Internationally-known Russian musical group plays at Midland Library … again!

While songs by Trio Voronezh haven’t made it to the pop music charts here, see why these professional musicians received ovation after ovation at their outer East Portland appearance. If you missed them – you’ve got another chance to see them, FOR FREE, on October 20 …

Playing their traditional instruments, the members of Trio Voronezh create lively arrangements of “world music”, including classical compositions and folk tunes.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Two kinds of audience members filled in nearly every seat in the large community room at Midland Library a few weeks ago: fans of Trio Voronezh and curious music lovers.

Before the three musicians picked up their instruments – a domra, a double base balalaika, and a bayan – they spoke with us about themselves and their music.

“We play ‘world music’,” Valerie Petrukhian told us. “We play classical and Russian folk music. We play because this music is our life, our soul. I hope you enjoy it.”

Petrukhian said the group took the name of town where they met, Voronezh. “It’s about 300 miles south of Moscow.”

‘World music’ played by global travelers
We learned Trio Voronezh started their career 1993 playing in small concert halls in Germany, France, and the Netherlands.

They made their U.S. debut three years later at the Oregon Bach Festival. They’ve played to a national audience on National Public Radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion”. Now, this talented trio plays as featured artists with orchestras across the United States.

Vladimir Volokhin passionately plays his domra.

The artists; their instruments
Vladimir Volokhin plays the domra, a three-stringed, long-necked mandolin used as a solo instrument in Russia since the sixteenth century. Having played since the age of six, Volokhin was the 1986 Russian National Champion of the “All Russia Domra Competition”.

Valerie Petrukhin plays his double-bass balalaika like a guitar, but it sounds like a plucked string bass.

Playing a large, triangular three-stringed instrument – he referred to it as the “Russian national instrument” – is Valerie Petrukhin on the double-bass balalaika. He started playing the accordion at age six, and the balalaika when he was nineteen. He also has studied the piano and trombone.

Playing his bajan with his fingers, arm – and chin – is Sergei Teleshev.

The third member is Sergei Teleshev. On his lap is his bajan, a chromatic-button accordion with various registers. Unlike Western-style accordions, Delechev changes registers by depressing levers on the bajan with his chin. He, too started his musical education when six years old.

Standing room only
Before he introduced the group to the awaiting crowd, Multnomah County Library program specialist Sergei Kozlov told us, “There are a lot of Slavic people here. We invited these special guests for them. I think you’ll like it.”

The room was about three-quarters filled as Trio Voronezh began their performance.

The spirited sounds of these expert musicians emanated from the room enchanting library patrons – previously unaware of the concert – like a tune played by the pied piper. By the end of their third song, every seat was filled; there was standing room only.

The daughter and wife of the domra virtuoso, Aloyoln and Oksana Volokhin, proudly show (and sell) one of the group’s CD albums.

See them October 20
See and hear Trio Voronezh when they return to Midland Library from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 20. Come early – this show will “sell out”!

You’ll enjoy classical, Russian, European and American music. This program is made possible through the support of The Library Foundation. Space at programs is limited. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Midland Library is located at 805 S.E. 122nd Ave., call (503) 988-5392 for more information.

And, if you miss this concert – one of the many free activities at your Midland Library – you can learn more about the group, or obtain one of their CD albums by visiting www.triovoronezh.com.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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