Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Touring Carpatho-Rusyn Singing Legend Maria Macoskova to Perform in Pittsburgh September 8

Europe’s best-known Carpatho-Rusyn folk singer will be joined by another prominent Rusyn singer for their first-ever tour of major American cities, including a stop in Pittsburgh on Sept. 8, 2013.

Maria Macoskova, viewed as the “grand dame” of Carpatho-Rusyn folk singers internationally, will be performing the folk songs of the Carpatho-Rusyn people along with Beata Begeniova-Fedoriouk, herself a prominent Carpatho-Rusyn folk singer in both Europe and North America. They will be accompanied by noted accordionist Jozef Piroh of Presov, Slovakia.

“This is a very exciting event for us,” said Maria Silvestri, president of the John & Helen Timo Foundation, which is sponsoring the tour. “These are major Carpatho-Rusyn performers coming to expose Americans of all backgrounds to the richness of Carpatho-Rusyn culture through its beautiful folk music.”

It will be the first time the two singers have appeared together in almost 20 years, having sung at various cultural events in their native Slovakia previously, Silvestri said. Never before have the two appeared together in the United States.

Tickets and more information for all performances are available at http://www.rusynprojects.org or by calling 1-888-71-TICKETS. Information is also available on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MariaMacoskovaInConcert.

Macoskova, Begeniova-Fedoriouk and Piroh all hail from Presov, Slovakia, which is one of Pittsburgh’s sister cities. In Pittsburgh, they will perform Sunday, September 8 at 3 p.m. at the New Hazlett Theatre on the North Side.

Carpatho-Rusyns are an East Slavic group from the Carpathian Mountain chain of East Central Europe. They have never had a country of their own, but have maintained their vibrant culture. Today the Carpatho-Rusyn homeland is divided between Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary and Romania, with large settlements of Carpatho-Rusyns in Serbia, Croatia and the United States. They are recognized by all of these nations as an official minority except for Ukraine. More than 600,000 Americans are estimated to be of Carpatho-Rusyn heritage.

Macoskova, born in the Carpatho-Rusyn village of Potocky in present-day Slovakia, is both an accomplished professional singer and Carpatho-Rusyn cultural activist. She has dedicated her life to using Carpatho-Rusyn song to help people understand the beauty and depth of Carpatho-Rusyn  culture. She performed for over four decades with the Dukla Ensemble of Presov, now known as PUL’S – Slovakia’s premier professional Carpatho-Rusyn performing ensemble. She also performed with the Brno State Radio Folk Orchestra and the Janosko Cimbalom Orchestra in Prague, both today in the Czech Republic. She has done more than anyone else to popularize Carpatho-Rusyn folk music throughout all of the former Czechoslovakia and especially in present-day Slovakia. In 1985, she was named an Artist of Merit by the Czechoslovak government.

Begeniova-Fedoriouk has performed Carpatho-Rusyn folk music since her youth in Slovakia. Born in Presov, she is known in both Europe and America for her talents. Currently, she performs Central and East European folk music with the Cleveland-based ensemble Harmonia, a group that has been called “a musical gem” by National Public Radio and “obscenely talented” by the Folklore Society of Greater Washington, D.C.

Titled Maria Macoskova in Concert, the tour also includes stops in Washington D.C., Cleveland, New York City and Minneapolis. Scheduled performances are:
Thursday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. – Slovak Embassy, Washington, DC
Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. – Edison High School, Minneapolis, MN
Sunday, Sept. 15 at 3 p.m. – Mixon Hall at the Cleveland Institute of Music
Sunday, Sept. 22 at 3 p.m. – St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, New York, NY

The tour is being coordinated by the John & Helen Timo Foundation, a new foundation based in Pittsburgh, dedicated to the propagation and development of Carpatho-Rusyn culture. It is achieving this tour with the cooperation of organizations throughout the North American Carpatho-Rusyn and Slavic communities, including the Carpatho-Rusyn Society, the Rusin Association of Minnesota and the Slovak American Society of Washington, D.C, as well as the Embassy of the Slovak Republic.

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