Belarusian melodies sound even more unique when played on Belarusian cymbaly. Belarusian cymbaly is a musical instrument that has become a symbol of Belarusian culture. The Scots have a bagpipe, the Armenians have a duduk, the Russians have a balalaika, the French have an accordion, and the Belarusians have cymbaly. Cymbaly is a national treasure, which is treated with special trepidation in Belarus, and the art of performing on it is carefully passed down from generation to generation.
You can hear a 4 musical piece cymbaly performance by Raisa Orshansky and Viktor Kotov, professional musicians from Belarus and a Toronto duet.
Musical pieces composed by Raisa Orshansky, Viktor Kott, Dźmitry (Dmitry) Kaminsky, Jasep Žynovič
Orshansky graduated from Minsk University of Culture and Arts (Belarus), faculty of Orchestra Conducting. She expanded her education with Vitebsk College of Music, specializing in folk instrument tsimbaly.
Since moving to Canada Raisa dedicated herself exclusively to music: performing, composing, teaching music to children and conducting.
Orshansky is a PARMA recordings artist. In February 2019 she travelled to Czech Republic to record her Symphonic Poem “Spring Fantasy” with Ostrava Philharmonic Orchestra.
Viktor Kott – stage name of Viktor Kotov
Kotov graduated from Kharkov University of Arts (Ukraine), faculty of piano.
In Canada he works as a freelancer composer and a performer multi instrumentalist playing professionally piano, duduk, jaw harp, harmonica, whistle, and bass guitar.
Kotov recorded and produced two albums with his original compositions: “You & Me” and “Unconditional Love”
Dźmitry (Dmitry) Kaminsky (1906, Ekaterinoslav—Montreal, 1989) moved to Minsk in 1939. The composer, conductor, and educator held memberships in the USSR’s Composer’s Union from 1940 and BSSR’s from 1941. A veteran of WWII, Kaminsky served as chair of the BSSR’s Composer’s Union (1963-66). He was the only head of the USSR’s cultural union, who never joined the communist party. Kaminsky was a founder of such musical genres in Biełaruś as concerts for cymbals, piano, violin, cello, and orchestra, and polyphonic music for piano. He authored cantatas, symphonies, music for choirs, movies, children, and popular songs. Kaminsky’s favorite compositor was the modernist Igor Stravinsky. By request of Sviatoslav Richter and Emil Gilels, Kaminsky arranged Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring for two fortepianos. Dmitrii Shostakovich, a friend for many years and all the leading musicians of the USSR, highly appreciated this work. Most of Kaminsky’s compositions were based on themes of Biełarusian folklore that he adored. The Soviet government generously awarded his achievements. Kaminsky, who from his early years disliked the Soviet system, never valued these rewards. After the emigration of his youngest step-daughter to Canada, his music was prohibited in Biełaruś and disappeared from music libraries. A year later, he and his wife joined their family in Canada. The conservatory and musical college professors kept most of his works, and currently, his music is back in the country of its creation.
Jasep Žynovič (Iosif Žydovič; v. 1907, Areškavičy – Minsk, 1974), cymbalist, soloist, composer, conductor, concertmaster, and educator was music and intellectual wunderkind. He was born to a well-to-do hardworking agricultural family. Initially, this family practiced religious rites of Uniates but later converted to Catholicism. Žynovič left his village and came to Minsk at the age of fifteen years old. In 1922 he was invited to the Biełarusian State Theater as a soloist-cymbalist. In 1927, Jasep Žynovič entered Minsk’s Musical College and, simultaneously, studied law at the Biełarusian state University, which he successfully graduated from in 1931. A year prior, Žynovič organized the first orchestra of folk music in the country and became the orchestra’s director and concertmaster. In 1935 he was expelled from the Biełarusian State Conservatory. That was an outcome of his parents’ prosecution by the Soviets; according to them, his parents were “rich exploiters” of poor landless peasants. In reality, as Žynovič shared with D. Kaminsky (whose parents were sent to Siberia due to his mother’s noble origin), his family was cultivated their land without hired help. Žynovič’s father died in the NKVD’s prison, where he was sent after their land and home were confiscated by the Soviets.
Nevertheless, Jasep Žynovič managed to graduate from the Biełarusian State Conservatory right before WWII. After the war, he organized a department of cymbals and other folk instruments in his alma mater. In addition to his excellent original compositions, Jasep Žynovič’s heritage includes brilliant arrangements of classical music for cymbals. Among many world-famous composers whose works he arranged for cymbals are Mozart, Chopin, Wieniawski, Borodin, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, and many others.