Todor Todoroff graduated in civil engineering, with a specialization in telecommunications, from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB, Brussels, Belgium) in 1987. He received a First Prize in electroacoustic composition from the Conservatoire royal de Bruxelles in 1993 as well as a post-graduate diploma from the Conservatoire royal de Mons (Mons, Belgium) in 1996.
First a researcher in the field of speech analysis and synthesis at the Laboratoire de phonétique expérimentale (Laboratory of Experimental Phonetics) at the ULB, he then became head of computer music research at the Faculté polytechnique de Mons and at the Conservatoire royal de Mons from 1992-97, where instruments he developed were used by composers Leo Kupper and Robert Normandeau. On multiple occasions he collaborated with IRCAM (Paris, France) where his software tools were used by Joshua Fineberg, Emmanuel Nunes and Luca Francesconi, among others.
He resumed work as a researcher at the Numediart institute within the Université de Mons from 2008-13 and taught within the digital arts program at Arts2, part of the École supérieure des arts in Mons, from 2008-15. Alongside this work and within the context of ARTeM (Art, recherche, technologie et musique [Art, Research, Technology, and Music]), since 1993 he has been developing interactive systems for studio environments, concerts, sound installations and dance performances which explore the possibilities of a wide variety of sensors. He developed sensors for violinist Stevie Wishart and the Quartet project by Margie Medlin (Australia), supported by a SCIART grant from the Wellcome Trust (UK) and by ZKM (Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie) (Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe), which premiered in London (UK) in February 2007. For this project, he collaborated with Ian Winter of the Physiological Laboratory at the University of Cambridge (UK) on the creation of real-time analysis tools and virtual sound-processing instruments, based on models of the inner ear and of neurons associated with auditory perception. He also participated in the technological development of interactive audiovisual installations with FoAM in Brussels, in particular for the Phæno Science Center in Wolfsburg (Germany).
His electroacoustic music demonstrates a special interest in multichannel composition and the use of space, as well as in experimenting with new methods of interaction and sound transformation, where gesture plays an important role. He revisits the concept of the séquence-jeu (play-sequences associated with specific gestures) in the digital domain, in order to achieve a greater degree of expressivity.
In parallel to his work in fixed-medium acousmatic music, he develops gesture-controlled virtual instruments for live performance in electroacoustic concerts. These were first used in the context of improvisations with, among others, Jean-Paul Dessy, Eric Sleichim, and Stevie Wishart and subsequently were used for solo concerts in 2007 in Reykjavik (Iceland). In September 2007, following a commission from the ZKM in Karlsruhe (Germany), they were combined with new spatialization algorithms for solo concerts in Karslruhe, Budapest, and Munich. The most recent versions were used by an ensemble of twelve musicians performing with joysticks, gamepads and sensors for a 2011 Ars Musica festival concert in Mons and for the interactive audiovisual work eVanescens, begun in 2012. In this work, cellist Sigrid Vandenbogaerde wears sensors which he designed to impact as much the sound of her instrument as the interactive video. These virtual instruments also played a central role in his works premiered at two recent editions of the Ars Musica festival in Brussels: his duo with cello, Pendula-Anima, in 2014 and his solo Different Rites in 2016.
Passionate about creating dialogue with other art forms, he also composes music for film, video, dance, theatre, and sound installations. His long artistic collaboration with Belgian choreographer Michèle Noiret began in 1988 and has continued through 16 productions to the present day, as they prepare a new work for 2019. He has also produced a series of interactive installations, often in collaboration with visual artists, including Marie-Jo Lafontaine, Fred Vaillant, Mario Benjamin, and Laura Colmenares Guerra.
He has received commissions from, among others: the Opéra de Paris (France), Ars Musica (Belgium), IMEB (France), ZKM (Germany), Art Zoyd (France), Musiques Nouvelles (Belgium), Musée des Beaux-Arts d’Angers (France), Nuit blanche (Belgium), and Festivaal van Vlaanderen (Belgium). His work tied for the Public prize at the Noroit-Léonce Petitot Competition (France, 1991), received Mentions (2002, ’05, ’09) and a First Prize (2007) at the Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition (France) and has been a finalist a number of times. His music has been broadcast on radio in many countries and has been performed in many international concerts and festivals.
He is founding member and president of the Belgian Federation for Electroacoustic Music (FeBeME-BeFEM) and of ARTeM in Brussels (Belgium), as well as a founding member of the Forum des compositeurs (Composers’ Forum). He was also the Belgian representative of the European COST (Cooperation in Science & Technology) actions “Digital Audio Effects” (DAFX, 1997-2001) and “Gesture Controlled Audio Systems” (CONGAS, 2003-07).
[English translation: Stephanie Moore, vi-19]
Todor Todoroff has received awards at the following contests: