Chamber Orchestra of Folk Instruments “Skomorokhi”
of the Saint-Petersburg State Institute of Culture.
(from 1969 until 2005 – “Skomorokhi” Group)
Artistic Director and Conductor Viktor Akulovich
“Skomorokhi” Group is a winner of Grand Prix of the European Music Festival in Belgium (1995), diploma winner of international folk festivals in Spain (1990, 1991), Greece (1992), Slovenia (1993), Denmark (1996), diploma winner of the XII World Festival of Youth and Students in Moscow (1985), winner of the award of the Leningrad Communist Youth League (1984).
“Skomorokhi” Group was established in the Leningrad Institute of Culture in 1969. The Group’s repertoire is based on original compositions written for folk instruments and transcriptions of music of different genres and styles. Instrumental music performances of “Skomorokhi” Group written on the basis of the Russian folk music, original and masterful, designed as music pictures with the use of staging elements were a great success among listeners of 20 countries of Europe, Asia and Africa, including Italy and South Korea, India and Norway, Finland and Algeria, France and Spain, Portugal and the Azores, Greece and Belgium, Holland and Japan, England and Germany, Denmark and Poland, Bulgaria and Slovenia, etc. During this period “Skomorokhi” had some 250 performances only in France.
The concert geography of “Skomorokhi” in Russia for almost five decades extends from the Far East and Siberia to Kaliningrad. Hundreds of “Skomorokhi” concerts in Saint-Petersburg took place on the most prestigious concert venues: Grand and Small Philharmonic Halls, Academic Glinka Capella, Grand Concert Hall Oktyabrsky, monument palaces of Saint-Petersburg. “Skomorokhi” participated in prestigious music festivals.
Among achievements of the last decades was creation by “Skomorokhi” Orchestra of the original full-length
concert programs from compositions of D. Shostakovich, M. Balakirev, G. Sviridov and S. Slonimskiy.
Many successful concerts were given, which included performance of compositions of famous St. Petersburg composers
V. Gavrilin, A. Petrov, I. Shvarts, V. Bibergan. The audience demonstrated great interest in concert programs prepared from songs and romances based on poems of the Russian poets Nikolay Rubtsov, Sergey Esenin, Alexander Blok with participation of the famous baritone Sergey Zykov and St. Petersburg principal performers. In 2001 “Skomorokhi” together with actors of the St. Petersburg State Child Music Theater “Zazerkalye” recorded the first Russian opera by M. Sokolovskiy (E. Fomin) “The miller who was a wizard, a cheat and a matchmaker” on the St. Petersburg radio.
“Skomorokhi” Group is special due to its cooperation with highly professional leading singers and masterful instrumentalists representing the best performance force of the national and instrumental genre in Russia. Up to 2005 “Skomorokhi” Group included a dance group, which participated in many concert tours to different countries. The choreographic program consisting of folk and concert acts was based on the material of the Russian North and Central Russia.
The number of instrumental players was expanded for new concert projects and starting from 2006 the Group has also performed under the name of the Chamber Orchestra of Folk Instruments “Skomorokhi” of the Saint-Petersburg State Institute of Culture. During almost fifty years some three hundred students became part of the Group and passed through a highly professional school of the group performance excellence.
In 2004 a book by Yu.G. Yastrebov “Viktor Akulovich and his “Skomorokhi”” was published and dedicated to the Group’s creative work.
The range of the artistic work of “Skomorokhi” Group includes dozens of radio and TV programs, music records for movies, 5 CD albums, 10 concert programs on DVD, released in Germany, Great Britain, and Russia. The founder and permanent director of “Skomorokhi”, Honored Artist of Russia, Professor Viktor IlyichAkulovich has been actively doing this work together with his Group and principal performers for almost half a century – since their first practice in 1969 until present.
Small hall of the Philharmonic. D. D. Shostakovich, St. Petersburg, 2003.
In the front row: Andrey Gorbachev (balalaika), Yuri Shishkin (accordion), Viktor Akulovich, Konstantin Shakhanov (gusli zvonchaty).
Concert hall A. K. Glazunov St. Petersburg state Conservatory, 2007. Concert "Balakirev known and unknown", soloist Nicholas Walker Professor of the Royal Academy of music (piano).
Japan, 2015. Soloists: Konstantin Shakhanov (gusli zvonchaty), Andrey Gorbachev (balalaika), Olesia Petrova (mezzo-soprano).
Our new CDs!
Skomorokhi: Music of the 20th Century. Skomorokhi Folk Group, St.
Conductor Victor Akulovich
Soloists: Yury Shishkin (accordion), Andrey Gorbachev
(balalaika), Konstantin Shakhanov (gusli alt), Tatiana Potemkina (domra), Maria Maresh (spoons)
Russian music pictures. Skomorokhi Folk Group, St. Petersburg, Russia
Valentine Osipov virtuoso - soloist, performer on
concertina and xylophone
Valentine Osipov was born in the year 1930, in the family of circus artists, in
Tashkent. His artistic life lasts more then half a century. From the age of 6 he began to do his first steps on the
stage, playing on some eccentric instruments, in due course he mastered such instruments like concertina, accordion and
xylophone. After that Valentine Osipov finished specialized music school in Frunze and became a professional performer.
Valentine Osipov is now the soloist of many concert organizations in Moscow and Sank-Petersburg, he
constantly leads a concert activity, takes part in the best performances of different ensembles of Russia. Also he is a
welcome guest abroad.
Nowadays Valentine Osipov is the most popular performer in play on english
concertina and xylophone. He is a diplomant of many competitions between variety artists.
year 1992 Valentine Osipov is in cultural cooperation with the Song and Dance Company "Skomorokhi". He was on tour with
the folk group in Germany, France, Denmark.
Konstantin Shakhanov psaltery - player
Konstantin Shakhanov was born in 1964 in Arkhangelsk - city. He
graduated music college, then in 1995 - psaltery class of St. Petersburg conservatory. Since 1983 he cooperates with
consert organizations of different Russian cities and towns and with professional folk orchestras.
Konstantin Shakhanov is one of the most promising psaltery - players in Russia. He's the author of two concerts and
fantasia for psaltery.
He wrote several brilliant pieces for Russian folk instruments, for example,
"jaleika", reed, horn, "kuvickly", spoons. These musical pieces are usually performed by "Skomorokhi" company and many
other folk orhestras.
Since 1991 Konstantin Shakhanov cooperates with 'Skomorokhi" company and gives
concerts all over Russia. As a soloist of the company he was on tour in Germany, France and Denmark.
At present time he leads a psaltery class at St. Petersburg conservatory and St. Petersburg Academy of Culture.
Olesya Petrova (mezzo-soprano)
Sergei Zykov (baritone)