Performing Musician & Teaching Artist
Russian Song Ensemble
The Russian Song course at Case Western Reserve University is dedicated to the exploration and performance of vocal music from Russia and the former USSR. Russia comprises many ethnic groups and has a vast repertoire of folk music, dance, instruments, and singing styles. Students learn children’s songs, lullabies, village songs, art songs, “city” romances, Cossack songs, Georgian polyphony, music from Soviet film, and folk dances. Each song is placed in context, with an eye towards culture, symbolism, history, poetry/lyrics, and customs. We look at how classical composers use Russian folk music in their long forms and how Russian opera borrows from folk tales. Within the Soviet film genre are many beautiful songs written by highly respected composers. The study of Chastushki, an old Russian village phenomenon which continues to evolve, leads to students creating their own stylistically appropriate poetry and ostinato. Russian percussion and other instruments enhance the song and dance. Here are some culminating performances from previous classes.