||MIKHAIL SMIRNOV / BARYNYA
Saturday, July 24: RUSSIA 4:00 p.m. – Storytelling
Born in Moscow, Mikhail Victorovich Smirnov has been in the business of Russian folk dance and music for more than 25 years.
He is artistic director/founder of the NYC-ensemble, Barynya; author of many articles about traditional Russian dance and music; and owner of Barynya Entertainment, the biggest Russian talent agency outside of Russia. Mikhail received his Master's degree from the Moscow State University of Culture and Arts.
As a child, he was a member of the famous "Moscow Boys Chorus," one of the most prestigious all-male choirs in Russia. While studying in Moscow, Mikhail traveled to many regions to collect Russian folklore at its source. On those expeditions, he recorded over 100 hours of Russian folk music and dances. He later incorporated much of this material into the repertoire of his ensemble, Barynya - the biggest Russian dance and music ensemble outside of Mother Russia. Mikhail is adept on many Russian folk instruments, including balalaika-contrabass, balalaika, and gusli. His favorite remains the garmoshka, the small button accordion used in Russian folk music and dancing.