Organized in two series, Series 1: Administrative Records and Sheet Music, 1970-1996 and Series 2: Audiovisual Recordings, 1980-1995.Ã?Â Both are arranged by type of materials and then chronologically.
The University of Illinois Russian Folk Orchestra (UI RFO) was founded in 1974 by John Garvey, who first came to the U of I in 1948 as an artist-in-residence with the Walden String Quartet. He went on to found the first jazz bands within the School of Music, and became acquainted with Russian folk music after taking the U of I Jazz Band on 6-week tour of the Soviet Union as part of the U.S.-U.S.S.R. Cultural Exchange Program in 1969.
Garvey returned to Russia in 1970 to study Russian folk music and the balalaika with members of Moscow's Osipov State Russian Folk Orchestra. Garvey established the first model for teaching Russian folk music in an American university setting by bringing Russian musicians to lead workshops and perform. This inspired other programs like the Russian Folk Orchestra at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The UI RFO gave over 108 performances around the United States between 1974 and 1984. In 1984, musician Victor Gorodinsky, a graduate of Moscow's Gnessin Institute, joined the RFO as assistant director while working on a master's degree in library science. He became the full-time conductor in 1991 after the retirement of Professor Garvey. Under Gorodinsky's direction, the RFO increased its repertory to include modern compositions, (including some of Gorodinsky's own works), and transcriptions of Russian classical works. Gorodinsky left the RFO in 1995 to pursue a career in librarianship.
Description: Consists of administrative records, concert programs, calendar of events, and audio-visual recordings documenting the management of the University of Illinois Russian Folk Orchestra between 1970 and 1997. In addition the collection also includes general historical information about Russian orchestras and the instruments and music used by these ensembles.