People refer to Theodosii Spassov as “the kaval player of the world”. Indeed, Theodosii Spassov’s fans all over the world form a very wide circle. Born on March 4, 1961 in the town of Isperih, he graduated from the Philip Kutev National School of Folk Arts in Kotel and then the Plovdiv Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts. He is acknowledged as a virtuoso kaval performer, who is capable of playing any folk melody with style. What makes him even more popular are his original ideas, the realization of which brings together musicians of diverse genres.
He was the first to play jazz on kaval and the mixing of traditional folk music with elements of jazz and classical music is at the basis of almost all original pieces composed by Theodosii. Theodosii Spassov developed his own unique playing style. His performances are an unusual synthesis of traditional folklore, jazz and classical music. In the recent years he has been busy composing scores for film and theatre, as well as music for symphonic orchestra and kaval. He has recorded over 38 CDs, containing solo performances and collaborations with various musical formations.
Theodosii plays with folk, jazz and classical orchestras and bands, famous Bulgarian and foreign musicians, including the Music Bands of the Bulgarian National Radio, the Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Vocal Choir, known for the Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares project, the Philip Koutev Ensemble, Ivo Papazov, Georgi Yanev, Petar Ralchev, Milcho Leviev, Yıldız İbrahimova, Simeon Shterev, Veselin Nıkolov, Petar Petrov, Anatoliy Vapirov, Acoustic Version, the band of the Indian percussionist Trilok Gurtu, Rabih Abou-Khalil, Glen Velez, Dave Liebman,Glen Moore, Mino Cinélu, Paul McCandless, Billy Cobham, Marc Johnson, Kazumi Watanabe. For three years, he was a member of the Irish music and dance company Riverdance. His collaboration with the conductor Kristjan Järvi, the guitarists Vlatko Stefanovski and Miroslav Tadić for the Balkan Fever project was jointly presented with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 1995, Newsweek listed him among the most talented East European musicians in its Best of the East column, noting that “Spassov is not merely surviving the post-communist cultural wasteland. He has actually invented a new musical genre.”
In addition to his live performances, Theodosii takes part in recordings for film and theatre. He works alongside artists such as Ennio Morricone and Carlo Siliotto.
Theodosii Spassov is a holder of many distinctions and awards, among which the International Academy of Arts in Paris Award (1996), Music Artist of the Year Award (1997 and 2002), the Apollo Toxophoros statuette for his pronounced contribution to Bulgarian music and worldwide success (2001), the National Film Centre Award for film music (2007 and 2016), the Dobri Chintulov Award for contribution to Bulgarian culture (2009). In 2011, he was presented with the highest honour of the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture, the Golden Age, for his significant contribution to the development and popularization of Bulgarian culture and traditional music. He was also granted with the Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius by the Bulgarian state – first grade with collar, for exceptional contribution to Bulgarian culture (2013), the honorary title Doctor honoris causa by the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts in Plovdiv (2014) and was named UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2015.
The Music School in Kotel The Academy of Music and Dance in Plovdiv
Jazz Linia, “Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares”, Trio “Bulgarka”, National Radio Sofia Orchestras, Ivo Papazov, Yldiz Ibrahimova, Vesselin Nikolov, Milcho Leviev, Acoustic Version, Dave Liebman, Dimitrios Vassilakis, Andy Sheppard, Jamey Haddad, Albert Mangelsdorf, Mark Johnson, Trilok Gurtu, Kazumi Watanabe, Glen Velez, Rabih Abou-Khalil, Matt Darriau, Boyan Zulfikarpasic, Dionisis Savopulos, Paul McCandless, Glen Moore, Billy Cobham, Ennio Morricone
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Germany, Greece, Holland, India, Israel, Japan, Nepal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the U.K. and the U.S..
“Riverdance”- Irish music and dance extravaganza 1998-2001
Spassov invented a new musical genre. The American magazine is absolutely right. The Bulgarian genius developed a completely new style of playing the KAVAL, which is a shepherd’s flute consisting of wood and one of the oldest instruments in Europe.
Theodosii gets everything out of his KAVAL when playing his unique compositions. They include elements of traditional folklore music as well as jazz, classical music and even pop. His very own way of playing has not only impressed audiences during his concerts and festival appearances, but also fellow musicians, who cooperated with THEODOSII SPASSOV in the past years. Among them are Dave Liebman, Andy Sheppard, Yldiz Ibrahimova, Ennio Morricone, Jamey Haddad, Albert Mangelsdorff, Mark Johnson, Kazumi Watanabe and many others. With his amazing trio,
Spassov performed in Argentina, Australia, Austria,Brazil, Canada, Finland, Germany, Greece, Holland, India, Israel, Japan, Nepal, Russia,Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the U.K., the U.S. and of course in Bulgaria, where he is known as a national hero. All over the world, he is known as a GRAMMY WINNER (with “Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares”, 1994), as a movie score composer and genius performer. His steadily growing fan community is addicted to his music. Theodosii Spassov began studying the KAVAL at early age at The Academy Of Music and Dance in Plovdiv/Bulgaria. Later, he recorded 10 solo albums (e.g. “The Fish Are Praying For Rain”, see discography below) and contributed to 11 albums by fellow artists.
NEWSWEEK: “He actually created a new musical genre.” CHICAGO TRIBUNE: “….like a jam session between Ian Anderson and Thelonius Monk.” BERLINER MORGENPOST: “What he manages to produce on his wooden flute is sensational.” HOWARD ROVICS: “His work on the Kaval was nothing short of pure genius.” CHRIS NICKSON: “….Spassov sounds like the late flutist and saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk Except Spassov plays a simple, rural shepherd’s flute.”