Russian Duo for Schools

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.

We believe

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

A lively, engaging, virtuoso concert played on balalaika & piano, with singing too! Discover teamwork in action and experience how performers, conductors, and audiences work together. In this assembly program, the audience became an essential part of the concert using Russian percussion instruments and body percussion. The students became a cohesive orchestra with the balalaika and piano, by counting beats, following the conductor, and becoming sensitive to the qualities of the music.

Learn more about Russian Folk 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 American 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 postal 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 derivation and 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.

Learn more about Russian Folk Instruments


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. Songs, dances and stories can be included in a culminating theater piece and/or a performance with the Duo.

Topics can include, but are not limited to:

Pushkin - Alexander Sergevich Pushkin - Pushkin, whose grandfather was African, was considered to be the creator of modern Russian literature. Inspired composers used his poetry as lyrics for romances and opera. In this workshop, students learn about Paul Robeson, a renown African-American bass, who championed and identified with Pushkin’s life and art.

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 the burlaki (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

Letters of Recommendation from Schools