The Balalaika Russe - Russian balalaika band photos and story
Since its inception in the early 1970's, the BALALAIKA RUSSE has grown in popularity and proficiency and was considered the finest ensemble of its kind in the USA. This colorful sextet has performed from Washington to Maine and Europe, at such venues as society balls and affairs, at local church halls, outdoor concerts and festivals, weddings, club dates, and on the concert stage. "The Balalaika Russe" was the preferred band of the Russian nobility emigre society, performing at such functions as the Petrouchka Ball, the Nobility Ball, the Theological Ball, and at the Tolstoy Society. The members all come from the Tri-State area of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The Balalaika Russe photo
Photo by Martin Koenig, 1986
The Balalaika Russe members
GARY NOVA (voice and guitar) has been singing Russian and Ukrainian songs ever since he can remember, starting out as a youth in his native Ukraine, and picking up the guitar somewhere along the way. Known as "The Russian Crooner," he has made many appearances throughout the United States and Europe, in places such as Lincoln Center in New York City, and The Palace in Gstadd, Switzerland. His recording on the Armen label of "I Remember Russia," a fine example of his talent, has been extremely popular in the Russian emigre community in America. In 2008 Gary Nova published a cook-book 30 Days Around The Stove. GARY NOVA's funeral service was held on Thursday, May 21, 2009, 10am at St. Alexander Nevsky Russian Orthodox Church in Howell, NJ (although usually referred to by Russians as being in Lakewood), which is a few hundred feet from Rodina Society Hall on Route 9. The burial at St. Vladimir's Cemetery near Rova Farm right after the service.
Gari Nova with Barynya Balalaika Orchestra, Petroushka Ball, 2006, The Pierre Hotel, New York City
BILL MELICK (prima balalaika), leader of the Balalaika Russe, has got his exposure to balalaika music from his family, who owned several Russian restaurants in New York City. His performance in Khovanshchina (the Mussorgsky opera, Eve Quiler conducting) with the New York Symphony Orchestra, highlights a long career of club, stage and television appearances throughout the United States and Europe.
STEPHEN M. WOLOWNIK (July 22, 1946) - (May 18, 2000) was a pioneer in the Russian and Eastern European music community in the United States. He was a co-founder of the Balalaika and Domra Association of America. Born in Chester, Pennsylvania, Wolownik grew up with Russian and Ukrainian music. As a child and young adult, he participated in the balalaika orchestra at St. Nicholas's Russian Orthodox Church in Philadelphia under the tutelage of Paul Kauriga of the Kovriga Balalaika Orchestra. He also played under Anastasia Karnow... read more
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ALEXANDER ALEXANDROVICH (prima domra), as lead player, made a
tremendous contribution to the group's distinctive sound.
His devotion to Russian music has made him one of the finest prima domra players in the country.
GARY NOVA with Russian balalaika band "The Balalaika Russe"
Picture taken at Gary Nova's Festival by Mikhail Smirnov
The Balalaika Russe album "Heart On The Snow"
The Balalaika Russe - "Heart On The Snow" Album
Since its inception in the early 1970's, the BALALAIKA RUSSE has grown in popularity and proficiency and is now considered the finest ensemble of its kind in the USA. This colorful sextet has performed from Washington to Maine and Europe, at such venues as society balls and affairs, at local church halls, outdoor concerts and festivals, weddings, club dates, and on the concert stage.... MP3 samples, order
Dedication of Steve Wolownik’s Garden
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