Hadjiev was taught initially by his parents, both leading figures in the early years of Bulgarian opera (his father was a conductor, his mother a singer); he then studied composition with Josef Suk (1932-33) before entering the State Musical Academy in Sofia (1933) as a pupil of Vladigerov. On the recommendation of Vladigerov he took lessons with Joseph Marx in Vienna before completing his studies at the Berlin Hochschule fur Musik (1938-40).
In 1940 Hadjiev became a lecturer at the Sofia Academy. He was one of the most prolific Bulgarian opera composers, and one of the most frequently staged. His spontaneously emotional side and inborn theatrical sense are evident in both dramatic and humorous contexts, and he has proved able to communicate effectively with children.
For his librettos he has drawn on foreign as well as Bulgarian literature and on fairy-tales. The individuality of his musical language results above all from his characteristic melodies, built on elements of Bulgarian folk music. Artistic simplicity, accessibility, knowledge of how to write for the human voice and a rich harmonic palette are dominant features.
Lud gidiya (The Madcap), generally regarded as the best example of Bulgarian comic opera, has also been performed abroad. We are delighted to include a recording of its premier performance here.