A Man of Many Talents
By Ruth Augustin '15
Published on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015
Jassen Todorov '98 always dreamt of becoming a musician. When he was only 5 years old, in his native country of Bulgaria, he began playing the violin. 35 years later, he hasn’t stopped. “The violin is challenging but it is also very beautiful.” Said Jassen who reminisced on the beginning stages of learning the instrument.
When the opportunity arose for him to come to school in Florida, five minutes away from the beach, he thought, “How cool would that be!” At the time though, before Lynn University became what it is today, many of our talented performers began their careers at The Harid Conservatory of Music at Lynn. Jassen Todorov was one of the lucky ones. After being accepted to the Harid Conservatory, Jassen decided to make his way over to Florida to study music performance.
After graduation, Jassen continued to play the violin and give concerts. Eventually, he went on to study his masters and doctorate degree in music. Jassen is now a full-time professor of violin and music at the San Francisco State University School of Music and Dance. He teaches a large array of classes. A graduate seminar in chamber music and Career Management in Music, this class in particular was inspired by professor, Roberta Rust. 20 years ago, when Jassen took a similar course with Rust, which was geared towards music and career development; he later became inspired to create something similar for his students. Through this course, Rust brought in various guests, performers and musicians who spoke about their careers. Students were exposed to people who actually changed careers along the way. Jassen was amongst many personalities. Because of that experience Jassen has said, “I was inspired to create something similar for my students, I felt it was a very enriching experience.”
Aside from being a professor, Jassen has been pursuing his artistic abilities and passions. 13 years ago he decided to become a certified flight instructor. There were a combination of things that led Jassen to this. He began to consider, what can I do, if I cannot become a violinist? As his friends struggled to find jobs in music he decided to create a “plan B.” He thought of things that he was passionate about and flying became one. “The other thing is, when you’re spending 6-8 hours in the practice room, you need an outlet of some sort and you need to do other things. You can’t just do the same thing year after year and day after day, it burns you out.” So he decided to channel some of that energy elsewhere. Through that experience he was able to expand his horizons, friendships and find what else was out there.
While Jassen began to fly, he discovered another passion. He wanted to share these beautiful places around the country that he was flying to. So he began to photograph them. His images have been published and become featured works in publications such as the National Geographic, the Guardian, Daily Mail, Digital Photographer and many more! He was awarded second place in the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards, and more recently awarded first place in the 2015 International Photography Awards where he will be honored at Carnegie Hall, New York City.
Jassen’s artistic passions have brought his life to many different opportunities. Though his heart desires music, he is filled with many other talents. He has said, “Music charges you spiritually, physically, emotionally and it inspires you to be more creative. I cannot imagine a world without that; it would be very empty.
The photo above is from the Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone, Wyoming
2015 Sony World Photography Awards-Second Place, USA National Award, Open Category
2015 Sony World Photography Awards-Finalist
National Geographic-Photo of the Day
Check out his website for more information on his music and photography: