Liuben Todorov


07.05.1905 - 08.08.1987Shumen – Bulgaria

Liuben Todorov was born on April 24th, 1905 in Shumen in a family of teachers. Konstantin Teodorov Dimitrov, L. Todorov’s father, became a painter and for many years taught art at the all-Girl High School in Varna. Liuben Todorov’s grandfather Teodor Dimitrov has been an avid supporter of Petko Rachov Slavejkov in his struggle to create a Bulgarian Orthodox Church Patriarchy that is independent from Constantinople. Petko Slavejkov was invited and christened the twin sons of his associate, and named them after the Miladinov brothers: Konstantin and Dimitar. L. Todorov’s mother Zoya Panteleeva Papasova is granddaughter of Ducho Hadzhiivanov, buried in the ground of the church ”Holy Ascension” in the town Shumen as a known benefactor of the church and school. Zoya Panteleeva was very gifted musician and by invitation of maestro Dobri Christov became the soloist of the choir at the Varna Musical Society ”Gusla”, founded on August 27th, 1899. Dobri Christov was conductor of the choir.
(Liuben K. Todorov is registered in his birth certificate with surname ”Teodorov” – the father’s name of his father. However, from the name drops out along his roads as a military conductor.)
Liuben Todorov received his primary, secondary and high school education in Varna. In 1930 he became a graduate of the Conservatory, from the Violin class of Hans Cox. In the Conservatoire L. Todorov studied music theory with Dobri Christov and Nickola Atanasov and history of music with Stoyan Brashovanov. His first earnest attempts at composing music started during his student years. His talent was highly regarded by Acad. Dobri Christov, who, in a letter of recommendation from June 26th, 1930, noted that ”Liuben Todorov has demonstrated extraordinary qualities of a young man with solid sense for music and talent for creative composition. During his last exam in orchestral conducting he also showed considerable ability.”
In 1926, already a student in Sofia, at the Bulgarian State Conservatoire (today’s: National Academy of Music ”Prof. Pantcho Vladigerov”) he was accepted as first violin with the National Theatre Orchestra in Sofia. Two years later he took the first violin chair at the National Guard Orchestra. His first solo violin concerto including his own compositions was given on March 20th, 1929, in the salon of Dr. Long. From 1930 to 1931 he was a teaching trainee at Third Male High School of Excellence ”William Gladstone” in Sofia. During this period he continues to perform his pieces in author concerts. His compositions have been performed by his classmates Marin Goleminov (viola), Vladimir Avramov, Ivan Peev, Michail Balkanski, Christo Brumbarov, Nora Duneva and others. In the summer of 1931 L. Todorov entered a competition for the newly opened position of chapel master of the Military Academy Orchestra, vacated by maestro Georgi Atanasov because of his ailing health. Todorov took the first place and was assigned to the job. After this he continued working as chapel master in Plovdiv (1932-1935), Pazardjik (1935-1942) and Varna (1942-1948).
In 1933 Liuben Todorov, with the assistance of other musician like Avram Litman, Boris Kochev and Nichoilaj Kenov, assembled instrumentalists, military musicians, music teachers and amateur musicians from other trades (architects, doctors, dentists) to found the Plovdiv Symphony Orchestra and become its first conductor. The first rehearsal was held in the hall of the Plovdiv’s Song Society. The repertoire included works by Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Dvorzhak, Schubert, Weber, and Mendelssohn. The concerts enjoyed high attendance. In 1945 the orchestra was transformed into the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra. Thus, Liuben Todorov in fact is the founder of the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra.
Liuben Todorov is inducted into membership of the Union of Bulgarian Composers on July 5th, 1940.
L. Todorov took part in the Patriotic War (1944-1945) and at the front composed his overture ”Hey slavs” that was later awarded the prize of the Committee of Science, Art and Culture.
Liuben Todorov was the conductor of the Wind Orchestra of the 8th Naval Infantry Regiment in Varna. In 1948 he becomes one of the founders of the State School of Music ”Dobri Christov” in Varna. Since then until the end of his work career he served as a full time instructor at the school, where he taught violin, viola and score reading.
L. Todorov was avid supporter of the amateur art. In 1949 he created and led the Aviator’s Choir in Varna. In 1952 he created and conducted the Ensemble of Educators which includes a mixed choir and orchestra. Lyuben Todorov is the choir conductor.
Some of more prominent pupils of Liuben Todorov were the musicians: prof. Vesselin Parashkevov, prof. Peter Kurparov, prof. Bozhidar Karastoyanov, Bozhidar Dobrev, Krasimira Yordanova. Roumiana Atanasova, Milko Dimitrov.
Here are some reports about Liuben Todorov’s works:
”The work of Liuben Todorov Symphony N1” is a valued contribution to our realistic music literature. This work, created into the pattern of the folk song, containing melodies, close to the listeners, continues the course in our music formed by the works of Dobri Christov and Petko Stainov. (Konstantin Iliev, composer and conductor).
”The music public long ago has appraised the Liuben Todorov’s works. His works have been performed in full concert halls; this is not typical for symphony concerts.” (Vladimir Cheshmedzhiev, editor in ”Uchitelsko delo”; 10.II.1976 Рі.).
In an interview, the composer shared his belief: ”Art in general and music in particular, represents a sublime, noble and verdant field of expression for the creative spirit. Art should be presented as a gift, with a sense of awareness and understanding of the ideals of the people the art was created for. In the temple of creativity one should enter with sacrilege and responsibility. Art should bring beauty, should instill optimism and security, and make the spirit cheer.” (quote from an interview for the newspaper ”Narodno delo”, iss.192, 09.22.1984, p.4; Olga Boeva: ”A creator in two epochs”).
Liuben Todorov left us over 340 opuses including concertos, symphonies, quartets, chamber orchestra pieces, choral and solo songs.
He is the winner of the following awards:
For his creative and teaching work and to honor of his 70th anniversary Liuben Todorov was awarded the ”Cyril and Methodius” 1st degree National Order.
For his participation in the Patriotic War he was awarded four medals.
Certificate 75 years of self-made choral art – for active participation in the development of self-made choral art in the city of Varna;
Honorary member of the Philharmonic Society.

He left the world of the living on August 8, 1987, in Varna.
In 2005, one of L. Todorov’s viola students, the musicologist Bozhidar Dobrev, published the book ”…to serve the people with music… Liuben Todorov – about the life and work of the composer”.
On May 11th, 2015 Liuben Todorov’s 110th Anniversary was celebrated at the concert hall of the Union of Bulgarian Composers and featured his selected works. Liuben Todorov left considerable trace in the Bulgarian national culture with his work as composer, with his activity as conductor, with his achievement as music teacher.


Orchestra music:
Works for symphony orchestra:

Symphony N 1 Symphony of the liberty in three parts (1971-1973); Symphony N 2 For the liberty in four parts (1975); Symphony N 3 For peace and liberty in four parts, for choir and orchestra (1979); Concert overture ”Hey Slavs!” (1944-1945); Symphonic poem ”Harvest days in Dobrudzha” in five parts (1957); Symphonic poem ”Vihren” (1965); Symphonic poem ”Smolyan” (1971); Symphonic suite N1 (1954); Symphonic suite N2 (1956); Youth fantasy (1964);; Two symphonic pictures (1940); Symphonic tale ”The wolf and the seven kids” for orchestra and reader (1960).

Works for string orchestra:

Suite ”Orpheus”; Bulgarian rhapsody; Suite N1; Suite N2; Collection of Bulgarian folk songs for string orchestra etc.

Works for wind orchestra:

Three campaign marches (1932); Suite for brass band (1935); Black Sea region (1936); Folk march (1936); Fantasy (1939); For the folk (1941); Hey Slavs! (With choir) (1944); The attack near Starbovatz (1945); Bulgarian military exploits (Collection of military marches with choir, trumpeters and drummers) (1945); Bulgarian-Soviet melodies (1946); Funeral procession N 1, Funeral procession N 2 (two funeral marches) (1972); Folkloriad (1977).

For Choir and orchestra:

New day (lyrics Plamen Tsonev) – cantata for soloist, choir and orchestra;
Farewell (lyrics Hristo Botev) – cantata for soloist, choir and orchestra;
The immortal teacher (lyrics Mladen Isaev) – cantata for soloist, piano, choir and orchestra;
The day bears – cantata for choir and orchestra.

Music scenic genres:
”Ship of youth” operetta (libretto Stoyan Georgiev);
”The magic box” operetta (libretto Tsvetan Angelov);
”Spring rays” child operetta (according to Nikita Nikitov, scenic setting P. Peichev) (1963);
”Forest tale” child operetta (according to the poem of Tsvetan Spasov) for soloists, choir and ballet, with piano or small orchestra);

”0-1 for us” – musical drama (1963);
”Legend of Kaliakra” – ballet in four acts (libretto Stoyan Georgiev);
”Bee hive” – child ballet (libretto Zdravko Ivanov).

Instrumental work
Concerts for solo instrument/s/ and orchestra:

Concert for piano and orchestra N 1; Concert for piano and orchestra N 2 (1969-1970); Concert for two pianos and orchestra; Concert for two violoncellos and orchestra (1964);

Concerts for solo instrument and piano:

Concert for violin and piano N 1 (1928); Concert for violin and piano N 2 (1929); Concert for viola and piano (1962); Concert for violoncello and piano / orchestra.

For Violin and Piano:

Serenade (1923); Revelation (1945); Folksong (1946); Concertino for violin and piano (1950); Barkarola (1954); Commemorative (1959); Caprice (A-dur) (1960); Rhodope song (1963); Romance (1964); Melancholy song (1973); etc.

For Viola Solo / Viola and Piano:

Folksong (1946); Caprice (F#-Minor) (1952); Barkarola (1954); Evening song (1956); Ruchenitsa (1957); Legend (1959); Caprice (D#-Dur) (1959); Andante (G-Minor, from a String quartet) (1959); Melancholy (1967); Mother’s song (1967) etc.

For Violoncello and Piano:

Evening song; Two funeral songs; Elegy; In freedom; Mother’s pain; Spring song;

For Contrabass and Piano:

Adagio; Andante.

For piano:

A small fantasy (Christmas theme) (1928); Barkarola (1959); Legend (1959); Etude (1961); Prelude (1962); Four romances (1963); Scherzo (1963); Novella (1969); Who bought you the little belt (folks song) (1970); A melancholy song (1973) etc.

Piano Pieces for Child Musical School:

Moderato (C-Dur) (1953); Andantino ”The first snow” (1956); Allegro Moderato (C-Dur) (1957); Allegro Moderato (G-Moll) (1957); Allegretto (on a folk song) (1958); Moderato (D- Moll) (1958); Legend (1959); A little scherzo (1974) etc.

Instrumental Ensembles:

”Legend” 4 violins (1927); ”Haidouk song” 2 violins and viola (1954); ”Rhodope landscape (G-Dur)” string quartet; String quartet from the Cycle ”Festal days”; Quartet for 4 violins; Duet for 2 violin; String quartet ”Early is Radka get up”; ”Two songs without words” string quartet; ”Elegy” string quartet; ”Commemorative” string quartet; ”A little trio” string trio; ”A little suite” string quartet; Serenade for flute, clarinet, and piano; Duet for violin and viola; Duet for two violas; ”Tango” for clarinet, trumpet, and trombone; ”A hearty welcome” for vibraphone, violin, and piano.

Vocal music:
Songs for solo voice and piano:

Hey, you my Black Sea! (1959); A letter to the soldier (1960); O, my dear city! (lyrics Nikolay Minchev) (1960); A song for Varna (lyrics Peder Husangay) (1961); Salute to the sailor (lyrics Petar Liondev) (1963); A song for the motherland (lyrics Asen Kaloyanov) (1964); You know this wonderful city? (lyrics Evgenij Teodorov) (1967); Do not leave nothing for tomorrow! (lyrics Vasilka Hinkova) (1978); Hungarian violinist (lyrics Vasilka Hinkova) (1979); Fighting friendship (lyrics Liuben Todorov) (1979); Eh, my heart! (lyrics Petar Liondev); At Drava (lyrics Ivan Milchev); Cradle-song (lyrics Liuben Todorov) etc.

Choir Songs with accompaniment of piano / Choir a capella:

Unity (1947); Ready to guard the peace! (1952); A song for the aviator (1952); A song for Velingrad (1957); Varna lyrics Nikolay Minchev (1958); A harvest song lyrics Liubomir Vladkov (1958); Dobrudja (1958); Sports song (1958); A song for the tractor (1959); My beautiful Varna! (1959); O, my precious city! lyrics Nikolay Minchev (1960); Anthem lyrics Nikola Vapzarov (1965); Let we work! lyrics Ivan Vazov (1966); My mother Bulgaria! lyrics Vladimir Bashev (1967); Fighting friendship (1978); First of May lyrics Elisaveta Bagriana (1979); Varna in the centuries; Moon serenade; A letter to the soldier; Still night etc.

Folk songs for solo with accompaniment of piano / chamber orchestra:

I saw a pretty girl; Damianko; Who bought you the little belt; Panajot to Bojka told; Collection of comic songs; A nightingale sings; Last night Yanka from the Balkan came; Turks to Todorka spoke; Mamma, why you was up early etc.