The small Russian village with a big musical heart

For the last 30 years a Russian village has cultivated a world class children’s orchestra that competes and wins on the international level.

What began as one couple's idea of forming a children's orchestra in Bavleny – a small village in the Vladimir region – led to every family taking part.

The interesting thing about the Bavleny orchestra is how big a part of the community it is. In the 30 years since it started, everyone is either involved in the music themselves or either knows or is related to someone who is.

“My father has been in the orchestra from the beginning. He would bring souvenirs from the tours they went on that I liked and eventually decided to try and play,” young orchestra member Masha Petrova says.

“It has become a family tradition now,” Masha adds, “I have met so many people through the orchestra and have bought friends into it too. It really is a family affair with many people passing down the passion for music from generation to generation.”

Wife of the founder Tamara Murashova says, “My husband… didn’t have a musical education, but he started at a music vocational school in Vladimir and began teaching. He then created and built up this beautiful orchestra. He was a conductor for 25 years before passing the baton to my son Pavel.”

“Our village is small with a few teachers but the orchestra has grown to an international level. It really has achieved some great results,” 29-year-old conductor Pavel Murashov, the founder’s son, says.

The band gathers to practice every weekend often playing for hours at a time and they have shows around three times a month.

The orchestra has toured many countries with an impressive trophy cabinet marking their success.

“We gained this cup in Istra, Moscow Region. It is a Grand Prix we gained in 2009. This one is from Germany, received in 2006. This is one is the Stalingrad Cup we got at an international competition,” Tamara Murashova explained while showing off the trophies.

Even though Bavleny has a small community, it has big dreams and both young and old in the band will continue to practice in search of further success.