Out & About

November 21, 2013

Folk at heart

SARANAC — The Russian Duo — Oleg Kruglyakov (balalaika) and Terry Boyarsky (piano) — offer equal measures of classical and Russian folk music at the Saranac United Methodist Church.

Sponsored by Hill and Hollow Music, the first half of Saturday’s program features work by Handel, Mozart, Daquin and Andreyev, the father of the modern balalaika.

“The second half is very interesting,” Boyarsky said. “We’ve got some folk music and virtuoso variations on folk music. We have a very interesting Soviet-era piece. We will be singing some folk songs and play a tango and a piece from Brazil. We’re doing world-folk songs.”

The Russian Duo was formed six years ago when Kruglyakov was searching for a music partner/collaborator.

“I found Terry on the Internet on a website for the Ohio Arts Council,” he said. “She had a personal Web page. I read the description. It was meeting my expectation. I sent her an email with examples of my performance. We met and started playing together, and it’s still going on.”

Born in Omsk City, Siberia, Russia, Kruglyakov grew up hearing folk music sung by his family.

“When I was 9 years old, my mother decided I had musical abilities,” he said. 

“She brought me to a musical school in Siberia, and I was accepted there as a student.”

Educated at the prestigious Ekaterinburg Conservatory, he studied conducting as well as the balalaika. He is a protege of Yevgeny Grigorovich Blinov, the Soviet Union’s foremost balalaika virtuoso.

“The instrument of my choice was the balalaika because I like how it sounds,” Kruglyakov said. “No one around played. I heard it on radio and TV. There are six different sizes of balalaika. It’s a whole family. They are created to play in a Russian folk orchestra. I have three balalaikas.”

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