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Gerdan - Kaleidoscope of World Music is a professional ensemble in Washington DC area. The ensemble is named after Gerdan, a multi-colored, intricately woven beaded necklace from Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine. Like this dazzling and exquisite necklace, musicians bring alive rich arrangements that reflect their passion for tradition Eastern European folk melodies and rhythms.  Inspired by their native roots and heritage, they create and perform their own special blend of world music that brings together the old with the new, in a style that is fresh, lively, and beautiful. Gerdan’s musicians have been acknowledged for their technique and exquisite musical presentations performing an exciting repertoire of Eastern European folk music. The music of Gerdan is diverse, energetic and charming, bringing the fire and the edge of new melodic ideas and rhythms that capture the listener.

The Gerdan concert program features contrasting musical styles in the musical traditions of Eastern Europe. Traditional songs and folk melodies get original arrangements in diverse and fascinating combinations of acoustic folk art instruments from Eastern Europe. The dialogue of spoken languages: Ukrainian, Slovak, Czech, Gypsy, and musical languages that are rich in history, and speak lively in the artistic creative impulse of modern musicians who travel joyfully in the musical arts to new horizons. Exceptional musicians, skilled, experienced, and dedicated to the sonic nurture of this art, reveal their passion for the modalities and rhythmic colorations that define folk music of Eastern Europe. The musicians of Gerdan share the direct life of their Eastern European multicultural music experience from generation to generation.

Dr. Andrei Pidkivka brings together musicians who share a collaborative vision as they bring their creativity into Gerdan’s music.  He studied classical and world music and earned Bachelor and Master degrees from Lviv State College and Music Academy in Ukraine. He holds a Doctorate of Music Arts Degree from Michigan State University, USA. His extensive collection of world flutes, from archaic to modern encompass a wealth of knowledge and great possibilities. In Dr. Pidkivka’s twenty five year journey of musical growth his world flutes have found a way into modern symphonic compositions, theatrical performances, ballet, and movie scores. Performances as a soloist and a guest musician include the Columbus Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, and Pittsburgh Symphony.  Andrei Pidkivka has been critically acclaimed as a preeminent performer, teacher, and maker of a variety of folk flutes of his native Ukraine, whose sounds attracted listeners and educational workshops across the United States, Europe, Asia and South America.  The Pan-Flute, the Turkish Ney and the Ukrainian Sopilka were used in symphonic performances of the Lord of The Rings, and the Seattle Times wrote, “Andrei Pidkivka owned the spotlight…Close your eyes and you’re in The Shire”.  The Washington Post wrote “Andrei Pidkivka … was most winning playing plaintive melodies on the naj, or pan flute, and the tylynka, a long, slender shepherd’s flute with no finger holes”. Dr. Pidkivka presented lectures-workshops and performances at:  the Kennedy Center for the Arts, Metropolitan Museum of the Art, The Andy Warhol Museum, Severance Hall, the National Folk Alliance Conference, National Flute Association Conventions in the U.S.  He was interviewed by the Voices of America Network for broadcast in Ukraine, and the National Public Radio and TV affiliate of the PBS in Cleveland.

Ukrainian born violinist Dr. Solomia Gorokhivska is soloist and a chamber musician.  She holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts Degree at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC.  Dr. Gorokhivska brings her passionate virtuoso violin, and a voice that expresses the personality of each song. She is an International laureate award recipient in classical and folk music performance. She toured internationally, including Ukraine, Germany, Russia, Poland, Serbia, and the USA.  She earned her Bachelor of Music Degree from Ternopil State College of Music and her Master Degree at Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine.  In addition, she received her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in Cultural Studies from the National University of "Kyiv-Mohyla Academy", Ukraine. From 2006-2010 she was a musicologist, journalist, author, and senior editor for the TV program “Along With The Music” on the National Broadcast Company of Ukraine.  Dr. Gorokhivska participates in many classical, jazz, folk, and contemporary music projects around the world, and brings this wealth of experience to the collaboration and creative arrangement that is the musical voyage of Gerdan.

GERDAN collaborates and offers different programs with multiple artists:

Dr. Richard Miller explores the richly expressive sounds of the nylon string guitar (both 7 string and 6 string) with a repertoire that includes Brazilian styles (choro, samba, bossa nova, forró, etc.), American jazz, Latin American styles (salsa, bolero, tangos, etc.), Classical guitar and Eastern-European chango (gypsy) guitar music. He is also active as an educator, composer, and writer/presenter for academic publications and conferences. He earned a Masters in Guitar Performance from Manhattan School of Music and a Ph.D. in music theory from Catholic University of America. He taught at CUA and at Georgetown University for many years and now teaches at Columbia University in New York City. Richard Miller was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to an American father and a Brazilian mother and moved frequently between Brazil, United States and Puerto Rico. He has traveled extensively for concerts and recitals in the United States and Latin America. A review of a recital by Richard at the U. S. State Department affirmed, “Throughout his recital, he not only displayed impeccable technique but communicated his love of this beautiful music.” A review in the Washington City Paper by Joel Siegal of the duo of Richard Miller with Patrick de Santos (voice) stated, “Patrick and Richard strike a remarkable balance between disciplined technique and emotional abandon.”

Mr. Branislav "Brano" Brinarski began his musical studies at age six in his home town of Secovce in Zemplin County in Eastern Slovakia.  While at the University in Košice, he began performing with the folk ensembles playing bass, gajdicedvojacka and singing.  He toured throughout Slovakia, Europe and Asia.  After receiving his degree at Kosice he moved to the United States in 1998 where he founded the Slovak Folk Band Pajtaši. Recently, Brano has branched out collaborating with other Eastern European bands in the East Coast area.  In addition to his folk music endeavors, he also performs with the Bensen-Scott and Jump Start big bands in the New York City area.

Dr. Kalin Kirilov is an Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Towson University. Before coming to Towson University, he taught at the University of Oregon and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dr. Kirilov received his BA from the Academy of Music and Dance in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, an interdisciplinary MA in Folklore from the University of Oregon, and a PhD in Music Theory from the University of Oregon.  His involvement in folk music started at the age of four. In 1982, he joined a folk orchestra at the Dobri Hristov Music School in Vidin, Bulgaria, and later, in 1987, he became a soloist in the Dunav (Danube) ensemble in Vidin. As a high school student, Kirilov became interested in arranging music for folk orchestras, folk choirs, and vocal quartets. Despite the official restrictions on wedding music during the socialist period in Bulgaria, Kirilov performed and mastered the Bulgarian wedding style. Decades later, while a Doctoral student at the University of Oregon, Kirilov toured the United States as a guitar player with the most influential Bulgarian wedding band, Ivo Papazov’s wedding orchestra. In the US, Dr. Kirilov performs regularly with a variety of bands including Gerdan and brings to American audience the musical traditions of Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Greece, Albania, and the countries of former Yugoslavia.

Ukrainian born pianist Dr. Oksana Skidan has performed and competed throughout the world. She began to play the piano at the age of five and made her solo debut with the Donetsk Symphony Orchestra four years later. Ms. Skidan has received many awards, including top prizes in several Ukrainian national competitions. She was twice a winner in the IBLA Grand Prize International Piano Competition in Italy, where she also received the Liszt Prize and was awarded the opportunities to study in Dublin, Ireland and the University of Northern Iowa. In Ireland, she won First Prize in the Senior Piano Class, the Gold Medal, and the Caroline Elizabeth Reilly Memorial Cup at the National Music Festival of Ireland. She has also competed extensively throughout the United States, winning prizes at the MTNA National Competition and the Des Moines Symphony Young Artists Competition. Ms. Skidan graduated from the Leontovich Music School in Ukraine with honor and received her bachelor's degree from the Donetsk Music College with highest honors before entering the Donetsk State Conservatory. In the United States, she received a Master of Music in piano performance from the University of Northern Iowa and studied under full scholarship at the Aspen Music School. Ms. Skidan graduated from the Eastman School of Music with a Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance and literature from the studio of Natalya Antonova. While at Eastman, she was awarded the prestigious Eastman Teaching Assistant Award. Ms. Skidan has performed around the United States as well as in Ukraine, France, Ireland and Italy. She has been a featured performer in a number of radio and TV broadcasts and has appeared with various orchestras in Europe and the United States. Ms. Skidan has an established piano studio in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, with several prize-winning students. In addition to teaching, she has an active performance schedule and has appeared at the Kennedy Center, the George Mason Center for the Arts, the Department of State, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, the Towson University Center for the Arts, the Embassy of Ukraine, and other venues. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband Neil, son Andrei and her cat Yasha.