Todor Kobakov

Todor Kobakov (born September 19, 1978) is a Bulgarian-Canadian composer, producer, arranger and pianist based in Toronto, Ontario. He is best known for his solo piano album Pop Music, his commercial and film scores and for his collaborations within Toronto's indie music scene.

Todor Kobakov
Todor Kobakov
Todor Kobakov
Background information
Born (1978-09-19) September 19, 1978 (age 43)
Sofia, Bulgaria
GenresContemporary Classical, Alternative, Electronic
Years active1998–present
Labels88 Calibre

Early lifeEdit

Kobakov was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, where he was raised by his mother and grandmother. He comes from a family of classical musicians all of whom are bass players.[1] Kobakov's grandmother played in the Bulgarian opera [1] and his mother worked at Bulgarian National Television as a producer of music programming.[1] Kobakov's musical training began at the piano as a toddler. At age seven, he was accepted into the Lubomir Pipkov Music School in Sofia where he studied for ten years.[2] Kobakov moved to Canada at age sixteen and graduated from the University of Toronto Music Faculty Program with a Performance Piano Degree at age twenty.[2]


While in university Kobakov interned at Krystal Music & Sound Design, a commercial music house based in Toronto. The owner, David Krystal, schooled Kobakov on composing music for picture, including the use of production equipment for sound design and mixing. Kobakov landed his first commercial, a Nikon spot, in 2000. He went on to a successful run as a freelance composer landing over a dozen Canadian commercials. In 2007, Kobakov landed his first major international campaign for Vodafone Europe. Other international campaigns followed most notably for Macy's (U.S.), Foot Locker (UK) and Robinsons (UK). In 2010, Todor scored Canadian Cancer Society's short film "Fight", which won[3] the Silver Lion at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

Indie CollaborationsEdit

In 2003, Kobakov wrote the string arrangements for indie pop band Stars critically acclaimed sophomore album Set Yourself On Fire. Kobakov gained considerable attention when Pitchfork Media gave the album an 8.4 rating[4] stating that "it might be the best orchestral pop album of the past year". Kobakov went on to score string arrangements for other prominent Canadian indie artists including Metric,[5] Emily Haines, k-os, Sarah Slean, Lindy, Small Sins and Dan Mangan. Kobakov has toured as a keyboardist with Emily Haines and The Soft Skeleton, Luke Doucet and Small Sins. In 2007, Kobakov and Lindy Vopnfjörð formed the indie rock band Major Maker. Their song "Rollercoaster" was licensed to a television commercial,[6] which propelled the song to a Top 40 radio hit in Canada and a Canadian distribution deal with EMI Music Canada.[7] That same year Kobakov was named "Toronto's Best Keyboardist" by Now Magazine.[8]

In July 2010, Metric enlisted Kobakov to compose a string version of their breakthrough album Fantasies to be performed at Vivid Live, a music festival held in Sydney, Australia curated by Lou Reed and Lori Anderson. Kobakov accompanied Haines to the festival where she performed the songs accompanied by a string quartet. Kobakov also played piano as Haines and Lou Reed performed Reed's song "Perfect Day". Metric also commissioned Kobakov to compose a string version of "Eclipse (All Yours)", the theme song from the movie The Twilight Saga: Eclipse which Metric co-wrote with Howard Shore. Kobakov's arrangements can also be heard on Metric's iTunes Live Session album released on January 4, 2011. Canadian hip-hop artist k-os commissioned Kobakov to compose string arrangements for his MTV Unplugged performance on March 31, 2011.

Film ScoresEdit

Kobakov has composed eight film scores to date.[9] His third film score of 2011 was for Fury,[10] a neo-noir thriller starring Samuel L. Jackson, directed by David Weaver and released in 2012. Kobakov's film scores often combine piano, modern orchestration and electronic sounds. Kobakov's first film score was for the 2007 hipster comedy Young People Fucking[11] which received significant media attention[12] at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival and further publicity when it was singled out[13] by Stephen Harper while the Canadian Prime Minister was campaigning for his controversial Bill C-10 proposal. Kobakov has since gravitated to darker, grittier films such as Fury, Cold Blooded,[14] Monster Brawl,[15] Pinkville,[16] Sympathy,[17] and Hit List, 2011.

In addition to his commercial and film work, Kobakov has scored television documentaries including Mega Heist which aired on The Discovery Channel and High Impact which aired on History Channel.

Solo releasesEdit

Kobakov's solo piano debut, Pop Music, was released in 2009 by 88 Calibre/Cuto. The Canadian release was distributed by EMI Music Canada while outside of Canada the album was released digitally via iTunes. The album features eleven songs, nine of which are instrumental and two which feature guest vocals by Emily Haines of Metric and Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio. The songs on Pop Music were inspired by Kobakov's life experiences in both Bulgaria and Canada. The album received strong critical acclaim across Canada. Montreal's Hour Community proclaimed[18] that "parts of Pop Music are so simultaneously vital and gentle we may need to invent a new word" while The Globe and Mail called[19] Kobakov "a piano stylist in the gorgeous whimsical form of Erik Satie." The official music video for "Toronto Stories" was directed by Jaron Albertin.

Kobakov has also released two electronic albums under the moniker Cy Scobie. The releases are characterized by a mix of electronic beats and dark undertones. Kobakov has also produced dance remixes for Emily Haines (Mostly Waving Todor K remix) and Major Maker (Rollercoaster Sofia Scandalli remix).


Year Title Director Genre
2013 Solo Isaac Cravit Mystery thriller
2012 The Samaritan David Weaver Neo-noir thriller
2011 Cold Blooded Jason Lapeyre Crime thriller
2011 Monster Brawl Jesse T. Cook Action horror comedy
2010 Hit List Minh Collins Dark comedy
2008 Pinkville Steven Garbas Psychological drama
2007 Sympathy Andrew Moorman Suspense, grindhouse
2007 Young People Fucking Martin Gero Romantic comedy
2015 Hellions Bruce McDonald Horror thriller
2015 Closet Monster Stephen Dunn

Commercialography (2008 - Present)Edit

Year Client Title Agency
2010 Amex Yes Ogilvy Canada
2010 Footlocker Again Sapient Nitro UK
2010 Canadian Cancer Society Fight DDB Canada
2010 Canadian Cancer Society Combat DDB Canada
2010 Toronto Rehab Rehabilitation Saves Lives Manifest Communications
2010 Winners Spring Time Ogilvy Canada
2009 Robinsons Imagine BBH London
2009 AIDS/HIV Awareness Shine Manifest Communications
2009 Chocolate Milk Recharge Grip Toronto
2009 Acura Master The Road Grip Toronto
2009 Acura Driving Conditions Grip Toronto
2008 Vodafone Cartwheel BBH London
2008 Macy's Anthem JWT NY

String ArrangementsEdit

Year Band/Artist Song Release Details
2013 Sara Bareilles I Wanna Be Like Me The Blessed Unrest
2011 k-os Astronaut MTV Unplugged
2011 k-os Born to Run MTV Unplugged
2011 k-os Burning Bridges MTV Unplugged
2011 k-os Man I Used To Be MTV Unplugged
2011 k-os Uptown Girl MTV Unplugged
2011 k-os Zambony MTV Unplugged
2010 Metric Eclipse (All Yours) Vivid Live (performance)
2010 Metric Help I'm Alive iTunes Session
2010 Metric Gimme Sympathy iTunes Session
2010 Metric Blindness Vivid Live (performance)
2010 Metric Gold, Guns, Girls Vivid Live (performance)
2010 Metric Satellite Mind Vivid Live (performance)
2009 Dan Mangan Nice, Nice, Very Nice Set The Sails LP
2007 Emily Haines Doctor Blind Knives Don't Have Your Back LP
2007 Emily Haines Reading In Bed Knives Don't Have Your Back LP
2007 Emily Haines Mostly Waving Knives Don't Have Your Back LP
2006 Small Sins Stay
2006 Lindy Beautifully Undone
2004 Sarah Slean Weight Orphan Music LP
2003 Stars One More Night Set Yourself On Fire LP
2003 Stars Set Yourself On Fire Set Yourself On Fire LP
2003 Stars Your Ex-Lover Is Dead Set Yourself On Fire LP


  1. ^ a b c Hearty Magazine Archived 2011-10-08 at the Wayback Machine,
  2. ^ a b Official Website Archived June 1, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Cannes Lions" (PDF). Cannes International Advertising Festival. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 2, 2012. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  4. ^ "Set Yourself On Fire Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 30, 2011.
  5. ^ "Prosite". Todor Kobakov. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  6. ^ "Dancing Will Be Secondary". Chart Attack. Retrieved July 27, 2010.
  7. ^ "Shop EMI". EMI Music Canada. Archived from the original on September 29, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  8. ^ "Now Magazine Best of Toronto 2007". Now Magazine. Archived from the original on October 22, 2012. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  9. ^ "Filmography". IMDB. Archived from the original on June 26, 2011. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  10. ^ "The Samaritan". IMDB. Archived from the original on September 23, 2011. Retrieved July 30, 2011.
  11. ^ "Young People Fucking". IMDB. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved July 30, 2011.
  12. ^ "Exclaim! TIFF Reviews". Exclaim!. Archived from the original on April 8, 2011. Retrieved July 30, 2011.
  13. ^ "Send a message on Bill C-10". Georgia Straight Magazine. Archived from the original on March 16, 2011. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  14. ^ "Cold Blooded". IMDB. Archived from the original on January 27, 2011. Retrieved July 30, 2011.
  15. ^ "Monster Brawl". IMDB. Archived from the original on July 9, 2011. Retrieved July 30, 2011.
  16. ^ "Pinkville". IMDB. Archived from the original on February 2, 2016. Retrieved July 30, 2011.
  17. ^ "Sympathy". IMDB. Archived from the original on November 20, 2011. Retrieved July 30, 2011.
  18. ^ "Hour - Disc Review". Hour Magazine. Retrieved July 30, 2011.
  19. ^ "Going Out". Globe and Mail. Retrieved July 30, 2011.