Vladimir land… The free land, the song land that preserved «the stories of deep antiquity», the land which has been keeping the white-stone Golden Gates, the Assumption Temple and Dmitrovsky Church for over eight centuries.

The State Vocal Choreographic Ensemble «Rus» named after M.N. Firsov from and ancient city of Vladimir – one of the Golden Ring of Russia cities – is relatively young. In 2014 the ensemble turned 40 years from the day of its creation.

The ensemble is widely known in Russia and abroad as a group which gives the most contemporary interpretation of Russian traditional folklore in the organic fusion of all its elements. The group has a noticeable influence on the professional growth of stylized folk ensembles not just in Vladimir region but also outside of it. The «Rus» ensemble is unique in its artistic appearance. It includes 35 actors and each one of them is both a highly professional dancer and highly professional singer. A special form of vocal choreographic composition prevails in the majority of the «Rus» ensemble concert programs with the exception of a few dance items. It’s such a form where choreography and singing are presented as a whole, where the dynamics of both singing and choreography is equal. This fact always causes one to ask the same question over again: how do they manage to combine both a professional dancer and a professional singer in one actor? The answer is simple: «It’s the «Rus» ensemble»! It’s the specifics of extraordinary artistic solutions in choreography, choir and orchestra music that imparts uniqueness and peculiarity to the image of the group.

There are several concert programs in the ensemble’s repertoire: «The Pictures of Russian Calendar», «Russian Christmas», «Songs and Dances of Different Russian regions» and «The Chimes».

In 1974 the Honored artist of Russian Federation Yakov Vasilyevich Khokhlov was suggested to become the head of a new professional group of Vladimir regional Philharmonic hall. That’s how the creative activity of the «Rus» ensemble started. It purposed to keep the best examples of vocal, dancing and musical folk creation of central part of Russia.

Mikhail Firsov, the graduate of the State Institute by Gnesinykh (nowadays The Russian Music Academy), the Honored Art Worker of Russian Federation, the Russian State Prize Winner, double Prize Winner of Vladimir region in the sphere of culture, art and literature headed the ensemble from 1986 till 2007.

When Mikhail Firsov became the new head of the «Rus» ensemble the creative direction of the group changed drastically. In a relatively short period of time he managed to lead the group to a totally different level of artistic professionalism. Keeping the original idea of musical performance which was taken from the nature of Russian folk music itself, the «Rus» ensemble gradually acquired a totally new artistic image.

In 1990 Mikhail Firsov was granted with the State Prize of Russian Federation for the concert program «The Pictures Of Russian Calendar».

In 2006 by the order of the President of Russian Federation Mikhail Nickolayevich Firsov was rewarded with the Order «For the Service To The Fatherland» of the Second Degree.

In 2008 the State Vocal Choreographic Ensemble «Rus» was named after Mikhail Nickolayevich Firsov.

Litvinov Nickolay Vasilyevich – The Honored Artist of Russin Federation, graduated from the Ural conservatoire name after Moosorgsky. Since 1977 he has unchangeably been the music leader of the State Vocal Choreographic Ensemble «Rus». The virtuoso bayan and a wonderful Russian concertina player he has perfectly mastered playing different folk wind-instruments. Litvinov’s achievement is the unique sound of Russian folk instrument orchestra, the non-traditional approach to the sound, choosing unexpected orchestra colors and using the most complicated musical instrument timbres.

Nickolay Vasilyevich Litvinov has been heading the State Vocal Choreographic Ensemble «Rus» named by M.N.Firsov since 2008.

The «Rus» ensemble Russian folk instruments orchestra is presented by professional musicians of the highest level who have excelled in playing several folk instruments. There are some unique ones among them: Vladimir hornlets, ocarinas, zhaleykas, reed-pipes, bagpipes, hooters, wheel liras. Some traditional instruments are also used: balalaikas, domras, concertinas and bayan. The correctly found way of using old instruments along with the modern ones allows revealing new musical shades and timbres. The performance range of the musicians is extremely wide: from traditional pieces to Bach’s «Joke» and jazz interpretations. That is why the success of the orchestra at the Fourth All-Russia competition in 1990 when the group was honored the title of All-Russia Competition Prize Winner was quite natural.

The «Rus» ensemble which uses the richest traditions of Russian musical culture is the group of wide performance range. The «Rus» ensemble music is not just folklore. It is the folklore which is often presented in symphonic solution with the elements of classical rock music.

«Russian Christmas» is a bright ceremonial which looks like a theatrical action accompanied with Christmas singing, greeting and praising the hosts, fortune-telling, joyful games and jokes. The most important part of Christmas is praising the Holy Mother of God based on ancient Russian songs, church songs, spiritual verses in multi-vocal presentation. Bright decoration of the stage allows to fully understand and perceive this performance. Stage decorations are in harmony and totally blend with what is being performed due to the use of a tapestry curtain made by a talented Vladimir artist Tatyana Grebneva. The theme of the composition shares the spirit of Russian Orthodox person in the temple on Russian Christmas Eve – endless Russia covered with snow and the image of Christ.

«The Pictures of Russian Calendar» is a vocal choreographic composition based on Russian calendar customs in an unusual art solution. «Wedding Game» brightly recreates separate episodes of the Russian wedding: party for the girls given by a bride on the eve of her wedding, leading to the wedding crown and wedding joy. Spring round dances, Christmas-tide, wide Maslenitsa reveal the wide, versatile Russian soul.

«Songs and Dances of Different Russian regions» is a concert program based on singing, dancing and instrumental traditions of Russia – southern, western, central part of it. It also depicts the song and dance traditions of Russian Kazaks.

«The Chimes» is a spectacle where different moments of Russian everyday life, customs, traditions, national dances, round dances, Russian songs of different historical times are intervened. This is like a call to the spirituality of Russian people, to their great history, original culture, national conscientiousness. One can not only trace a sincere love to native country but also the pain for destroyed temples, ancient monuments, lost traditions. This pain is especially vivid in prologue «My Soul» (Northern psalm processed by M.N.Firsov) deeply performed by the Honored Artist of Russian Federation Svetlana Savina. The leitmotiv of the spectacle is the image of Russian woman-mother whose bitter fate was to let her husband and sons go and serve the Russian tsar. Recruiters’ scene is presented with the spirit of patriotism, unification, spiritual beginning and the best character traits of Russian people.

The «Rus» ensemble has successfully presented the Russian culture in many countries of the world: Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France, Lebanon, Bulgaria, Zimbabwe, Check Republic, Slovakia, Holland, Finland, Korean Peoples Democratic Republic. The concerts took place in the most prestigious concert halls of Europe like Princeregenten theater in Munich, Altopera in Frankfurt-upon-Maine, Opera Theater in Hamburg and Amsterdam, Congress halls of Saltsburg, Lutsern, Zurich, Basel, Bern, Geneva, Strasbourg. For many years now the ensemble with its «Russian Christmas» program has been successfully participating in Christmas celebrations in Austria, Germany, Holland and Switzerland, worthily presenting Russian art. By doing that, according to the spectators and mass media opinion, the ensemble is a worthy representative of the Russian national art abroad.