Toncho Russev

composer, performer

20.04.1932 – 10.04.2018Bourgas – Bulgaria

Toncho Russev graduated from the State Academy of Music in 1955 majoring in Trumpet under Professor Petar Karparov. He was member of the Burgas Symphony Orchestra and the symphony orchestra in Pernik, and later of the Sofia Opera Orchestra. In 1957 he was among the founding members of the orchestra at the Satire Theatre. When the orchestra became the Big Band of the Bulgarian National Radio in 1960, he was again its member. In 1962, together with Dimitar Ganev, Moris Aladjem and other musicians he founded the Balkanton Orchestra where he worked up to 1972. During the season 1972/73 he was chief of the Pop Music Section at the Concert Directorate. He was main artistic director of the Spectar Orchestra at the Kremikovtsi Metallurgy Plant, which he had created together with Ivan Kutikov in 1974. From 1980 to 1985 he was Director of the Bulgarian Pop Music Directorate. At the beginning of the 1990s he worked as music producer at the company Mega, and since 1996 he has been a freelancer.

He is one of the leading Bulgarian pop music composers. He began composing at the end of the 1950s (the orchestral piece Late at Night, the song Stars, performed by Georgi Kordov). He wrote children’s songs, music to theatre performances, TV children’s musicals, film music. All eminent Bulgarian singers performed hundreds of his songs. During the 1960s and the 1970s he worked in close collaboration with Lili Ivanova, in the 1980s with Vasil Naydenov, in the 1990s with Veselin Marinov. A number of foreign singers included his songs in their repertoire, among them Philip Kirkorov(he started his career with Rusev’s songs), Dagmar Frederik, Fara Maria, etc. The latter won the Grand Prix in Sopot (Poland) in 1978 performing Rusev’s song Fairytale. Most of the songs were created after poems by famous Bulgarian poets such as Damian Damianov, Pavel Matev, Petia Dubarova, Vanio Valchev or Evtim Evtimov.
His songs were published in a number of European countries, the USA and Canada. In 1978 an album with orchestral versions of his best songs was released in Cuba. In 2000 a CD called Birthday was released including his greatest hits.


Awarded songs at the festivals:
The festival in Tokyo: Fairs, performed by Lili Ivanova (third prize, 1973).

The festival in Paris: Footprints, performed by Lili Ivanova (third prize, 1973).

The Schlagerfestival in Dresden: Maybe, performed by the band Signal (first prize, 1980).

The festival in Cairo: New Year, performed by Deyan Nedelchev (third prize, 1995).

The Golden Orpheus Festival:
The Bird (1972), Our Summer performed by Lili Ivanova (1974) (first prize);
This World Is So Beautiful, performed by Lili Ivanova (1970);
If He Tells Me, performed by Rositsa Kirilova (1984) (Second prize);
I Was Born to Love, performed by Lili Ivanova (1969);
Remorse, performed by Vasil Naydenov (1987) (third prize);
My Dispersed Love, performed by Margarita Dimitrova (special prize, 1966);
The Golden Orpheus Grand Prix for total work (1981).

The festival Burgas and the Sea:

Winter Sea, performed by M. Chaushev (First prize, 1973).

The Spring Radio Competition:

When Spring Flourishes (1971);
Dream (1972);
Fabrication, performed by Lili Ivanova (1976);
Spring’75, performed by Hristo Kidikov;
The Almond Trees Blossom;
Children of the Sun (both performed by the duet Stefka Berova and Yordan Marchinkov);
Stay, performed by Vasil Naydenov (1983);
Bitter Wine, performed by Veselin Marinov (first prize, 1995);
Spring, performed by M. Chaushev (1974);
A Girl from the South, performed by Lili Ivanova (1977);
Telephone Love, performed by Vasil Naydenov (1982);
A Woman on the Balcony, performed by Veselin Marinov (second Prize, 1995).

The TV competition Melody of the Year:

Are You a Dream, performed by Lili Ivanova (1970);
Alone with the Wind, performed by Bogdana Karadocheva (1978);
Telephone Love (1982);
I Said Farewell (1985) (both performed by Vasil Naydenov);
Warm Rain, performed by Silvia Katzarova with the band LZ (1987);
Bitter Wine, performed by Veselin Marinov (1995).

The Pirin Folk Festival:

Your Husband (first prize, 1998);
Young Wine (1997) (both performed by Yordanka Vardjiiska and Rayko Kirilov);
Without Love, performed by Yordanka Vardjiiska (1995);
Eternal Pirin, performed by Ivan Gotzev (second prize, 1996).

The album Birthday:
Birthday, performed by Veselin Marinov;
Years, Years, performed by Bogdana Karadocheva;
Day and Night, performed by Philip Kirkorov;
Winter, performed by the band Tonika;
A Word, performed by Yordanka Hristova;
Love Me, Mum, performed by Sv. Trifonova;
Winter Holidays, performed by R. Bordjieva;
Stay, performed by Vasil Naydenov;
Autumn, performed by the band Domino;
Love for Love, performed by performed by D. Nedelchev;
All Is Music, performed by performed by Rositsa Kirilova and Georgi Hristov;
My Little Horse, performed by Vanya Kostova;
Promise Me Love, performed by Silvia Katzarova;
Wine and Love, performed by Veselin Marinov.

Film music to:
Julia Vrevska (Yuliya Vrevskaya), directed by Nikola Korabov (1977);
RMS Five, directed by Vlasislav Ikonomov (5-series TV film, 1977);
Typhoons with Gentle Names, directed by Milen Getov (3-series TV film, 1979).