About the Washington Balalaika Society
The Washington Balalaika Society was founded in 1988 by a group of Washington-area musicians interested in srudying and performing the music of Russia, Ukraine and Eastern Europe on traditional Russian folk instruments including the balalaika, domra, bayan and related folk wind and percussion instruments.
The Society's initial membership of eight has grown ro more than sixty, and the WBS orchestra is now rhe largest of its kind in America with musicians at all levels from beginner to professional, from teens to 90s in age. The Society's performing elements include the 55 to 60 person WBS Orchestra as well as several folk ensembles.
The WBS Orchestra is organized in instrumental sections similar ro a symphony orchestra, under the direction of a conductor- The insrruments of the orchestra include domras in five voices (first and second prima domra, alto, tenor and bass), five sizes of balalaikas (prima, sekunda, alto, bass, conrrabass), guslis (table psalteries), accordions, bayans, wind insrniments (flute, oboe, clarinet, and folk winds) and both conventional and folk percussion instruments.
The Orchestra 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 venues. The WBS Orchestra has performed at the Kennedy Center Concert HaIl with the Paul Hill Chorale and The Choral Arts Society of Washington; Carnegie HalI in New York; the Round Lake Audirorium in New York's Adirondacks; the Embassy of the Russian Federation; Constitution Hall the Smithsonian, and rhe National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington; Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hail in Alexandria;James Madison University; Kean University in New Jersey; The Thearer ar Washington, VA; Randolph-Macon Woman's College, Walters Gallery in Bakimore and the Ceres Mansion and Weinberg Theatre in Frederick, MD as well as many orher
venues both large and small in the greater Washington area.
Membership in WBS is open to anyone, musician or not who shares an interest in this distinctive music and rich culture. We're always in need of willing workers in the areas of publiciry and promotion, concert logisrics, oumeach, Iiaison with other afts organizations, fund raising and grant requests, maintenance of our music library, audio recording, stage management, costumes and many other tasks.
The WBS is a community-based, 50I.c.3 culrural and educarional organization supported in large part by donarions and grants.
Our Carnegie Hall performance in New York, 1997