Todor Kobakov

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Todor Kobakov
Todor Kobakov at the CFC 25th Anniversary Celebration in LA (8578221120).jpg
Todor Kobakov
Background information
Born (1978-09-19) September 19, 1978 (age 44)
Sofia, Bulgaria
GenresContemporary Classical, Alternative, Electronic
Years active1998present
Labels88 Calibre

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.


Early life

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 Collaborations

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 Scores

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. In 2021, he scored the documentary film Artificial Immortality , for which he won the Canadian Screen Music Award for best original score for a documentary feature film. [18]

He won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Original Score at the 11th Canadian Screen Awards in 2023 for Brother . [19]

Solo releases

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 [20] 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 [21] 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).


2013 Solo Isaac CravitMystery thriller
2012The SamaritanDavid WeaverNeo-noir thriller
2011Cold BloodedJason LapeyreCrime thriller
2011Monster BrawlJesse T. CookAction horror comedy
2010Hit ListMinh CollinsDark comedy
2008PinkvilleSteven GarbasPsychological drama
2007SympathyAndrew MoormanSuspense, grindhouse
2007 Young People Fucking Martin GeroRomantic comedy
2015 Hellions Bruce McDonald Horror thriller
2015 Closet Monster Stephen Dunn
2021 Artificial Immortality Ann Shin Documentary
2022 Brother Clement Virgo

Commercialography (2008 - Present)

2010AmexYesOgilvy Canada
2010FootlockerAgainSapient Nitro UK
2010Canadian Cancer SocietyFightDDB Canada
2010Canadian Cancer SocietyCombatDDB Canada
2010Toronto RehabRehabilitation Saves LivesManifest Communications
2010WinnersSpring TimeOgilvy Canada
2009RobinsonsImagineBBH London
2009AIDS/HIV AwarenessShineManifest Communications
2009Chocolate MilkRechargeGrip Toronto
2009AcuraMaster The RoadGrip Toronto
2009AcuraDriving ConditionsGrip Toronto
2008VodafoneCartwheelBBH London
2008Macy'sAnthemJWT NY

String Arrangements

YearBand/ArtistSongRelease Details
2013 Sara Bareilles I Wanna Be Like Me The Blessed Unrest
2011k-osAstronautMTV Unplugged
2011k-osBorn to RunMTV Unplugged
2011k-osBurning BridgesMTV Unplugged
2011k-osMan I Used To BeMTV Unplugged
2011k-osUptown GirlMTV Unplugged
2011k-osZambonyMTV Unplugged
2010MetricEclipse (All Yours)Vivid Live (performance)
2010MetricHelp I'm AliveiTunes Session
2010MetricGimme SympathyiTunes Session
2010MetricBlindnessVivid Live (performance)
2010MetricGold, Guns, GirlsVivid Live (performance)
2010MetricSatellite MindVivid Live (performance)
2009Dan ManganNice, Nice, Very NiceSet The Sails LP
2007Emily HainesDoctor BlindKnives Don't Have Your Back LP
2007Emily HainesReading In BedKnives Don't Have Your Back LP
2007Emily HainesMostly WavingKnives Don't Have Your Back LP
2004Sarah SleanWeightOrphan Music LP
2003StarsOne More NightSet Yourself On Fire LP
2003StarsSet Yourself On FireSet Yourself On Fire LP
2003StarsYour Ex-Lover Is DeadSet Yourself On Fire LP

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