Raichev studied with Vladigerov at the State Musical Academy in Sofia, graduating in 1947, then with Kodaly at the Budapest Conservatory (1949-50). Later he taught at the Bulgarian State Conservatory, where he was Rector from 1970 to 1978. Raichev's music shows the influence of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, as well as Shostakovich, Stravinsky and Britten, and he has written in all genres.
His operas show new developments in his style: Most (The Bridge), 1965, is the first of two dealing with the struggle against fascism in Bulgaria; urban popular songs contribute a contemporary feel, while dramatic tension is built up in the music.
The realistic treatment in Trevoga (Anxiety), 1974, dealing with nationalist troubles before 1944, is an important development in Bulgarian opera.
For the large-scale Khan Asparouh (1981), written to commemorate the 13th century of the Bulgarian state, Raichev took a historical subject, the settlement in the 7th century of the Balkan region by nomads from the Byzantine empire, led by Khan Asparouh.
Both this and Anxiety are traditional number operas in verismo style; the musical language is modern, polytonal and dissonant. Vasheto prisatvie (Your Presence), 1969 was the earliest Bulgarian radio opera to be broadcast.