Serge Jaroff

Serge Alexis Jaroff (Russian: Серге́й Алексе́евич Жа́ров[1]) (April 1 [O.S. March 20] 1896 – 5 October 1985) was the founder, conductor and composer of the Don Cossack Choir Serge Jaroff.

Serge Alexis Jaroff
Серге́й Алексе́евич Жа́ров
Фотография регента и дирижёра Хора донских казаков Сергея Жарова.jpg
Born1 April 1896
Died5 October 1985
Resting placeSt Mary's R.O. Cemetery, Jackson, New Jersey.


Jaroff was born April 1 [O.S. March 20] 1896 in Makaryev, Kostroma Governorate, Russian Empire. He trained at the Moscow Synod School for Choral Singing. He served as a Don Cossack lieutenant in the Russian Civil War. In 1920, the Don Army were driven into the Crimea by the Red Army. From there they evacuated to a Turkish internment camp near Constantinople, (now Istanbul). In January 1921, Jaroff put together a choir from Russian refugees in the internment camp. Most of the singers who later performed in the Don Cossacks Choir had been members of the Don divisions since the war in 1914. The 3rd[clarification needed] Don division in March 1921 was interned on the Greek island of Lemnos.

Then the troops, including the singers, were shipped to Burgas, Bulgaria. The Russian representative asked Jaroff and his choir to join the church. On 23 June 1923, they performed in the cathedral of Sofia and made their formal concert debut in Vienna on 4 July 1923. They subsequently toured America where they were extremely popular and had other international tours in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. The men, dressed as Cossacks, sang a repertory of a cappella Russian sacred and operatic music, army songs and folk songs. Cossack dancing was eventually added to the performance.

Jaroff's last tour was in the 1978–1979 season of the company, but Jaroff continued as the choir leader until 1981.

Personal lifeEdit

Jaroff married Neonila, and had one son, Aljosha. They lived in Lakewood Township, New Jersey, where Jaroff died in 1985. He became a US citizen after World War II. He is buried at St Mary's R.O. Cemetery in Jackson, New Jersey.

Selected filmographyEdit


  1. ^ "Сергей Жаров и его Хор донских казаков - Хор Сергея Алексеевича Жарова - ИМЕНА, ОТКРЫТЫЕ ЗАНОВО - Русская эмиграция - История России - Россия в красках". Retrieved 2016-09-09.

External linksEdit