Music in Landrum presents Alexander Tsygankov, Inna Shevchenko

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, October 19, 2016

On Sunday, Oct. 23, at 3 p.m., Music in Landrum will present Alexander Tsygankov, on the domra, and Inna Shevchenko, piano, in a free concert at the Landrum United Methodist Church, 227 N. Howard Ave. (Hwy. 176). The concert will feature musical pyrotechnics that will thrill your ears and make your eyes pop, including haunting melodies and rich harmonies characteristic of Russian music.

Alexander Tsygankov, the “People’s Artist of Russia” and winner of All-Russia music competitions, is widely known as “The Paganini of the domra” and is rivaled only by his students.

“What,” you might ask, “is a domra?” It is a traditional Russian folk instrument, somewhat similar to a Neapolitan mandolin, whose history is shrouded in legend and old wives’ tales. There is some historical evidence that the domra originated in Egypt or, at least, passed through on its way to the Mongols who brought domras with them when they invaded Russia in the 13th century.

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Eventually, the Russians drove the Mongols out with such ferocity that they threw down their domras as they fled! By the 16th century, the domra had become popular with wandering minstrels and peasants. The peasants found the instrument too cumbersome to carry around, so they cut off the bottom half of its round body and voila, the triangular balalaika was born.

Honored artist of Russia, Inna Shevchenko, a graduate of the prestigious Gnesin National Academy of Music in Moscow, has used her innate musicality and flawless technique to raise the art of accompanying to its highest level. She has also used her skills to help many young musicians by accompanying them during competitions. 

For the first time in its history, Music in Landrum has received a sponsorship for a free performance of virtuosi classical musicians. Tryon residents John and Elizabeth Gardner met this amazing duo in 1998 when the Gardners were members of the Washington Balalaika Society Orchestra. Tsygankov and Shevchenko performed as guest soloists.

“Over the years we have interacted with the Tsgankovs when they visited Washington and at conventions of the Balalaika and Domra Association of America (BDAA). We have attended many of their concerts and they have been guests in our home,” said Elizabeth Gardner. “Last January I noticed in the BDAA newsletter that the Tsygankovs would be performing in Atlanta on Oct. 22, and thought, ‘Why not invite them to come here?”

This will be their last performance before flying back home to Moscow on Monday.

The Oct. 23 performance is free and open to the public. No tickets are required, and parking and access are easy. Performance time is 50 minutes, without intermission. CDs are available for sale after the performance.

– article submitted by Music in Landrum