In 1591, Czar Fyodor Ivanovich created the regiment of the Ural Cossacks. Until the revolution in 1917, this regiment was part of the Czar's army, not only as a fighting unit, but also as the Czar's own squadron. After the overthrow of the Czarist regime,the Ural Cossacks were not prepared to fall in line with the new socialistic government, and went over to the side of the "Whites". After the putsch, the regiment was officially disbanded, but continued to exist inofficially.
The members of the Ural Cossacks moved to Western Europe and settled in Germany, where the regiment continued in existence as the Ural Cossack Choir, established in Paris in 1924, under the direction of the old Cossack Andrej Scholuch (see picture). The excellent training, the vocal talent and the discipline of the choir laid the foundation for triumphant success.Naturally enough, the folk songs from Russia and Byzantine songs play a central role in the choir's repertoire. It is important to know that the Cossacks were always present at the festivities given by the Czar and by the leading Russian aristocrats. These occasions mostly took place in church, and thus church music occupies an important position in the repertoire of the Ural Cossack Choir. This tradition has been maintained to the present day.
Years later, however, the existence of the choir was increasingly threatened by the age of its members. In this situation, Nikolai Romanovich Bessalov, who had previously sung in other Cossack choirs, decided to try and revive the tradition. In 1974 he began to carry on the tradition of the Ural Cossacks in the Netherlands, and Scholuch officially handed over all the insignia of the regiment to him, together with the rights associated therewith. Thus the Ural Cossack Choir was also allowed to bear the regimental arms.In 1978, Bessalov died, followed a year later by Scholuch. Various conductors continued their work, bringing the choir into high international esteem and whereby many successfull tours have taken place. Gregor Bak is the present conductor, a position he has been holding since december 1993.