The Yale Russian Chorus is a tenor-bass choral ensemble at Yale University, established in 1953 by Denis Mickiewicz, a student at the Yale Music School, and George Litton, president of the Yale Russian Club. The group sings a variety of secular and sacred Slavic choral pieces, from the 12th century onward, including folk songs of Russia and Eastern Europe. The current musical director is Mark Bailey.
The YRC was the first American group to visit the Soviet Union as a private initiative, touring the country in 1958 following the signing of the Lacy-Zarubin Agreement on cultural exchange. The YRC made 16 tours to the USSR before the union dissolved in 1991. The ensemble tours domestically every spring.
The chorus rehearses for two and a half hours every week, holds concerts in and around New Haven throughout the academic year, and goes on an annual spring tour. Although the majority of its members are Yale undergraduate students, auditions are open to the entire New Haven community. As a tenor-bass chorus, membership is primarily male, but the chorus has also admitted women to sing in the tenor section.
The chorus has performed at many venues in Russia and Ukraine, and also many places in the United States, most notably:
Carnegie Hall in New York City,
The White House (for President Bill Clinton),
The Smithsonian Institution,
The Russian Cultural Center in Washington, D.C.,
The Winter Garden Theatre in Manhattan.,
The Alumni of the Yale Russian Chorus have formed a performing group in their own right to preserve the Mickiewicz tradition and presented a 60th Anniversary concert at Yale in November 2013. Musical examples from a YRC alumni concert at Duke University in November, 2009 include Akh ty step shirokaya (Ах, ты степь), Blazhen Muzh (Блажен муж), Borodino (Бородино), Kas Tie Tadi (Who Are They), and Zhilo dvenadtsat razboinikov (Жило двенадцать разбойников).
Western Europe 1962,
Western Europe and USSR 1963,
Eastern Europe 1968,
USSR 1977 (including Leningrad, Moscow, Tbilisi, Kiev),
USSR, Poland and Western Europe 1984,
USSR and Western Europe 1987,
Russia, Ukraine, Georgia 1990,
Russia 2004 (Alumni group),
Canada (Montreal/Quebec) 2009