Todor Pelev, a native of Bulgaria, first attracted international attention when he captured the silver medal in the Wieniawski International Violin Competition in Poland and first prize in Bulgaria's National Violin Competition. After graduating from the Sofia Conservatory as a student of Boyan Lechev, who was a protégé of David Oistrakh, Mr. Pelev emigrated to the United States and continued his studies with Dorothy DeLay at the Juilliard School and with Donald Weilerstein at the Eastman School of Music, while being his assistant. Mr. Pelev won the Eastman Concerto Competition and the National Symphony Orchestra Competition, was also the first prize recipient in the Baltimore Music Club Competition's Professional Division and won the National Contemporary Record Society Competition.
He has appeared as a guest soloist with major orchestras, including two performances of the Sibelius violin concerto with the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center. He has performed with the Buffalo and Rochester symphonies, and with the Baltimore Symphony at the Carnegie Hall. He has played several times at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion as a soloist with The Green Umbrella concert series and was featured at the 70th-anniversary celebration for distinguished composer John Cage. Todor Pelev has presented numerous solo recitals and participated in radio and television broadcasts in Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Taiwan, Japan, Italy, Russia, Canada and in the United States where his live performances of Mario Davidovsky's music were broadcasted nation-wide on public television. A regular performer at numerous music festivals, Mr. Pelev has performed at the Aspen (Colorado), the Tidewater (Maryland), the Mackinaw Island (Michigan) and the Rome (Italy) festivals.
Todor Pelev has been a concertmaster of the Baltimore Opera and the, Riverside, South Bay and Redlands symphony orchestras and is presently serving as a concertmaster of the San Bernardino Symphony and the Redlands Bowl Festival Orchestra. He has been a faculty member at California Institute for the Arts, the University of Redlands and California Baptist University and presently teaches at the Pomona College, the Claremont Graduate University and the Idyllwild Arts Academy.
His former students include winners of national and international competitions, concertmasters of orchestras including the London Philharmonic, Hong Kong Symphony, New Haven Symphony, Boston Civic Symphony, Cleveland Opera, as well as college and conservatory professors.
Todor Pelev performs on the 1731 Ex”Constable” Carlo Bergonzi violin, featured on the Glory of Cremona recording.