Dobrinka Tabakova: Spinning a Yarn


Dobrinka Tabakova was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria to a music-loving family in 1980. At age 11, Tabakova moved to London and has since stayed there. She studied at the Royal Academy of Music Junior Department, specialising in composition, piano and conducting. From there, Tabakova earned her place at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she received distinctions in her BMus and MMus degrees. After graduating, she was appointed composition fellow at GSMD and she continued being actively involved in many musical activities. Tabakova has worked and studied with esteemed composers such as Diana Burrell, John Adams and Iannis Xenakis.

Throughout her career, Tabakova’s music has been extensively recorded with different record labels including ECM. Due to this, Tabakova has been invited to many places to compose pieces for soloists, ensembles and events. She has travelled all over the world to compose music for music festivals such as the Julian Rachlin in Dubrovnik and the Lockenhaus Festival in Austria. She has been nominated for Grammy awards and also for various ‘Composer of the Week/Month’ competitions. Whilst pursuing her successful career in composition, Tabakova also studied for a PhD in 2008 at King’s College London.


The Music

Spinning a Yarn was composed in 2014 especially for violinist, Roman Mints. Written for violin and Russian Hurdy-Gurdy, Tabakova’s work is a unique sound experience. Based around the idea of story-telling, the melancholy character of Spinning a Yarn is threaded throughout the whole piece. The continuous sound from both the violin and the hurdy-gurdy as they merge sounds creates a wide-open field of textures that will delight the ears. As the yarn spins, the violin starts moving away from the hurdy-gurdy and plays more harmonics above the texture. Due to the consistency of sound throughout Spinning a Yarn, the end seems very sudden and out of the blue – but at some point the music would have to stop!

Based on Bulgarian folklore, Dobrinka Tabakova’s Spinning a Yarn makes for a hypnotising listen.


Ⓒ Alex Burns

Happy Reading!

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