Yuri Shishkin, born in 1975 in St. Petersburg, Russia, fell in love with the sounds of the traditional Russian instrument – the triangular balalaika - at an early age. He continued through music school, Music College and the St. Petersburg Music Conservatory (Professor Senchurov). He began his professional career as a balalaika player and was invited to be the soloist for the Federal Orchestra “Metelitza”
Yuri has participated as a soloist and as a member of many ensembles, performing in Russia, Europe and Asia. He represented the Russian folk traditions by playing balalaika for Bill and Hillary Clinton, Mrs. Putin, and members of Summit G20 in 2013. Yuri received an award as Best Balalaika Player for the “All Russia Competition” in Murmansk.
Annually Yuri participates as a member of the Jury for the international Instrumental Competitions in Russia. He is the author of numerous educational materials on the balalaika, and he contributes his work to St. Petersburg Musical Instrument Museum.
Currently Yuri is active as a soloist and tours with Yulia Sydykbayeva (Balalaika & Piano Duo) and with Moscow Nights Trio.
Yulia Sydikbaeva was born in the city of Ayaguz, Kazakhstan. At the age of five, she started attending music school, typical of most children during the Soviet era. She continued her music education at the Ulan Ude Music College and then she was accepted to the St. Petersburg Music Conservatory, graduating in 2010.
Upon graduation, Yulia worked as a concertmaster at the St. Petersburg Opera and the Opera Theatre of St. Petersburg Conservatory. Currently she is the official accompanist for the International Vocal Competition, “St. Petersburg”
In 2012 Yulia was invited to South Korea as an accompanist and music teacher. She has received an award three times for best concertmaster for the International Vocal and Instrumental Competitions, and she performs in this role throughout Russia and Europe.
In 2013 she collaborated with balalaika virtuoso Yuri Shishkin, and they created the Balalaika & Piano Duo. The repertoire includes classical and contemporary music, and they are receiving rave reviews on tours in Russia and abroad.