Active maintenance of these web resources ceased in 2012 and they will not be updated. They are posted for archival purposes only.

Topic Title: MEMBER NEWS FEATURE: Dmitri Nassyrov
Topic Summary: Dmitri Nassyrov’s Noteworthy Achievements with the Balalaika
Created On: 6/23/2010 10:58 AM

 6/23/2010 10:58 AM

Maureen Byko

Posts: 41
Joined: 2/19/2007

Sweet and wistful, the strains of the balalaika in Dmitri Nassyrov’s hands tell tales of snowy evenings and lost love in the Russian countryside. This is what most people have come to expect from this traditional folk instrument, Nassyrov notes, which is why he delights in “showing the possibilities of the balalaika” to his audiences. His fingers flying over the frets, his left hand a blur across the strings, Nassyrov performs anything from a sassy, jazz-tinged number by George Gershwin, to a driving Astor Piazzolla tango, to the delicate “Vocalise” by Sergei Rachmaninoff.
When his listeners express amazement at the versatility of the triangular, three-stringed instrument, Nassyrov says he likes to quote the innovative banjo player, Béla Fleck, who once observed, “All jazz players play the same notes. I just have to find these notes on my banjo.”
A rising senior in materials engineering at McGill University in Montréal and a 2010 TMS Light Metals Division Scholarship winner, Nassyrov began playing the balalaika as a first grader in his native Russia as part of a school music program. “On the first day of classes, our music teacher gave all the girls a domra (an instrument similar to the balalaika with a round body) and all the boys got a balalaika,” he recalled. “I wasn’t given much of a choice.”
Although his introduction to the instrument was somewhat arbitrary, Nassyrov found that he really enjoyed playing and took formal balalaika lessons until his family moved to Montréal. Unlike in Russia, where the balalaika is widely beloved, Nassyrov discovered that “balalaika players were nowhere to be found” in Canada and was compelled to work on his own to improve his skills and technique. His efforts did not go unnoticed. “Russian concert organizers somehow quickly found out that there was a ‘cute little boy playing the balalaika who absolutely has to perform in that upcoming festival,’” said Nassyrov.
As Nassyrov became more in demand on the festival circuit, his parents approached Victoria Khramova, an accomplished pianist, to play accompaniment for their son’s performances.

Read more about Nassyrov's musical accomplishments in the July issue of JOM.

IMG_9409.JPG IMG_9409.JPG  1871406 KB

IMG_7764.JPG IMG_7764.JPG  449118 KB

IMG_6798.JPG IMG_6798.JPG  3036900 KB

5500 Corporate Drive Suite 750, Pittsburgh, PA 15237 USA (directions)
Telephone 800-759-4867 (U.S. and Canada)
724-776-9000 (elsewhere)
Fax 724-776-3770 ·Email