Ensembles of folk instruments, of psaltery-players, pipe-players, horn-players have existed in Russia for a long time. In the 70’s of the 19-th century the chorus of Vladimir horn-players acquired European popularity, and ten ears later Vassilly Andreev, a virtuoso balalaika player, set up an orchestra of Russian folk instruments to win the world-wide fame. Andreev did not simply assemble players – upon his initiative and with his active participation the folk instruments were upgraded, their sounding was enriched, and new artistic and technical capabilities were discovered. The orchestra of Vassily Andreev was frequently referred to by his contemporaries as the "Russian symphonic Orchestra"..
The orchestra we are telling you about, that is the "Boyan" orchestra, sticks to the same tradition, the tradition of novelty in the upgrading of folk instruments. No matter how many high-class artistic collectives we have in this country, the "Boyan" Orchestra holds a specific position of its own.
Named after a legendary narrator of ancient Russia, the orchestra was established in 1968 by Anatoliy Poletaev, one of Russia’s leading musicians, as an experimental body by its nature: the folk instruments were equipped with electronics. The try worked. Balalaikas, domras, Russian accordions, psalteries, have all acquired a new color, a new volume of sounding, the widest range from heartfelt pianissimo to the most powerful forte. A relatively small orchestra has not only expended its performing capabilities but has won a larger audience. Any concert hall, any open site may become a stage for the orchestra. Later, when the "Boyan" was acknowledged as a prominent artistic collective, recognized by musical experts, professional critics, the wide public, the orchestra grew in size and united two beginnings – the traditional folk instruments of Russia and the instruments of the symphonic orchestra: flute, oboe, bassoon, French horns, trumpets, trombones, kettle-drums, violins, violas, cellos, and even a synthesizer. The outcome was beyond any expectations. As a result, the idea of a modern small Russian symphonic orchestra was brilliantly implemented by the "Boyan" Orchestra. It has acquired an extraordinary colorful, versatile palette and an extensive dynamic range. Such an orchestra has no replicas either in Russia or abroad.
In 1969 the orchestra became a Laureate of the First Young Players Festival of the Folk Music in Moscow, while in 1973 it became a Laureate of the 10-th World Festival of the Young People and Students in Berlin. In 1982, the "Boyan" Russian Folk Orchestra won the title of the Lenin Komsomol Award Laureate.
The "Boyan" Orchestra is accompanied by famous singers, soloists of Russia’s opera theaters, prominent national choirs, such as the Grand Choir of the "Ostankino" TV Company, the Yourlov Choir, the Minin Choir, and others.
The "Boyan"’s touring routes passed not only through Russia and the former Soviet Union but led abroad as well. Enthusiastic reviews to the orchestra’s concerts were published by the press in Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Sweden, Japan, Germany, Great Britain, and Taiwan.
The orchestra is continuously upgrading its repertoire. The "Boyan" performs scores of programs by Russian classics, contemporary composers, both famous and still young, as well as arrangements and of folk songs and dances. The majority of arrangements and variations has been done by Anatoliy Poletaev and constitute the primary concert fund of the repertoire.
A big achievement of the orchestra and its artistic director is recording of 6 CDs, which are contain masterpieces of Russian and Slavic music performed by the orchestra including the Anatoly Poletayev’s works. Poletayev makes arrangements of many works on CD.