|Birth Day:||May 20, 1970|
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He attended the Krastyo Sarafov National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts.
Parallel to this in 1988 he formed a band, named Alleya Alya – a blend of new wave, psychedelic art rock with a hint of ethno-elements. They made some gigs and some recording sessions, unfortunately all the tapes are missing. The group disbanded two years later when Valdobrev was accepted to study acting at the Theatre and Film Academy in Sofia.
In 1989 Valdobrev was accepted in Sofia University to study English philology, but soon quit and attended the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts to become part of what was later called: "the most successful acting class of the two highly praised Bulgarian professors – Krikor Azaryan and Todor Kolev". Together with his fellow actors and directors Galin Stoev, Marius Kurkinski, Kamen Donev, Stefka Yanorova, Koyna Ruseva, Kasiel Noah Asher, Lilia Maraviglia they formed the core of a New Wave in Bulgarian theatre.
The year of 1989, when Valdobrev attended the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts, was crucial for the whole of Eastern Europe. The fall of the Communist regime in Bulgaria wasn't enough for the people and they demanded additional democratic reforms. Valdobrev became part of the strong student movement raised to power in the next few years of mass demonstrations, street riots, barricade protests and sieges of parliament. In 1990 the students caused a National strike by occupying all the Universities for more than a month. As a result the recently elected Communist President Petar Mladenov resigned. On the next year a new two-month-long occupation strike inflamed by the Art Academy students led to the resignation of the Communist Prime minister Andrey Lukanov. On 31 December 2006 Valdobrev hosted Bulgaria’s celebration concert for joining the EU. The event was held in Battenberg square in Sofia, and was attended by 80,000 people.
Even before their graduation, Valdobrev and his friends were very active in acting or staging in professional theatres like the Academy Drama Theatre or the Youth Theatre. Such kick-start performances as Sam Shepard's Angel City, Georg Buchner's Leonce and Lena, William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, Aeschylus' Agamemnon, Goran Stefanovski's Black Hole, Chekhov Revue and others appeared between 1991 and 1993. In June, 1993 Valdobrev became a member of the troupe of the National Theatre, but some time later he had to start serving his 12 months' mandatory military service, so eventually moved to the Bulgarian Army Theatre (actually, a civil repertory theatre sponsored by the Ministry of Defense, with a leading status in the cultural life). He spent there 10 years, taking part in many significant performances like Georg Buchner's Woyzeck, Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, Eric Bogosian's Suburbia and Jean Anouilh's Eurydice. In 1997 the independent theatre company La Strada, formed by the popular director Tedi Moskov produced three major hit performances in collaboration with the Bulgarian Army Theatre: The Master and Margarita (presented at the official selection of the Avignon Theatre Festival), Commedia del Servitore (a co-production with the Avignon Theatre Festival) and Fantasmagorii. As one of the cast Valdobrev spent the next five years touring and presenting the plays at the most prestigious European theatre festivals.
In 1993 he started to work on his first solo album. Regarding his ambition in films and theatre he knew he couldn't afford himself to keep a regular band, so he decided to invite highly skilled and established rock and jazz musicians. A large number of performers took part in the album, but there were three of them that formed the core of the future long term partnership in touring and recording studio albums: Ivan Lechev – the guitar player of the Grammy Awarded band FSB, Stoyan Yankoulov – a jazz, rock and ethno drum player, and Vesselin Vesselinov (Eko) – bass-guitar and double-bass. (Later on, in 1999 Miroslav Ivanov - a young and talented guitarist joined the band to stay till the present.)
The music style of the first records was a mixture between alternative rock, new wave and ethno jazz music. But there was an unexpected 'factor' that finally took the lead and cast its mighty shadow over the other songs: a musical joke which Valdobrev created together with friend and colleague Kamen Donev on their way back from a theatre tour in Vienna. Tired of the long and boring trip they took a bunch of keys for percussion and started rapping over a three chord country-like gypsy tune I love you, my dear. Back in Sofia they recorded the song in less than an hour, adding the characteristic voice of their colleague, the young actress Maya Bejanska. Although this ditty was totally different from anything in the album, it was so catchy that the producers decided to release it as a single. In no time it became vastly popular and later gave its name to the album that sold over 130,000 copies. This success almost obliged Stefan, Kamen and Maya to repeat this direction. And in 1996 they joined for a single project – an album called Revolution. It was based on folklore and gypsy songs and used many ethno instruments and elements in a rock context. Meanwhile, in 1995 Valdobrev released a collection of his scores for theatre performances called A Night at the Theatre.
In 1996 Valdobrev married his high school love Jana. "We have many shared memories as childhood sweethearts in Stara Zagora. We were 10 when we first met. Our parents were coming back from an excursion, we got off the bus at the same station and headed in different directions. After a few meters I stopped and turned to look back. She had stopped too and was looking at me. We stood like that for a few moments, staring at each other, our parents holding our hands. Growing up with someone's memories and making that journey through adulthood together is probably what makes a relationship strong. No one knows me better than Jana." In 1998 Jana gave birth to their daughter Maria. Three weeks after that Valdobrev had a terrible car accident that almost cost him his life and kept him immovable and out of action for a year. For that reason he couldn’t join Regis Wargnier’s Oscar-nominated film production East/West, for which he'd been cast to play opposite Catherine Deneuve and Sandrine Bonnaire.
1998 was a turning point for him. When his solo album titled: ...to was released in October that same year, it topped the charts in the country, becoming a big critical and commercial success. The album spawned five number one hits: ...to, Heaven, One, Wolf and Yes and brought Valdobrev the annual music awards for Best Male Artist and Best Album. ...to represented a significant change in musical and thematic direction for Stefan and the band. Sonically the record incorporated influences from the Britpop and alternative rock of the time. And even if there were some songs with an impact from Bulgarian ethno music, the elements were very subtly dispersed into the prevailing guitar sound textures. A good example was the song One, featuring the Goran Bregovic Orchestra's folk singer Snejka Borisova. Until today, Valdobrev’s album ...to' is considered by many to be among the most influential and famous pop albums in the contemporary music scene in Bulgaria.
In 1999, Valdobrev was approached by director Stefan Komandarev to compose the music for his feature directorial debut, Dog's Home. Valdobrev composed both the film score and the words and music for six songs, performed by some of the most prominent contemporary alternative rock bands. The released Original Soundtrack was actually the first ever released Bulgarian movie soundtrack. It turned out to be a great success. The pilot single Is it me, or is it not? performed by Stefan Valdobrev and featuring his friend and colleague Arabel Karajan became one of the film songs classics. The film’s score earned Valdobrev the Golden Rose for a film debut at the 2000 National Film Awards ceremony. Two years later Komandarev and Valdobrev teamed up again in Komandarev’s second documentary film Alphabet of Hope. Their collaboration resumed with the director’s 2009 hit The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner, based on the best-selling novel by the German author Ilija Trojanow and featuring Miki Manojlovic in the lead role. Both the film and the soundtrack were very successful. The film received numerous international awards and nominations, reaching the Oscars' Foreign Language Films' Shortlist. During the same period Valdobrev started to span his work on mainly European projects. Since 2008 he has provided the music for fiction and documentaries like the Czech films Kulicky (2008), Killing the Czech Way (2010) and Love in the Grave (2012), the Norwegian Can You Talk? (2011) and the Slovenian State of Shock (2011). In 2013 he started to create the score for the Bulgarian National Television series The Ungiven, a somber drama that tells the story of the saving of 48,000 Bulgarian Jews in the years of the Second World War.
In the early 1990s Valdobrev made quite a few appearances on Bulgarian National Television, mainly as a participant in a students' show with a cult status named "Coo-Coo". Despite this success he subsequently decided to turn to film for more challenging roles. While struggling to establish himself in cinema, he took small parts in international co-production B movies. His onscreen career began in 2000 with the supporting role of the tricky Communist activist Popadamchev in the Bulgarian-Macedonian production Warming Up Yesterday's Lunch. The TV comedy Encounter (2003) gave him his first leading role as a clumsy journalist who falls in love with his cousin's girlfriend. 2004 was the year of his big movie break when he took on the lead in Burning Out, a love drama by director Stanimir Trifonov, set in the immediate post World War II period. Valdobrev’s performance of the romantic Italian doctor Enrico Corsa, separated from his Bulgarian wife and sent to a Communist prison camp, from which he finally escapes, has been described as fine, deep and centered , and brought him the Best Actor award at the Golden Rose National film ceremony. Valdobrev was cast as Mitko, an expert of campaigns in the team of his American colleague Tim Knight (Ross McCall) in the 2007 United States-Bulgarian political thriller Trade Routes. Taking the chance to play opposite the Italian prominent actor Sergio Castellitto, Valdobrev decided to make a cameo appearance in the 2007 TV war drama L'Aviatore, performing an Italian Jew, rescued by the Genoese skilled-pilot Massimo Teglio (Castellitto).
In 2000 he made a dramatic shift and gradually ventured into more unconventional and more radio-unfriendly works. He focused on experimentation, guitar effects, tape looping, rhythm sequencing and sampling while developing his sixth studio album Propaganda, Chromosomes, Silicon. He sought a harder-hitting sound and headed a direction which was more into industrial music and alternative rock. Thematically it was a more personal and introspective record. Valdobrev’s lyrics have incorporated a variety of social, philosophical and political influences and appealed mainly to a vanishing counterculture in burgeoning hyper-consumerism. This album was unexpectedly darker and yielded decent reviews, but no major hits.
In 2001 Stefan Valdobrev decided to concentrate mainly on his acting career and took a long break from the music scene. For almost a decade he very sporadically released a few singles that became instant hits but it was, as he stated, "just to keep me in form". In 2006 he recorded the blue romantic song Fireworks, in 2009 the reggae-swing chart-topper The Riverbank Most Green, introducing the young future soul star Ruth Koleva.
2007 marked a significant turning point in his career. After an absence from the theatre stage for a few years, Valdobrev returned as a freelance actor for a beneficial collaboration with the Paris-based Comedie-Francaise Bulgarian director Galin Stoev, who started occasionally to return home only to stage the texts of the prominent contemporary young dramatist Yana Borisova. Small Play for a Children’s Room (2008), Pleasantlyscary (2010) and People from Oz (2013) became remarkable events in the theatre life and were many times awarded for best performance, best play, or best director.
During that period Valdobrev briefly resumed touring for a series of sold-out concerts, presenting mainly his theatre and film music and working with an orchestra of fifteen jazz, ethno and classical musicians. In 2007 he received a nomination for Best Male Artist of the decade by the National Music Television MM. After being away from the rock stage for nearly ten years, in 2012 Stefan Valdobrev decided to rejoin his old band "The Usual Suspects". They recorded two brand new songs: Helicopter and Snow on the Sahara and started a series of 25 club gigs and theatre hall shows.
In 2006-2007 Valdobrev spent two productive years specializing in film directing at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU). There he made a few short films, attended a Miloš Forman workshop and visited the lectures of Otakar Vavra and Jaromir Sofr. His graduate short film Hide in 2007, marked the beginning of a professional collaboration and friendship with the acclaimed Mexican director of photography Antonio Riestra.
In 2008 he collaborated with director and friend Stefan Komandarev in his highly acclaimed film The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner, performing the supporting character of the Bulgarian emigrant Stoyan. The film enjoyed a rich festival career, won many nominations and awards, was released theatrically in 72 countries worldwide and reached the Short List of The Academy Awards 2010 for a Foreign Language film. That same year he starred opposite the Bulgarian born French actress Natalia Dontcheva in The Glass River, a mystery film by Stanimir Trifonov in which Valdobrev portrayed the obstinate priest Peter, a hermit who is experiencing a crisis of faith and trying to discover the secret of the Cathar-Bogomils, whilst crossing paths with an unknown visitor to his village, the French symbologist Ellen Tibaud. In 2012 Valdobrev played the lead role in the road comedy drama Migration of the Belted Bonito - a film by the Bulgarian independent and critically acclaimed film-maker Lyudmil Todorov. Valdobrev portrayed the poor and dreamy painter of Orthodox icons Simo, who, together with his close friend and neighbour, finds the most unorthodox way to make ends meet, with them both setting out on a comical journey from their modest village to the Black Sea shore. Critics praised the film as being "one of the finest comedies of the newest Bulgarian cinema".
The film was premiered on 10 March 2011 at the Sofia International Film Festival and has since then enjoyed a rich festival career, winning two international awards and being presented in the competition or the official selection of 21 major world film festivals: IDFA Amsterdam, HotDocs Toronto, ZagrebDox, Sarajevo and Warsaw among them.
Stefan married a lawyer named Iana, with whom he had a daughter named Maria.
Currently, Stefan Valdobrev is 53 years, 0 months and 17 days old. Stefan Valdobrev will celebrate 54th birthday on a Monday 20th of May 2024. Below we countdown to Stefan Valdobrev upcoming birthday.