About the Sydney Balalaika Orchestra


Posted by bruce on March 31, 2014

Bruce Barker

Bruce Barker was born in Sydney, Australia where his ancestors arrived from Sweden in 1840.
He commenced his formal musical training at age aged 20 when he studied classical piano for two years although in prior years he played piano and guitar with many groups and sang at venues around Sydney.
His appreciation of music deepened when he joined a madrigal group and revelled in singing the 6 and 8 part harmonies of French, Italian and English madrigals. Around the same period he also became a reluctant choir master which taught him this position, whilst challenging was more about managing people than making music.
It was fortunate therefore that around 1980 he was invited to join a small Russian folk group who played at the Russian club, Strathfield. The leader was Victor Serghie, the orchestras current Musical Director, who pointed to a lonely contrabass balalaika and said, “Have a go at that “.
And so started a 36 year association that has lasted until the present day. He admits he still hasn’t mastered the contrabass balalaika which he calls a “brute” to play but which he would never give up. He has watched the orchestra grow and mature over time and is both proud and gratefull for the opportunity to be part of many performance tours of Russia, China and New Zealand.
As president of the orchestra he believes recruiting of new members and seeking new performance venues both local and overseas are core priorities . Equally important is to support and enliven the aims of the orchestra by developing and maintaining a mature and professional business infrastructure. He strongly believes that to achieve excelence, an ethos of professionalism needs to permeate all levels of the orchestra in its musical, commercial dealings and social activities.  .