The Pyatnitsky Russian Folk Chor is a Russian musical group which was established by Mitrofan Pyatnitsky in 1910 initially with 18 peasants from Voronezh, Ryazan and Smolensk gubernias. The peasant chorus held its first performance at the Small hall of the Moscow Nobility Club (later the October Hall of the House of Trade Unions) on March 2, 1911.
Pyatnitsky focused on traditional Russian song. The performers sang, enacted dance scenes and played folk instruments. One of the first soloists of renown in the chorus was Arina Kolobayeva. In its early years the chorus received high praise from Russian musicians Sergey Rachmaninov and Fyodor Chaliapin.
In 1918, the chorus transferred it base to Moscow. After hearing the chorus, Lenin personally noted the necessity of expanding the chorus’s activities, having it perform in concert halls, factories and plants. In 1925, Mitrofan Pyatnitsky was awarded the title of Merited Artist of the Republic.
After Pyatnitsky’s death, the company was named after him and the leadership was taken by Pyotr Kazmin. In 1931, the chorus was joined by Vladimir Grigorievich Zakharov who enhanced the chorus’s repertoire with his songs. The ensemble was enlarged with a dance group and orchestra of Russian folk instruments in the 1930s led by Vasily Khvatov. In 1962, Valentin Levashov became the company’s art director.
The chorus has its own folklore studio with a collection of folklore materials and recordings. Today, the chorus has over 100 members. The chorus has been awarded numerous state awards. In its long years of existence it has visited every port of the former Soviet Union and toured Czechoslovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Finland, Canada, Israel, Japan, Sweden, Mexico, Germany, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and Luxembourg.