Harmonia - Music
from THE HEART OF Europe
Harmonia's music is intense, driving, lyrical roots music from Eastern Europe, with a repertoire drawing on Gypsy, Hungarian, Romanian, Croatian, Ukrainian, Slovak and Carpatho-Rusyn traditions.
Harmonia presents the traditional folk music of eastern Europe, ranging from the Danube to the Carpathians. Its repertoire reflects the cultures of this region: Hungarian, Slovak, Ukrainian, Romanian, Croatian and Gypsy. Performing on authentic folk instruments, and styled after turn of the century East-European Gypsy bands, their music is drawn from both the urban and rural traditions of Eastern-Europe. The ensemble’s performances evoke the full range of human emotions; interspersing fiery, passionate virtuosity with soulful melancholy and nostalgic yearning. They have been called “obscenely talented” by the Folklore society of Washington D.C. and “a musical gem” by National Public Radio. The musicians come from varied East-European backgrounds; in Harmonia they have found a common musical language. Harmonia brings to the concert stage the vitality and excitement of ethnic weddings, celebrations, and smoky cafés that inspired composers such as Bartok, Brahms and Lizst. Whether performing in these traditional settings or in concert halls, Harmonia’s members stay close to their roots.
The six-piece ensemble uses instruments as varied as accordion, upright bass, violin, panflute, and cimbalom (the East-European 125 string hammered dulcimer). Capturing the emotion, depth, fire and passion of Eastern Europe; Harmonia’s rhythms move in a heartbeat from mellow and dissonant to loud and frenzied. The musicians come from varied East-European backgrounds, finding a common musical language in Harmonia. Their technical brilliance only adds to Harmonia’s breathtaking performances – dizzying cimbalom solos coupled with soaring violin lines, haunting flute and accordion solos and soulful vocals – are a joy by any standard. In addition to being polished performers, Harmonia’s members are adept at explaining their music and culture – the ensemble is equally at home on the concert stage and in academic or workshop settings.
“Brilliant. Lush. Dazzling. Soulful.” raved SingOut! Magazine.
Harmonia offers several residencies / workshops, depending on the audience, level of musicianship, and length of the workshop / residency.
1. "Hands on" folk orchestra workshop
Target audience: Musicians / Music students (instrumental or vocal)
Level: Intermediate to advanced.
This is a group workshop with musicians in which Harmonia teches them to play one or more tunes and put together a band playing our Eastern European music. We work both in sections and as a group. Appropriate instrumentalists would include: violin, viola, bass and cello; flute, recorder and clarinet, soprano sax, accordion, hammered dulcimer or cimbalom as well as percussionists. MORE INFO
2. Lecture / Demonstration of East European Instruments
Target audience: General (level of detail can vary depending on audience)
Harmonia members talk about and demonstrate a variety of East European instruments that we use – 7 different types of folk flutes, cimbalom, tilinca, tarogot, sopilka, etc. Beata discusses, demonstrates and contrasts various types of vocal styles from Eastern Europe as part of this. If appropriate (for Ethnomusicology or acoustics students), we can be very detailed about the techniques and construction of the instruments. MORE INFO
3. General Lecture-Demonstration Workshop on East European Music.
Target audience: General audiences to advanced university
Level: Beginning to advanced
Harmonia members discuss East European music, instruments, and culture; they will also demonstrate various styles and types of music. The main topics include:
• Locations of the countries and their cultural/political connections
• Instrument construction and performance techniques
• Performance experiences in Eastern European countries, with musical selections from each country. MORE INFO
4. School Workshop on East European Music
Target audience: Elementary, Middle School and Highschool students
Level: Beginning – Intermediate
Harmonia presents an interactive concert: discuss East European geopgraphy, music, instruments, and culture; they also demonstrate various styles and types of music. The program can be tailored to coordinate with social studies units, history units or multi-cultural fairs. It can also be tailored to students participating in instrumental and vocal music programs. Folk flute demonstrations are particularly interesting to schools with elementary recorder/song flute programs. Program is interactive: students participate in singing and dance. MORE INFO
HARMONIA "MUSIC OF EASTERN EUROPE" WORKSHOPS
The chain of events triggered by the fall of the Berlin Wall produced a new wave of immigrants from Eastern Europe in the 1990’s. Accomplished traditional musicians also joined this migration. These newcomers renewed the links to the wellsprings of the tradition, breathing new life into an already rich culture, and ensuring that the music and dance would continue for generations to come.
Harmonia is part of this tradition, and has long savored our connections to the overlooked pleasures and celebrations of immigrant and heritage communities in the U.S. uniting the old and new immigrations, Harmonia brings this world to the stage.
“a musical gem”
National Public Radio
Drive down the right street in a metropolis like Cleveland, Pittsburgh or Chicago and you’re likely to miss it. But stop in front of a simple hall or church, suddenly you’re in another, unexpectedly rich world, a party that transports you to a village in rural Ukraine, a café in Croatia, or a black-tie ball in 1930’s Budapest.
Two generations of musicians celebrated for their performances of the music of their Eastern European homelands join forces to explore the shared musical roots of the culturally rich territories east of the Danube, from Hungary and Romania to Croatia, Slovakia and western Ukraine.Notes include song histories and translations
Washington, DC Folklore Society
“Brilliant. Lush. Dazzling. Soulful.”
The cimbalom of Central and Eastern Europe, a large hammered dulcimer that demands extraordinary technical skill, is both a virtuosic solo concert instrument and source of the harmonic density and glistening color effects characteristic of Gypsy ensembles and village dances in lands around the Carpathian mountains. Alexander Fedoriouk, one of Ukraine’s greatest cimbalom players, is featured here performing fiery dances and delicate showpieces from Romania, Hungary and western Ukraine with an ensemble of top Eastern European instrumentalists.
“Pure quality from a cimbalom supremo-prepare to be hammered”