About the Russian Music Ensemble
Founded in 2014 by ethnomusicologist Jonathan Johnston, the William & Mary Russian Music Ensemble (RME) is the latest to emerge out of the College’s diverse array of musical groups.
As the group continues to evolve, they look forward to expanding our diverse repertoire which includes Russian, Ukrainian, Serbo-Croatian, Polish, Bulgarian, and Jewish songs. Despite its youth, the Ensemble has already collaborated with prestigious musicians and organizations, from the Washington Balalaika Society to the Balalaika and Domra Association of America, whose annual convention members attended last summer.
They have had the honor of having guests artists like Tetiana Khomenko (balalaika, Kyiv), Vitali Lyman (piano, Kyiv), Angelina Galashenkova (domra, Atlanta, originally from St. Petersburg, Russia), and John Huston (classical guitar, Atlanta). The genius of the Moscow duo of Alexander Tsygankov (domra) and Inna Shevchenko (piano) have also graced W&M as the RME's special guests. I
n addition, the Ensemble has performed at local venues and events. At the 2017 William & Mary Global Film Festival, it helped present Chad Gracia’s Ukrainian documentary The Russian Woodpecker. We have also performed at the Williamsburg Public Library Theatre, and the Foreign Language Association of Virginia (FLAVA) convention at the Williamsburg Hilton Double Tree Hotel.
The Ensemble prides itself on educating audiences of all ages about the rich and varied culture of Eastern Europe. In February 2017, members performed at the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School to encourage students to pursue Slavic studies in their undergraduate careers.