About Us

Since 1990 Harmonia Presents the Traditional Folk & Gypsy Music of Eastern Europe, ranging from the Danube to the Carpathians for the audience throughout North America...

Walt Mahovlich - accordion

Walt got his start as a teenager playing Croatian and Macedonian weddings with traditional village musicians. He founded Harmonia in 1990. He’s played frequent concert tours of Europe and throughout North America. A featured artist at the Smithsonian’s 1976 Festival of American Folklife, he’s performed at Smotra Foklora in Zagreb, as well as in Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and Kennedy Center. He made his off-Broadway debut in Tony Kushner’s A Dybbuk, performing at New York’s Public Theater. Walt appears on many recordings of East European and Klezmer music. He’s performed with numerous East European and Middle Eastern musical groups and projects. In addition to Harmonia, he currently plays clarinet and sax with TurliTava, performing music of Macedonia and the central Balkans.
Walt studied ethnomusicology at Sarajevo and produced the UNESCO award winning album, Nova Domovina: Balkan Slavic Music from the Industrial Midwest. He worked as a folk music fieldworker and presenter for both the Smithsonian and the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA). Walt also currently curates the INSIDE World Music concert series in Cleveland, Ohio.

Alexander Fedoriouk - cimbalom

Alexander Fedoriouk began playing the cimbalom at the age of 7 in Kolomyja, Ukraine. While still in his teens he played weddings in mountain villages in Ukraine and Moldavia. He studied music at the Kolomyia Music School, Chernivtsy Musical College and the Kiev State Conservatory and received awards at the Ukrainian national competition on folk instruments. He has performed as a soloist with The Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Cleveland Orchestra. He has performed for film scores both in the United States and Ukraine. Appearing on numerous recordings, Alexander was featured on jazz flutist Herbie Mann’s final album, as well as with avant-garde composer and cellist Erik Friedlander, Nigel Pulsford of Bush and has performed in Carnegie hall with John Cale of the Velvet Underground.

Beata Begeniova - vocals

Born in Eastern Slovakia, Beata Begeniova grew up surrounded by Slovak and Rusyn folk songs sung by her family. She attended the music school in Prešov and received her music degree from J. P. Safarik University in Slovakia. While still a student, she was featured as a soloist on many recordings and radio broadcasts and received numerous awards in folk song competitions. A featured soloist with the professional Rusyn ensemble Dukla in Prešov, she toured Europe and North America with Šarišan.

Jozef Janiš - violin

Jozef Janiš learned to play traditional music in his native Slovakia. He is at home in a wide variety of traditional styles including Slovak, Hungarian Gypsy, Polish and Transylvanian. While in Slovakia in addition to leading his own Slovak folk band, he also spent six years playing with a traditional Hungarian Gypsy band. Jozef toured throughout Europe with the Slovak Army Ensemble, Janošik, and came to the U.S. in 2002 as a member of the Duquesne University Tamburitzans. In the United States he established his own Slovak folk band and now plays frequently with Harmonia.

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.

Steven Greenman - violin

Steven Greenman is a seasoned performer of Hungarian, Slovak, Romanian and a wide range of other East European music as well as an internationally known performer of Klezmer music. Steven has performed for Hungarian and other East European communities in the United States since 1990. Steven has frequently collaborated with fellow Clevelanders Alexander Fedoriouk and Walt Mahovlich on East European and Klezmer musical projects. He has been a frequent soloist with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra in performances of his orchestral arrangements of East European Gypsy music. A participant in many classical music festivals, Steven received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music Degrees at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Steven leads the ensemble Khevrisa and also performed with such groups as Budowitz, the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, and the Klezmatics. An accomplished teacher of traditional East European Klezmer violin, Steven has served on the faculty of KlezKamp-the annual Yiddish Folk Arts Program and KlezKanada. Steven is featured on numerous recordings including Khevrisa European Klezmer Music on Smithsonian Folkways and Stempenyu’s Dream a double CD recording of Steven’s own compositions which was introduced in at the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow, Poland.

Branislav Brinarsky - bass

Branislav “Brano” Brinarsky began his musical studies at age six in his home town of Secovce in Zemplin County in Eastern Slovakia. While at the University in Košice, he began performing with the Jahodna folk ensemble playing bass, gajdice, dvojacka and singing. During his five years with Jahodna, he toured throughout Slovakia, Europe and Asia. After receiving his degree at Kosice he moved to the United States in 1998 where he immediately founded the Slovak Folk Band Pajtaši which he currently leads. Pajtaši has performed throughout the East Coast for numerous Slovak cultural events and also provides music for Slovak Folk Ensemble Limbora. Recently, Brano has branched out collaborating with other East European bands in the tri-state area. In addition to his folk music endeavors, he also performs with the Bensen-Scott and Jump Start big bands in the New York City area.

Catalin Petrescu - bass

Catalin was born in Busteni Romania. He began his musical studies on cello at the age of nine at the specialized music school in Brasov Romania. While in school he started performing with folk ensembles throughout Romania and Hungary. After graduating joined Brasov Opera House Orchestra. Performing and traveling every weekend gave Catalin a chance to seriously hone his skills and learn a wide range of folk and classical repertoire. In 1990, as the old regime in Romania was crumbling, Catalin came to the United States where he has continued his performing career to much acclaim. He recorded bass on several CDs and toured the United States and Canada with the acclaimed folk ensemble Transylvania. Catalin is a regular bass player for the Akron and Canton symphony.

SingOut! Magazine says, “Brilliant. Lush. Dazzling. Soulful. All true, but still insufficient to evoke the passion and exhilaration, the melancholy and triumph that a Harmonia performance evokes”.
The Folklore Society of Washington D.C describes the band as
“…Obscenely Talented”
and National Public Radio dubbed them as
“…A Musical Gem.”

What are the critics saying about Harmonia...

“Harmonia, a crack ensemble devoted to Eastern European folk music. [their performance] helped focus the ears anew on the piquant scales and vigorous rhythms that Bartok incorporated into his Concerto for Orchestra.”

Tim Smit
The Baltimore Sun, October 3, 2009

“Harmonia spurred toe tapping and hand clapping for more than an hour. Harmonia’s virtuosic musicians spun through music ranging from the pastoral setting of a lonesome shepherd’s flute tune to the rhythmic evocation of a rustic circle dance. Fedoriouk hammered his trapezoidal cimbalom with impressive velocity… Andrei Pidkivka breezed through fast passages on a number of ethnic flutes, but he was most winning playing plaintive melodies on the nai, or pan flute, and the tylynka, a long, slender shepherd’s flute with no finger holes. Beata Begeniova sang with much spirit and spunk. Her cinnamon-flecked alto was as frolicsome in the Gypsy songs on the program as it was poignant in a traditional wedding song from eastern Slovakia. Walt Mahovlich, who founded the ensemble in 1992, played his accordion sensitively and kept the audience well informed about the program’s music.”

Geace Jean
The Washington Post, June 17, 2005

“effortless virtuosity…breathtaking”

Dirty Linen

“Pure quality from a cimbalom supremo–prepare to be hammered”


“Cleveland’s Best Ethnic Band: Harmonia The spirited group led by accordionist Walt Mahovlich specializes in lusty arrangements of East European roots music.”

Harvey Pekar
Cleveland Splendor: The Plain Dealer’s Guide to Northeast Ohio’s Best

A testimonial – “…I’m not usually one to gush, but I first heard Harmonia last June at a festival in New York. I’ve listened to a lot of great Eastern European music (my specialty), but I was not prepared for the music I heard from Harmonia…” Obscenely talented’ is the best description I can come up with. As jaded as I am from hearing a lot of this stuff, Harmonia made my mouth open speechlessly, and my eyes stare trying to comprehend how the music I was hearing could possibly be produced by mere mortals.”

Charlie Baum
Folklore Society of Greater Washington

“Brilliant. Lush. Dazzling. Soulful. All true, but still insufficient to evoke the passion and exhilaration, the melancholy and triumph, that a Harmonia performance evokes. Each individual musician is stunningly virtuosic; together, they weave such a complex layer of richly textured sound that the only thing one can liken it to is the finest of traditional oriental rugs.”

Judy Barlas
SingOut! Magazine

“….I can’t express enough my appreciation of Fedoriouk’s remarkable and truly unusual talent – a talent that is very difficult to find here in the United States. His mastery of his instrument, the cimbalom, is most refined….”

Herbie Mann
May 2000

”…Harmonia is a select group of American and Eastern European musicians who blend Hungarian, Ukrainian, Romanian, and Croatian influences. The seven-piece ensemble uses instruments as varied as accordion, upright bass, violin, cimbalom, taragot, and pan flute. Its rhythms move in a heartbeat from mellow and dissonant to loud and frenzied. Imagine the energy of the Pogues, only with a female singer and no drummer. Beata Begeniova, from eastern Slovakia, has a voice as beautiful as her smile. A joy by any standard.”

Jason Bracelin
Cleveland Scene

“…. they kicked things off with a short but impressive set of Romanian Gypsy music … allowing [the] sweetly passionate violin to soar. Mahovlich wailed on clarinet … Things really got cooking when Fedoriouk took hammers to cimbalom. His fiery playing was jaw-droppingly fast, evoking gasps from the audience.”

Peggy J. Latkovich
The Cleveland Free Times

CD Review of Harmonia: Music of Eastern Europe (Traditional Crossroads) “Harmonia has been dazzling audiences in Cleveland and around the world for years with high-energy performances. They capture that spirit on Music of Eastern Europe, a collection of traditional and contemporary songs and dance music from Bulgaria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Hungary and all points in between. Anyone who’s seen the band live knows of the virtuosity of cimbalom player Alexander Fedoriouk and flutist Andrei Pidkivka. The addition of vocalist Beata Begeniova in recent years has taken the sound to a new level. Her confident voice has power and spaciousness that brings the mountains of Eastern Europe to the shores of Lake Erie. She gets to show her versatility on the medley of Gypsy songs that closes out the disc, exploring her lower range and working passionately phrased lines between Fedoriouk’s rolling arpeggios and the violin’s impeccable trills. Combining the spotless technique of classical music with Gypsy passion, Harmonia is one of Cleveland’s treasures.” Selected as one of the top ten albums of 2003

Peggy J. Latkovich
The Cleveland Free Times

CD Review of Cimbalom Traditions
“Ukrainian cimbalom master Alexander Fedoriouk is the featured soloist on the album of rollicking traditional music performed by Harmonia. … the musicians sound as wild and free as an authentic Gypsy band. They dig into melancholy sentiments, improvise expressively on traditional rubato forms and periodically take off on their own virtuosity. Skillful with syncopated rhythms and asymmetrical phrases, the players plug into the energy and excitement of music from a rich variety of Eastern European traditions..”


“Ukrainian cimbalom master Alexander Fedoriouk is the featured soloist on the album of rollicking traditional music performed by Harmonia. … the musicians sound as wild and free as an authentic Gypsy band. They dig into melancholy sentiments, improvise expressively on traditional rubato forms and periodically take off on their own virtuosity. Skillful with syncopated rhythms and asymmetrical phrases, the players plug into the energy and excitement of music from a rich variety of Eastern European traditions..”

Wilma Salisbury
The Cleveland Plain Dealer

”Harmonia, brought haunting resonance to music from a region that has suffered intolerable atrocities … violin, accordion and vocalist overflowed with bittersweet sentiments and proud, folkloric gestures. The musicians captured the heartfelt emotions with the directness of cabaret players performing for a select audience.”

Donald Rosenberg
The Cleveland Plain Dealer

“…driving, urban roots music…”

The Knitting Factory
New York City
Some Cool Facts

Numbers Speak For Themselves


Harmonia Music from the Heart of Europe


Nominated for Cleveland Scene 2005
Music Award

Selected as Cleveland’s Best Ethnic Band,
The Plain Dealer 2004

Nominated for Best of Cleveland Music Award

Selected for American Traditions/Global Sounds Program


Harmonia Hidden Legacy
Folk & Gypsy Music from Eastern Europe
Folk Sounds Records FSR1012

Harmonia: Music of Eastern Europe
Traditional Crossroads 4313

Art of the Cimbalom Traditional Crossroads 4314

Cimbalom Traditions Folk Sounds Records FSR 1001

Ciganska Krčma: in a Gypsy Café Folk Sounds Records

Balkans without Borders Omnium Records

Visit Folk Sounds Records to Purchase Harmonia CDs