Premier folk artists of Ensemble Barynya will present an evening of dances, songs, and virtuoso performances from the Russian tradition. Accompanied by instruments such as the Balalaika and Garmoshka, the energetic style of this amazing company will excite and thrill little ones and their families.
Members, to redeem your complimentary tickets, add up to four tickets (per member and per event) to your cart and the complimentary price will be reflected at checkout once you’ve logged in to your account.
The Russian music, dance and song ensemble Barynya, established in the year 1991, is a world renowned group that enjoys exalting stature as the premier Russian folk ensemble. Barynya presents Russian, Cossack, Siberian, Nanai, Ukrainian, Roma Gypsy Tsyganskiy, Evreiskiy Jewish traditional dancing, music, songs, and virtuoso performances on instruments including the balalaika, balalaika-contrabass, garmoshka (Russian folk button accordion).
Barynya has been invited to perform at some of the most prestigious cultural venues in the United States, including Carnegie Hall in New York City, 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. Barynya is globally recognized and boasts an impressive client roster of dignitaries, politicians, celebrities and organizations from around the world. The group performed at the black-tie Gala after the Liberty Medal was presented to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev by President George H.W. Bush in 2008. The prestigious event was attended by over one thousand dignified guests including the likes of Tom Brokaw, Dikembe Mutumbo, and Van Cliburn.
Latest major concert tours: Canada, United States (2016), Puerto Rico (2015), United States (2014, 2013, 2012), Australia (2011), Hong Kong (2010), Canada, Mexico (2009), United States (2008). Barynya also performs annually at the Russian Nobility Ball for the Russian Nobility Association in New York.
Members of the ensemble have been invited to perform at many film premier and celebrity parties, including the official post-Grammy Award parties in New York and for private events hosted by Barbara Walters, Elton John, the Rolling Stones, and Tommy Hilfiger. Most recently, Mikhail Smirnov, the founder and Artistic Director of Barynya, was invited as one of the eight judges on NBC’s hit dance show, Superstars of Dance.
Mikhail Smirnov, Artistic director and founder
Mikhail Smirnov, Artistic Director/Founder of Ensemble Barynya, 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 (Russian: Михаил Викторович Смирнов) is an 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. 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 source. 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. Recently 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.
Elina Karokhina, Musical Director and balalaika virtuoso
Balalaika virtuoso 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. As a balalaika soloist Elina has toured all over the world. 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 famous Russian 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 six concerts at the Carnegie Hall in New York City as a part of The Triumph of Hope international event. In September 2016 he appeared at the Carnegie Hall again as a part of “Moscow Gypsy Army” representing rich musical culture of Eastern Europian Roma people. In January 2017 Elina was hired to play Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh Suite at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. with the National Symphony Orchestra. All four performances were under direction of world-famous conductor Sir Mark Elder.
Valentina Kvasova, choreographer
Valentina Kvasova is a professional dancer specializing in Russian, Cossacks, Ukrainian, and Russian Gypsy (Roma) traditional dances. Valentina Anatolievna Kvasova was born in Russia, in the city of Rostov-na-Donu, Cossack’ s Capital of Russia, on August 25, 1976. After finishing of the formal education in Voronezh Choreographic School in 1994 she has been invited to Rostov Don Cossacks State Academic Song and Dance Ensemble as the actress of ballet. Professional skills and great talent let Valentina join the concert program in a short period of time and soon to become soloist of the ensemble. Kvasova Valentina successfully performed with The Don Cossacks in Russia, Japan, Spain, Hungary, the republic of South Africa, the USA and other countries. Valentina equally manages roles of lyrical, playful or comic characters. The dynamical, bright, sociable, talented person, she is having recognition among professionals. Valentina Kvasova has joined Russian folk dance and music ensemble Barynya in 2004 as a dancer and singer. In 2005 she has become a dance captain, in 2008 – a choreographer.