Petar Ralchev is bulgarian accordion player, virtuoso and composer .
Ralchev has established a style of his own which has left its mark on the style of the different orchestras he has performed with. He defines it as virtuosity, melodiousness, rich harmony and improvisation. It is a crystallization of the recent developments in the sphere of contemporary folk music, without being in contradiction with the Bulgarian centuries-old folk tradition. Ralchev does not stick to authentic melodies; instead, he creates music of his own, tuneful but full of virtuosity (an obstacle for all who try to perform it), with a wide range and diversity of timbres, and enriched yet not overloaded harmonic language. He manages to achieve a great variety of improvisation, without searching for variants but rather trying to achieve overall coherent structure and development.
Petar Ralchev was born on August 26, 1961 in the village of Poibrene, Pazardzhik district, but soon after his parents moved to the village of Ivailo, now suburbs of Pazardzhik.
Since 1986 he plays with "Trakiisti", a quintet of Bulgarian folk music, playing original and traditional compositions. He received a prize as a soloist at the authoritative folklore festival in Stambolovo.
In 1991 he toured the major U.S. cities with "Bulgari", a quintet performing traditional Bulgarian folk music. During this tour, they played in the Smithsonian Institute, the library of congress in Washington, and also 30 minutes broadcast on the Voice of America, amongst other things Mr. Raichev also held extensive seminars at the Centre for East-European Studies in Eugene, Washington, teaching Bulgarian music. In Canada, he has performed in Vancouver and in the International Accordion Festival of Montmagny in Quebec and Montreal, during the summers of 1991-92 which was broadcast live by CBC.
In 1995 he produced the last album, 1996 he was on a three-month in Germany as a conductor of a male choir that performed Orthodox songs. During the period 1996-1998, he realized four tours as a guest soloist of the folk-jazz orchestra of Stiyan Karstensen who is also an accordionist-jazzman at the invitation of "Osio Konserthus" in Norway. He participated in concerts, seminars where he taught Bulgarian folklore and festivals. In 1999 he producing of his first solo album (CD). As a student in the Musical school with the violinist Georgi Yanev together they establish “Orpheus Orchestra” as they played in the beginning different popular themes and later on they composed tunes of their own. He works with almost all prominent musicians in this sphere. Within a couple of years, Petar Ralchev made nine releases of his performances, both solo and together. With violinist Georgi Yanev, with clarinetist Ivo Papazov, along with two more, of jazz-folk music by Dimitar Trifonov in teamwork with other known musicians. The virtuous player takes part in different festivals and performs in all parts of the country. He was included in the history of Accordion, published in France in 1991 by Francois Billard and Didier Roussin.
He released a CD in an Ethno-jazz style together with Stoyan Yankoulov, Atehshan Yuseinov He participates in two albums with the German group Batoru, released in Germany.
Ralchev performs several times in Europe, the USA, Canada, England, Israel, Africa, Russia, Turkey.
The musician participates in different music projects and seminars with European musicians and others: Ivo Papazov - Bulgaria, Stian Karstensen, Jovan Pavlovich, Bjorn Petter - Norway; Monique Lansdrop – Holland, Kornel Horvath, and Kalman Balogh – Hungary, Milcho Leviev – Bulgaria, Enver Izmailov – Ukraine, Teodosii Spasov- Bulgaria, No border orchestra from Norway, Other European projects with Alan Bern and others. He is a member of the LOBI project with Stephane Galland, Misirli Ahmet - Turkey. He plays and performs with Nedyalko Nedyalkov, Peyo Peev, Angel Dimitrov, Nikolai Georgiev from Bulgaria and Adam Stinga and Marin Bunea from Moldova.
Ralchev realize his first music book, produced by Universal Edition. He has selected 14 folk tunes of the Balkan region, arranging them for students of intermediate skills.
At the moment Mr. Ralchev participates as a guest soloist in different projects.