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Peter Omelchenko – domra soloist, composer, and arranger

Peter Omelchenko, until recently a member of Moscow’s Osipov balalaika orchestra, is a domra virtuoso, arranger, and composer who is currently a lead musician and soloist with the orchestra of the Washington Balalaika Society (WBS), with whom he had both soloed and conducted earlier as a featured guest artist. 

Peter spent his childhood in the south of Russia, where he was surrounded by the rich folk-music traditions of the Cossack people. Now a representative of today's leading school of Russian folk-instrument performance, Mr. Omelchenko studied at Moscow’s Gnessin Academy in the special class of Alexander Tsygankov, who particularly recognized the heartfelt character and distinctive timbre of Peter's domra technique. While still a student, Peter won significant awards at many prestigious competitions, such as the “Cup of the North” in Cherepovets, and before joining the Osipov orchestra, he was a member of the Nekrasov Radio and Television Folk Instrument Orchestra, also in Moscow, while performing regularly with several other Russian folk orchestras and smaller ensembles. Peter has appeared in some of Russia's most famous venues, including the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, and – as a guest artist with the Red Army Ensemble – the Bolshoi Theater. In the United States, he has performed on the Millennium Stage of Washington’s Kennedy Center, presented two solo recitals at the Lyceum Theater in Alexandria, Virginia, and participated in two successive national conventions of the Balalaika and Domra Association of America (BDAA) as a guest artist and teacher of domra master classes. His wide repertoire includes Russian and international folk music, classical music transcriptions, popular favorites, and his own compositions. 

In addition to his performing career, Peter has earned an enviable reputation as an arranger for large and small ensembles, and both the Osipov and Nekrasov orchestras – plus many other groups – have played his arrangements of a wide variety of music. Recently, for example, he arranged and orchestrated a Russian folk-instrument interpolation for world-famous tenor Andrea Bocelli’s new recording of “Lara’s Theme” from Doctor Zhivago, in which the Osipov orchestra participated.        

A consummate entertainer, Peter has also been active in musical theater, performing on stage in a number of roles: singing, dancing, and improvising on multiple instruments, while additionally contributing original music and choreography.  He also maintains a popular YouTube channel which presents interesting and unusual videos of folk-instrument performance.