The accordionist Petar Ralchev is one of the virtuoso and innovative musicians of the generation born in the 60s of the last century. Behind his restrained facial expression and contained ostentation, every time before the listener is revealed a musician with extraordinary virtuosity and emotionality. When he began his journey as a musician of the younger generation that has Bulgarian folk music in their blood, he already has mastered the skills of the legend musicians like Boris Karlov, Ibro Lolov, Ivan Shibilev, Petko Dachev etc.
Petar Ralchev was born on August 26, 1961 in the village of Poibrene, district of Pazardzhik.
They say about him, as like about young Mozart that when he was only five, he played by ear a folk tune, which his uncle used to play. With such a talent, it was only natural for the boy to go for musical education.
He mastered the secrets of the accordion at the Children’s Music School in Pazardjik in the class of Kostadin Milarov. He continued his education at the Secondary Music School in Plovdiv where he was a student of Mihail Mihailov. In 1977, he received first prize in the contest for young musicians in Chirpan. Around that time also came the prize in the competition for young virtuoso accordion performers in Italy.
In 1978, violinist Georgi Yanev gave the idea to found the “Orpheus Orchestra”. The music of Orpheus Orchestra became recognizable and demanded by the young audience. It impressed not only with unprecedented virtuosity and crazy tempo, but also with insertion of different elements, thus, creating an impressive mix.
I remember a piece of violinist Georgi Yanev with the Orpheus Orchestra, called “Gypsy Waltz”, containing no waltz, but a lot of gypsy. It infected with its frantic gaiety, with kaleidoscope of themes, raising violent and uncontrollable emotion. The musicians got ecstatic, outplaying each other, straining their imagination and the tempo reached the limits of virtuosity and innovative artistry.
Ralchev remained with this formation until 1983. The musician needed to try different styles, to touch different elements. For a long time he worked with the Ivo Papazov’s “Trakia Orchestra”. Then he joined the band of the clarinet player Delcho Mitev “Thracian Soloists”.
Having gained sufficient experience and repertoire, since 1990 Petar Ralchev began active concert activity in different cities of America and Europe. And although the US audience welcomed him very well, the European continent remained his preference: France, Germany, Hungary, Russia and Austria. Again he won first prizes at prestigious international festivals
Now, in his adulthood, Ralchev is one of the leading figures in the genre. Therefore, he is involved in a variety of formats that enrich the perceptions of the audience of the revolution in the 90s that made the Balkan ethno music.