Balalaika Soloist: Nicolas Kedroff
Nicolas Kedroff is a balalaika soloist and professor at the Rachmaninoff Conservatory in Paris, France. Being the descendant of a Russian family with a long history of artistic fame, including actors and musicians, it’s no wonder Nicolas was destined for greatness. Kedroff grew up in Paris among the Russian expat community, where he discovered balalaika at age 13, immediately fell in love with the instrument, and devoted his life to it. Kedroff studied the balalaika with Micha Makarenko (Paris), Sergei Cheglovitov (Moscow), and was a guest of the great balalaikist Mikhaïl Rojkov and of the Liège Symphony Orchestra.
Nicolas was invited to play several times with the Russian National Osipov Orchestra, the world’s premier Russian folk orchestra, and was first foreign balalaikist in history to win the prestigious Northern Cup Competition in Russia. For his skill and service, the French government awarded Kedroff for “significantly contributing to the enrichment of the French cultural inheritance.” As such, he holds the honor of being a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters.
He has performed in a number of ensembles, in the Parisian Russian cabarets Balalaika and Raspoutine, in countless event evenings, radio and television programs, prestigious festivals and concert halls in France and abroad, and in the recordings of about forty albums. He has been applauded by many personalities, such as the legend of Russian song Ludmila Zykina, the pianist Georges Cziffra, and the French presidents Jacques Chirac and François Mitterand.
Kedroff is a prodigious musician and is considered to be one of the best western balalaikists. He was able to create his own style of playing, both melancholic and humorous, intelligent and brilliant with breathtaking virtuosity. So unique, he has acquired the fitting titles of “Paganini of Balalaika” (Le Parisien) as well as the “Extraterrestrial of Balalaika” (Le Midi Libre) and the “Balalaika Magician.”