Russian Duo

School Concert/Residency/Outreach

     "As a Middle School, we often worry about bringing in new performers since we aren't sure how they will be able to relate to our adolescent audience. Terry and Oleg, however, demonstrated not only a mastery in musical collaboration, but also in their ability to connect with our fifth through eighth grade students. Utilizing musical genius with a folky coziness, they won over our crowd with individual and whole audience participation punctuated with humor and valuable lessons on how to work together. The Russian Duo is a must for schools wishing to broaden their students exposure to different cultures, the benefits of the arts, and teamwork!"

Casey Schnieber, 6th Grade Science and Team Leader, MS Dean of Students,
Cincinnati Country Day School.


     As our world becomes more global, we believe it is vital to demonstrate the importance of international collaboration on a cultural level to our younger generation.  Russian Duo is available for educational concerts, workshops and residencies. Terry is a Teaching Artist with the Ohio Arts Council and spent several decades on the roster of the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning.  She is a licensed Dalcroze Eurhythmics teacher, has certification in Orff Schulwerk, and was trained by the Kennedy Center for the Arts "Artists as Educators" program.  Oleg has toured in 45 of the United States and has taught workshops in conjunction with his concerts.  All our programs are aligned with the Common Core Curriculum and state standards.

"Cross-Cultural Collaboration" Performance

     Discover teamwork in action. Experience how performers, composers and audiences work together. Oleg Kruglyakov, balalaika virtuoso, and Terry Boyarsky, masterful pianist, offer an introduction to Russian folk music through the balalaika, a traditional Russian 3-stringed instrument. Students will be captivated by exuberant music, energized by dynamic rhythms, moved by beautiful melodies. Learn how the balalaika came onto the concert stage from humble peasant origins in Old Russia. The audience becomes an essential part of the concert, challenged by inquiry-based predicaments and collaborating on stage using Russian percussion instruments.

"Troika" Workshop   

Designed for grades K-8. Study guides available upon request.

     There is nothing more quintessentially Russian than the three-horse-drawn carriage known as the troika. Students learn the folk dance "Troika" with ethnomusicologist Terry, and perform it to balalaika music played by Siberian-born Oleg. Students will understand the era in Russia when troikas were used in a sophisticated mail relay system and contrast it to today′s communication systems. A brief power point underscores the imperative of teamwork in the troika, and demonstrates the derivations symbolism of our dance. While dancing and accompanying each other with Russian percussion instruments and lots of bells, students also learn about counting beats, form/structure, and patterns.


     Oleg and Terry create a residency in tandem with your class curriculum and interests, aligning to Language Arts, Social Studies, Math and Music standards. We teach Russian folk dances, beloved folk songs, tell Skazi (folk tales), discuss historical, cultural, and musical significance. We bring Russian percussion instruments to play - treshyotka, lozhky, buben, korobochka, jaleika and birch bark whistle. Songs, dances and stories can be included in a culminating performance with the Duo.

Topics can include, but are not limited to:

  Chastushki - Chastushki are the traditional Russian form of jamming and joking in rhymed couplets - a democratic form of art where a crowd gathers to encourage the spontaneous creativity of the participants. We will re-enact the process, creating our own verses, improvising dance movements and performing to balalaika accompaniment and Orff instruments (if available).

  Kalinka (The Viburnum Tree) - a beloved Russian folk song helps teach music and mathematics. In learning "Kalinka" students understand measure, form, structure, pattern, and timing. Musical concepts of steady beat, meter, accelerando, fermata, ostinato and melodic line are enhanced with body percussion.

  Haul Away!  - Comparison of the River System in Russia and Canal System in Upstate New York.   Students learn the famous song "Volga Boatmen" (a new translation by the Russian Duo), understand the symbolism of the words, the historical context, and study a famous painting of theburlaki (Volga boatmen).  We compare this phenomenon to how boats were hauled on the Erie Canal, look at paintings of, and sing the "Erie Canal."

  Korobushka - the Peddler   - With stories about the door-to-door salesman pulling fabric and haberdashery out of his little basket to sell to the villagers, this charming folk song and dance teaches children about the lifestyles of Old Russia and early America.

Video of School performances

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