Svetlana Nikonova, prima domra, is the leader of the Beltway Balalaikas. She is now in her seventh season as WBS Conductor and Artistic Director. She is an honors graduate of the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she studied musical composition and conducting as well as performance. Her work with the orchestra since 2003 has resulted in significantly improved performance standards, and the WBS Orchestra is now regarded as the finest of its genre in the United States. She and her family have recently qualified as permanent U.S. residents and make their home in Burke, Virginia. Ms. Nikonova also teaches domra and piano, and is the principal instructor of the WBS Music Academy.