Back in 1980 the nucleus of this 'orchestra' was four musicians led by Victor Serghie ,all with a mutual passion to play Russian folk music. Encouraged over time by enthusiastic new players and audience response, particularly from Australians, the group was formally Incorporated in 1990 as a not for profit Association and has since been growing in membership and setting increasingly ambitious goals in performance standards, repertoire and reaching out to larger and more distance audiences. They are fortunate in having among their current 28 members many gifted and dedicated players and singers. The orchestra continues to be led by by their Musical Director, Victor Serghie who is also the principal arranger.
Victor is a gifted and inspirational musician, originally a violinist and saxophonist who constantly seeks to raise the standard of musicianship. His authentic arrangements of the Russian folk genre, scored for original instruments, are exciting and challenging to play. The instruments which are typical of a Russian folk orchestra are the domra family (prima, tenor, alto and bass), balalaika (bass and contra bass), bayan (a button accordion), accordion, cimbalom which is a stringed instrument from the dulcimer family, flute, clarinet and piccolo as well as guitars and percussion (glockenspiel, auto harp, etc).
Since 2005 the orchestra has by invitation of the Russian government, twice toured Far East Russia, Moscow and St. Petersburg as well as New Zealand and China twice. The most recent tour was to Siberia and far East Rusia in 2016. With no grant monies available from State or Federal agencies in Australia, all of the tours have been funded from the orchestras own financial resources and member contributions.
The orchestra has also produced five CDs the most recent recorded at Sydney's Studio301 which is huge favourite with our audiences.
They see the biggest challenges facing the orchestra today are finding ways to finance tours to reach a wider public and to attract new and committed members. It is encouraging that the Russian press describes the orchestra as ‘the best Russian Folk orchestra outside Russia’. This accolade coming from the home of Russian folk music encourages the members to innovate and improve on the high professional standard the orchestra has already achieved.