Viacheslav Semionov was born in 1946 in Trubchevsk, Russia. Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, he began playing the bayan (chromatic accordion) at the age of 7. He continued his studies at the Rostov Art College and the Gnessins’ Musical Pedagogical Institute in Moscow (now called the Russian Gnessins Academy of Music), one of the great musical centres in Russia.
At 21 years of age his international career began, when he started to take part in accordion competitions in Klingenthal, Germany (1967), Sofia, Bulgaria (1968) and Berlin, Germany (1973), in all of which he was placed in the top three. As concert artist he has given concerts in more than 30 countries.
Viacheslav Semionov (who may rightly be called the founder of the modern school of the bayan) began teaching in 1968 at the Rostov Musical Pedagogical Institute. Since then, fifteen of his students have been competition winners at international level and many others of his students have won national competitions. Youri Shishkin, Anatoli Zaikin and Youri Dranga are among his best known students.
In addition to his intensive teaching schedule, he pursued his career on the concert stage, for which he received the following accolades:
-1977: awarded the title “Honoured Artist of Russia”
-1982: Vice-President of the music committee of the Confederation Internationale des Accorderonistes
-1983: granted degree of Professor
-1988: professor at the Russian Academy of Music
-1994: awarded the Silver Disk at the Intern. Festival “Bayan and Bayanists” in Moscow
-1995: awarded the highest possible honour “People’s Artist of Russia” by President Boris Yeltsin
As well as often being invited to give master classes at conservatories in Russia and abroad, he is frequently asked to judge at international competitions. Since 1991 he has been playing duo with his wife Natalya Semionova who plays the domra (a traditional Russian folk instrument). They have given concerts in the USA, China, and extensively throughout Europe.
Viacheslav is well known as a composer for the bayan. His compositions, “First Sonata”, “Four Rhapsody: Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Estonia”, “Don Rhapsody” and others, are considered standard repertoire by many accordionists in the world and his works are compulsory pieces for many international accordion competitions. His compositions have been published in both Russia and Germany. He has recorded several LPs and cassettes and in 1996 his first CD “Semionov plays his Transcriptions” was released.