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Peter Ostroushko

The musical traditions of the Ukraine are fused with an aural reflection of America's Midwest by mandolin and fiddle player Peter Ostroushko. Best known for his regular appearances on National Public Radio show A Prairie Home Companion, Ostroushko (pronounced: Oh-STREW-shko) has consistently achieved high standards with his solo recordings and duo albums with Minnesota-based acoustic guitarist Dean Magraw. Equally skillful on fiddle and mandolin, Ostroushko is, according to flatpicking guitar wiz Norman Blake, "the next Jethro Burns and Johnny Gimble rolled into one."

Ostroushko has been playing music most of his life. As the son of Ukrainian immigrants Wasyl and Katerina Ostroushko, Ostroushko grew up listening to his father, a shoemaker, playing traditional songs of his homeland on guitar and mandolin. Although he appeared on A Prairie Home Companion in 1974, the first year that the show was broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio, Ostroushko didn't become a full-time cast member until the show went national in 1980. During the six years in between, Ostroushko worked as a session musician in Nashville. In addition to working on albums by Jethro Burns, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Chet Atkins, and Johnny Gimble, Ostroushko played mandolin, though uncredited, on the tune "If You See Her, Say Hello" from Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks album. Ostroushko also toured with Robin & Linda Williams and Norman & Nancy Blake.

Sluz Duz Music, Ostroushko's debut solo album, was released in 1982. The title referred to Ostroushko's description of his music, based on the Ukrainian words meaning "over the edge" or "off his rocker." Ostroushko's second effort, Down the Streets of My Neighborhood, released in 1986, included a medley of Ukrainian songs and an interpretation of Hank Williams' "Hey, Good Lookin'" sung in Ukrainian. Ostroushko's albums have featured an illustrious list of supportive musicians. The Mando Boys, Ostroushko's third album, released in late 1986, featured a fez-wearing group that began when Ostroushko formed the Lake Woebegone Municipal Mandolin Orchestra for a tour with Garrison Keillor and the cast of A Prairie Home Companion. The same year, Ostroushko recorded First Generation with concertina player Bertram Levy.

Ostroushko's next album, Buddies of Swing, released in 1987, was a jazz-tinged collaboration with Jethro Burns (mandolin), Johnny Gimble (fiddle), Butch Thompson (piano), Dean Magraw (guitar), and Prudence Johnson (vocals). After recording the solo album Blue Mesa, released in 1989, with guest appearances by Norman & Nancy Blake, Daithi Sproule, and Magraw, Ostroushko and Magraw collaborated on the album Duo, released in 1991. Ostroushko's most successful recording, Heart of the Heartland, released in 1995, was an all-instrumental exploration of the Midwest. In addition to receiving a NAIRD award as "best independently released folk instrumental album," the album was featured on Ken Burns' PBS documentary Lewis and Clark. The following year, Ostroushko released Pilgrims on the Heart Road, which he described in the liner notes as "a collection of songs that are a companion piece to Heart of the Heartland." Sacred Heart followed in 2000.

Ostroushko maintained a prolific release schedule after the turn of the millennium, with a number of albums issued by the Red House label, including 2002's Meeting on Southern Soil (a duo recording with Norman Blake) as well as Coming Down from Red Lodge (2003), the public television series original score Minnesota: A History of the Land and The Heartland Holiday Concert (both 2005), Postcards (2006), and When the Last Morning Glory Blooms (2010). He has also worked closely with the Children's Theater in Minnesota and the ACT Theater, and one of his most ambitious projects was an appearance as lead ukulele player with the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra. ~ Craig Harris
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Mando Chronicles

Disc 1

1. Paddy On The Turnpike

2. Ace Of Spades/Brilliancy

3. Lantern In The Ditch

4. Mr. Bill Hinkley's March To The Promised Land

5. Crossing The Cumberlands

6. Proud Boys Of Manassas/Bull Run Picnic

7. Long March Through Texas

8. Old Virginia Reel

9. Herald Of Spring/Civil War March

10. Monkey On A Dog Cart

11. Heliotrope Bouquet

13. Flapperette

14. Sweet Georgia Brown

15. In A Sentimental Mood

16. C Jam Blues

17. Entrance Of The Gladiators

Disc 2

2. Krokadyeel/Orelitsya

3. Stoli Hori

4. Tashka/Chervonyee Cherevitchkee

5. Moldavian Dance Tune

6. Pereschitya

8. Vals From Orsa

9. Tarantella Di Mirto

10. Avec Relais

11. Aida

12. Bouclette

13. Una Bambola

14. Coeur Vagabond

15. Ed Reavy's/Gusty's Frolic/Miss Patterson's Slippers/Rakish Paddy

16. Lament For Captain Henry O'Kane/Mama's Pet/The Banks

17. The Humors Of Tullycrine/Sporting Paddy/Lough Isle Castle/Reel In The Key Of A

18. The Knackers Of Naven/The Salamanca/The Nine Points Of Roguery

Disc 3

12. (Laid To Rest) Beneath Oklahoma Soil

13. Madeline

14. Ciumento

15. Os Cinco Companheiros

16. Gostosinho

17. Diabinho Maluco

x

Track List: When The Last Morning Glory Blooms

1. Maycomb, Alabama 1936

2. When The Last Morning Glory Blooms

3. The B And B Waltz

4. Napoleon Crossing The Alps

5. The Nine Years Waltz

6. Down Where The River Bends

7. Marjorie's Waltz #4

8. The A And A Waltz

9. Waltz For Sedra

10. Memories Of Tyler, Texas

x

Track List: Postcards

1. Manassas Junction

2. Baghdad Blues

3. St. Augustine Lullaby

4. Saturday Night Guys Cruising Van Nuys

5. When The City Of Angels Sleeps

6. Dayton Cakewalk Delight

7. Bemidji Blues

8. Cashdollar's Berkshire Blues

9. Tecumseh

10. McCully's Waltz

11. Montenegro

12. Meditation On The Thin Space At St. Paul's Chapel

x

Track List: Coming Down From Red Lodge

1. Coming Down From Red Lodge

2. (Peter's Most Excellent) Trip To Donegal

3. Teelin' Bay Waltz

4. President George W. Bush's Hornpipe

5. New Smyrna Serenade

6. Cashdollar Blues

7. East Texas Waltz

8. Topanga Canyon Strut

10. Hymn: Page 9/11

x

Track List: Sacred Heart

1. Boston

3. Puckett's Farewell

4. Lafayette

5. Even The Ravens Mourn Over You

6. Three Crows

7. Tatiana's Lament

8. Sloboda

9. Medicine Bow

10. Madison

x

Track List: Heart Of The Heartland

1. Seattle (The Fantasy Reel)

2. Prairie Sunrise

3. Puppy Belly Dance

4. Montana

5. Dakota Themes

6. Heart Of The Heartland

7. Nicaragua: Prelude And Dance

8. Sweet Betsy From Pike

9. Virginia Reel From Hell Medley

10. (Twilight On) The Sangre De Cristos

x

Track List: Sluz Duz Music

1. The Last Stand

2. Freidrich Polka

3. Marjorie's Waltz

4. Fiddle Tune Medley

5. Burnt Biscuit Breakdown

6. Sleepy Jesus Rag

7. Sluz-Duz Polka

8. Katerina's Waltz

9. Christian Creek

10. Co. Kerry To Kiev Medley

Comments

Report as inappropriate
What a lovely, flawless musician... I've loved him since I first heard him on Prairie Home!
Report as inappropriate
justsurrah
He's Amazing, he's Awesome,he's Fantastic
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marygrider
A musical teddy bear! I love him.
Report as inappropriate
i think that his music gives peace to my soul and helps me relax.So therefore he is an amazing artists
Report as inappropriate
Peter Ostroushko is The Fiddle King. If he married Natalie McMaster, their child would be The FIDDLE GOD. ^_^
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texkel2
Brings out my inner Ukranian....
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laytontalber t
Fantastic player!
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a master player..or do I state the obvious?
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lbjdirect4
YES to this lively & delightful american blend of Ukranian-Iri s h bluegrass - wow!
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Fine, fine sound, grateful to listen to this talent
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Soothing, relaxing my werrie mind
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This guy plays so pure music I could list to him forever. Really fast fingers.
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u gotta like someone that chet atkins play alongside :))
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you are inbetwen my heros -- ackermann and hedges
thanks
Report as inappropriate
If I was good enough at Uke, it'd be fun to accompany him!
Report as inappropriate
I wish i could play like this. This music is the ult!!!!
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Peter is one masterful artist. Now you now why Garrison Kellor uses Peter's awesome and tasteful talent on his radio shows.
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His Christmas concert at the Fitz in St. Paul is an annual must-see/hea r .
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this music is soo beutiful. if my soul could stretch out its invisble arms the'ld cross around the globe and nestle between the notes of peter ostroushko
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lcherney3
I have loved his music for quite some time. Amazing fiddle and mando player with beautiful delicate playing but can also 'rock out'.
Report as inappropriate
I got to here him preform live with my sister's orchestra. He's so fun and so passionate about his music! His songs are haunting, with a little of many different kinds of music.
Report as inappropriate
This fiddle melody is like a derge in the beginning and ends a jig I about flipped it of in the begining then the jig I didn't care to much for this piece but as melodies go OK! It at least had celtic influence I like.

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