Engineer by day and musician by night, Ralph Iverson plays several
instruments in classical settings as well as for recreational international folk dancing. As a youth, he played violin and piano. Since then he has added viola, flute, alto sax, upright bass, mandolin, balalaika, penny whistle, mandolin, dvojanka, gadulka, Macedonian tambura, Macedonian and Bulgarian kaval, kemenche, brach, prim, and lyritsa. He is experienced with Bulgarian and Macedonian music, but also plays folk music from many other countries. Ralph performs in a number of performing groups in addition to the Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra, including the Harvard Music Association, Balkan Fields (Bulgarian/Macedonian/Serbian)
Goats (Bulgarian/Macedonian). Pajdashi (Croatian), Pinewoods Band (int’l), Zdravets (Bulgarian village), and Zornitsa (Bulgarian men’s chorus).
Alexey Shabalin is a Professor of Music at Rhode Island College. He has been Artist-Director of the Rhode Island Youth Philharmonic Orchestras Since 2003. He also founded and conducts the Rhode Island Youth Soloists, a chamber orchestra of the top string players. For several years, Shabalin has been the assistant conductor and strings coach of the MIT Symphony. He coaches chamber music at Brown University. At Providence College, he conducts the symphony orchestra, coaches violin and chamber groups, and teaches music theory. In 2005, the Siemens Foundation appointed Shabalin as Artistic Director to select talented students from elite colleges around the country. He created a concert in New York City featuring an eclectic mix of pieces by these young performers. Currently, he is a member of the Rhode Island Philharmonic. Shabalin graduated from Moscow Conservatory in 1995, having studied with Professors Igor Besrodny and Alexander Melkinov. As a student he won third prize in the Soviet national string quartet competition in 1991. During the same year he was a semifinalist in the International Shostakovich Chamber Music Competition. In 1995 he won the “Best Violinist in a Duet” category in the International Bashmet Competition in Moscow. From 1992 to 1996, Shabalin toured with the world-renowned Moscow Soloists Chamber Orchestra. In 1995 the group gave the second performance ever held of Mozart’s newly unearthed Triple Concerto, with Shabalin playing the solo violin part. In recognition of his talent, he was allowed to perform on a priceless Stradivarius violin owned by the Russian government. He moved to the United States in 1996, and has since played in many orchestras and chamber groups.