2023 Convention: Milwaukee, WI
The 43rd Annual BDAA Convention:
July 25-29, 2023
This year we are featuring new and familiar guest artists from France, Russia, and America, including:
Nicolas Kedroff – Prima Balalaika
Angelina Galashenkova – Prima Domra
Victor Gorodinsky – Festival Orchestra Conductor
Nicolas is a world-renowned balalaika virtuoso from Paris, France. Kedroff lives up to his nickname: “The Paganini of Balalaika.” He earned the title of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government for his outstanding musical talent and is a professor of balalaika at the Rachmaninoff Conservatory of Paris.
Originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, Angelina is a master domra soloist who has traveled all over the world to perform. She currently plays in the unique domra-guitar String Time Duo, which includes traditions of classical, jazz, blues, and folk music, and is the concertmaster of The Atlanta Balalaika Society.
Victor is a gifted conductor, classical guitarist, and contrabass balalaika player, originally from Moscow, Russia. In addition to being a talented musician, he is a polyglot and emeritus Slavic language librarian. Victor is the conductor and founder of the UW-Madison Russian Folk Orchestra, which just celebrated its 25th anniversary!
With Special Guest Artists
Stas Venglevski, a native of the Republic of Moldova, is a bayan virtuoso. He has toured extensively as a soloist and performed with symphony orchestras throughout the US and Europe. Stas was even featured on NPR’s Prairie Home Companion. He will teach the bayan workshop and perform a mini-concert.
Polina DeCarlo is a Russian-born solo pianist and rigorously trained accompanist for vocal and instrumental groups and ensembles. She has accompanied numerous artists at prestigious international instrumental competitions and serves as a piano educator at the Art of Piano School.
We ask that everyone registers as soon as possible for planning purposes, especially since the cut off for our special hotel rate is July 4th. We cannot guarantee you a hotel room if you try to book after this date. To facilitate early bookings, registration costs will increase after June 15th.
You can register online if paying by credit card or by mail if paying with a check. If paying by credit card, you must fill out a separate form and pay separately for each person in your family or group (additional credit card payment instructions can be found here). Multiple registrations can be grouped together if paying by mail.
2023 Covid-19 Statement
At this time we will NOT require Covid vaccines, negative Covid tests, or masks at the 2023 convention
- The BDAA reserves the right to change this policy based on state, local, and hotel Covid requirements before the convention
- If you cannot attend the convention due to testing positive for Covid, your registration will be reimbursed up until the start of the convention (minus a $30 cancellation fee).
- Masks are not mandatory but are recommended, especially during high occupancy events such as orchestra rehearsal and the festival concert
- The BDAA will not provide Covid tests, but recommends attendees test regularly before, during, and after the convention
The convention will be held at the Sonesta West Milwaukee Hotel in Wauwatosa, WI. Please use the link above to go directly to the booking site for the BDAA or call 414-475-9500 to book by phone. The special discounted convention rate is only $109 per night, which will be honored for 3 days pre-convention and 3 days post-convention if you would like to extend your stay.
The BDAA’s special hotel rate must be booked before July 4th, 2023!!! The hotel will likely sell out of rooms during the busy summer season, so it’s imperative that you book early!
Parking is free and the hotel offers a free shuttle to the nearby area if reserved at the front desk 12 hours in advance.
Each year we offer multiple scholarships to cover registration costs for the convention through the Michael Kolos & Walter Kasura Scholarship Fund. Scholarships are available to all BDAA members, whether it is their first convention or not. Anyone who has an interest in Slavic folk music, attending a convention, and has a financial need is welcome to apply.
Note there is a lifetime limit of 2 scholarships per member, but we do have extra resources available through our Youth Initiative Fund for students and young members who have maxed out their scholarship awards. If this is relevant to you, then we encourage you to fill out the scholarship application to request assistance through the Youth Initiative.
The application deadline is Monday, May 29th, 2023!
The 2015 scholarship convention attendees
The annual BDAA Festival Concert will be held on Saturday, July 29th, 2023 at 7:30 pm in the ballroom of the Sonesta West Milwaukee Hotel in Wauwatosa, WI
The concert brings together musicians from around the world performing Eastern European and Roma folk music and is the culmination of the BDAA’s annual convention. The performance will feature our virtuoso guest artists with an 80-piece folk orchestra.
This year, a portion of the concert proceeds will be donated to Ukrainian relief efforts. We will also collect donations for this important cause during the performance.
Sheet Music Access
When your registration has processed we will email you an access code / login code to download and print copies of the orchestra and workshop music. You can go directly to the link in your email or enter the login information below to be redirected.
Workshops and Daily Schedule
The convention starts Tuesday, July 25th at ~4:00 PM with orchestra rehearsal. We will break for dinner and then have a performance and welcome party Tuesday night at ~8:00 PM.
This year we are offering many of our classic (and favorite) workshops, alongside some new ones.
Check back soon for the preliminary workshop schedule
- Balalaika technique, balalaika choir, and beginning lessons
- Domra technique, domra choir, and beginning lessons
- Bayan / accordion
- Festival orchestra
- Music lectures
- Evening concerts, open mic, and jamming
- And more to be announced!
How do I get to Milwaukee and the Hotel?
If flying, the best option is the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport. There is no shuttle to the hotel, but ride-sharing services, taxis, and car rentals are available.
If renting a car, the Dane County Regional Airport in Madison, WI (60 minute drive) or the airports in Chicago (90 minute drive) are also possibilities.
Before You Leave for Milwaukee:
- Bring items for the auction – anything you think will help raise money for the BDAA and the Scholarship Fund.
- Print your sheet music. Music for the orchestra and all workshops (except for beginning classes) are posted online.
- Pack a nice outfit for the banquet on Friday night.
- If playing in the orchestra, bring an ethnic costume or orchestra attire (black & white or all black) for the concert on Saturday. See below for extra details.
- Bring a music stand if you can.
- Bring jamming books & lead sheets for the evening parties. All types of music are welcome at the jam – we want a diverse our jamming repertoire.
- Email your coordinators at BDAA.board (at) gmail.com if you have convention questions!
Festival Orchestra Attire & Costumes
As a multi-ethnic organization, there is no standard BDAA folk costume for the festival concert. We represent multiple countries and cultures and let everyone wear the folk attire they want to, resulting in a beautiful and colorful smorgasbord on stage. If you are new and do not have a folk costume, people will often bring extra costumes / accessories you may be able to borrow. If not, you can wear the classic all black, or black & white orchestra attire for the concert.
With the recent political strife in Eastern Europe, we understand that some musicians may feel strongly about wearing or not wearing the costumes of certain countries in either protest or in solidarity. We support each orchestra member deciding to dress as their conscience may dictate.
Workshop Leaders & Convention Team
Stas Venglevski – Bayan
Denis Zhukov – Beginning Balalaika
Guzel Safiullina – Domra Choir
Dr. Jennie Bukowski – Beginning Domra
Jennie is a scientist who does research in atmospheric physics on severe storms. Although she currently works in STEM, Jennie majored in Russian language and literature and Soviet history at UW-Madison. It was there that she met this year’s conductor, Victor Gorodinsky, and joined the UW-Russian Folk Orchestra on domra. Since then, she has been active in the BDAA: serving on the board, building this website, and co-chairing the Asheville convention. In her free time, Jennie enjoys running, biking, hiking, gardening, Legos, reading, and baking scones.
Jason Schreiber – Convention Coordinator
Jason is a music educator, arranger, and ethnomusicologist from Wisconsin where he currently teaches music to 3rd graders through high school. He holds a B.A. and M.M. in music from Northern Illinois University where he focused on the steel band art form, music theory, and ethnomusicology. He has performed in Trinidad and Tobago twice for the World Steel Band Festival and Panorama competitions and in South Korea for the 2002 Seoul Drum Festival. While in Trinidad and Tobago, Jason conducted fieldwork to study the organology of the steel pan. In addition to balalaika, he performs and accompanies on steel pan, tenor banjo, guitar, mandolin, accordion, trumpet, upright bass, piano, and voice. And – he is this year’s convention chair!
More coming soon!
2023 Sponsors / Donors
The BDAA is a non-profit organization that relies on the generosity of our members, donors, and sponsors.
We are seeking additional donations and sponsorships for the concert. If you would like to donate and be recognized here and in our concert playbill / program booklet as an individual or as an organization please click below to go directly to the donation site or email BDAA.board (at) gmail.com for more info.