mixed Russian-Jewish-American wedding reception in Scottsville, Virginia on Saturday, October 8th, 2022. For their venue newlyweds selected Tasting Room & Taphouse at Mount Ida Reserve, 5600 Moonlight Dr, Scottsville, VA 24590.