an ensemble consisting of national musical instruments in their original or reconstructed form. Some folk-instrument orchestras are homogeneous in makeup (for example, orchestras of domras, bandury, or mandolins), and others are mixed (for example, an orchestra of domras and balalaikas). Small instrumental ensembles are popular among many peoples—for instance, the Ukrainian troisti muzyky (a trio consisting of fiddle, basolia [a folk cello], and drum, or of fiddle, cymbals, and drum), the Rumanian and Moldavian taraf, the gamelan, and the sazandari.
In Russia the development of the first professional folk-instrument orchestras is associated with N. Kondrat’ev, who organized the ensemble (“choir”) of Vladimir horn players (rozhechniki) in the 1870’s, and V. V. Andreev, who founded the Great Russian Orchestra at the end of the 19th century. Since the establishment of Soviet power, folk-instrument orchestras have undergone considerable development. In the Union and autonomous republics emphasis has been placed on reconstructing folk instruments and enriching their expressive and technical means. Among the most important Soviet folk-instrument orchestras are the V. V. Andreev Orchestra of Russian Folk Instruments (Leningrad), the N. P. Osipov Russian Folk Orchestra (Moscow), the Kurmangazy Kazakh Orchestra of Folk Instruments, and the State Honored Choir of Bandurists of the Ukrainian SSR. There are also many folk-instrument orchestras in other countries.