The Washington Balalaika Society was founded in 1988 by a group of Washington-area musicians interested in studying and performing the music of Russia, Ukraine and eastern Europe on traditional Russian folk instruments: the balalaika, domra, bayan, and related folk wind and percussion instruments. The Society's initial membership of eight has grown to more than sixty, and the WBS Orchestra is now America's largest with musicians at all levels from beginner to professional, from teens to 90s in age.
The Society's performing elements include the WBS Orchestra and Folk Ensembles, and there are activities for non-playing members as well.
Membership in the WBS is open to anyone, musician or not, who shares an interest in this distinctive music and rich culture. Membership in the Society's folk orchestra is open to musicians or aspiring musicians who are able to read music and have some background in playing an instrument, though not necessarily a Russian folk instrument. The WBS is a community-based, 501(c)(3) cultural and educational organization. Rehearsals are held on Wednesday evenings from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., and on many Saturday mornings from 10:00 a.m. until noon.
The Washington Balalaika Society is now the largest orchestra of Russian folk instruments in North America and endeavors to pattern its sound and repertoire after the great orchestras of Russia while at the same time continuing to explore new kinds of music and new musical possibilities for this fascinating family of instruments.
More information about the Washington Balalaika Society and its concert schedule can be found at www.balalaika.org.