In 2014, trade publication Playback placed Todor Kobakov on their New Establishment Top Five in Canadian film. The acclaimed film composer, keyboardist, string arranger and producer has since justified the tag with his prolific and high-quality work. The 2015 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) premiered four films scored by Tobakov: Bruce McDonald’s Hellions (co-composed with Ian LeFeuvre), Stephen Dunn’s Closet Monster (with Maya Postepski), Robert Budreau’s Born To Be Blue (with co-composers David Braid and Steve London), and Andrew Currie’s The Steps (LeFeuvre again).

Prominent earlier films Kobakov has scored include the infamous Young People Fucking and Bruce McDonald’s The Husband, and he’s been the only composer used on the two seasons of hit Space TV series Bitten.

“Every project is different. It keeps my life interesting.”

The film bug hit the Bulgarian-born, University of Toronto-educated Kobakov early, he explains. “My mom worked in television all my life [as a music programmer] so I grew up on the set with her, around cameras and editing suites,” he says. “I’ve always wanted to work in film but it takes awhile to have those opportunities. It requires a little more maturity and experience to get into film, and I followed some different musical avenues.”

Kobakov has long worked as a keyboardist, string arranger and producer for such major Canadian artists as Metric, Stars, Dan Mangan, Emily Haines, k-os, and Luke Doucet. “That experience has been invaluable,” he says. “For example, on season two of Bitten, I used a real string quartet for each episode. Having done so many string arrangements for pop artists, that was an easy transition. In the pop world, you’re working on projects that may not have your own songs, but you’re trying to complement them as much as possible. Being a producer or arranger is very much like being a composer, [because] film is very much a team effort.”

Film suits his eclectic tastes, he says: “Every project is different. It keeps my life interesting, and I always try to inject some of my own thing into everything I do.” Career advice he treasures came from Robert Messinger, the agent for Mychael Danna, Kobakov’s mentor at The Canadian Film Centre. “He told me, ‘Make sure you’re known for the work you do, and do movies that reflect your musical voice, rather than just as the guy who does everything. Make sure you’re cast in the movie, as opposed to being hired in the movie.’”


  • In 2006, Kobakov and acclaimed singer-songwriter Lindy Vopnfjörd formed indie rockers Major Maker and notched a 2007 Top 40 radio hit with the song “Rollercoaster,” which was then licensed for a TV ad campaign. Kobakov is now producing the new Lindy album.
  • In 2013, Kobakov was part of the inaugural Canadian Film Centre Slaight Family Music Lab composer residency, an experience he calls “life-changing.” He met Bruce McDonald there, and nine months later he and Ian LeFeuvre were scoring The Husband.
  • Kobakov released an acclaimed piano album, Pop Music, in 2009. He was once named Toronto’s Best Keyboardist by NOW

Publisher: N/A
Selected Filmography: Young People Fucking (2007), The Husband (2013), Bitten (TV series, 2014-2015), Hellions (2015), Born To Be Blue (2015)
Member since 1999