Washington Balalaika Society

The Washington Balalaika Society, a community-based orchestra of 60 musicians, was founded in 1988 by eight musicians who wanted to study the instruments of a Russian folk orchestra, the balalaika and domra. Today, WBS is the largest and most developed Russian folk orchestra in North America with musicians at all levels from beginner to professional, and from pre-teens to 90s. In addition to the orchestra, there are several folk ensembles of from 2 to 10 musicians.

The Orchestra is organized in instrumental sections similar to a symphony orchestra. The foundation of our unique mystical sound is the “shimmering” effect produced by rapid plucking of the strings of domras, balalaikas and guslis plus woodwinds, bayans and percussion. WBS is a teaching orchestra with conservatory-trained musicians who studied the balalaika and domra at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia.   The program is announced at each concert and loaner instruments are available for rent.

The Washington Balalaika Society presents more than a dozen concerts each year including our annual Spring and Fall series, festivals, parks, community concert series and other public and private events. Svetlana Nikonova WBS Conductor and Artistic director, is a graduate of the prestigious Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, St. Petersburg, Russia. Our Balalaika Concertmaster is Andrei Saveliev, Domra Concertmistress is Zhenya Tochenaya and Principal Domra soloist is Peter Omelchenko previously with Moscow’s world famous Osipov Balalaika Orchestra.

Learn more: www.balalaika.org

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