Born out of their love for Russian Folk music, the Atlanta Balalaika Society Orchestra started in 1981. They are regarded as one of the most authentic orchestras of Russian folk instruments outside of Russia.
The orchestra’s music director and conductor, David C. Cooper has been leading the group for 35 years. He learned how to play various Russian instruments at the Glier Institute of Kiev, located in Ukraine. He can play all the instruments in the Russian folk orchestra and has also taught several workshops at Russian conventions throughout the United States. Cooper’s family also owns theCooper Piano Music Store. The infamous “piano in the sky” hangs on the sign outside of the superstore.
The store was founded in 1906, and has been passed down four generations.
For those unfamiliar, the balalaika is a triangular instrument with three strings and it can come in all sizes and and play several different octaves. The orchestra also plays traditional instruments such as the domra, (a mandolin-like instrument) the gusli, the bayan (a button accordian), and the zhaleika. Singers and dancers frequently join the orchestra for their concerts all over Atlanta.