Theo Popov






THEO POPOV writes music, where the driving mechanism is melody and Schenkerian logic. After abundant exposure to Eastern Orthodox music and Bulgarian folklore in his childhood, he came to the United States and studied composition and electronic music with Paul Lansky and musical geometry with Dmitri Tymoczko. Having explored various folk traditions, Popov now specializes in Classical Antiquity and has through travel and research assembled one of the most extensive galleries of Ancient Roman music depictions. He is curious about the aspects of melody fundamental to all cultures and strives to fuse antique folk material with modern compositional techniques.

Popov is interested in creating musical dramas that transport the audience to different places and time periods, while remaining accessible to the contemporary ear. In March of 2011 his first opera received a full stage production in Richardson Auditorium, Princeton under the direction of David Kellett. NERO ARTIFEX, a three-act drama in Classical Latin with libretto by Mariah Min and Veronica Shi, presents one of history’s most notorious emperors as a well meaning but incapable ruler, a gullible dreamer and unfortunate artist. As a resident composer at the American Lyric Theater, Popov developed further collaborations with librettists in the New York metropolitan area and composed the one-act fairytale opera Once Upon the Wind with librettist Kate Light. He is currently working with librettist Tony Asaro on a full-length, also commissioned by the ALT.

In addition to opera, Popov’s interest in dramatic music has driven him to compose two puppet shows, two modern dance pieces, eight choral suites, two works of alternative music theater, scores for short films and video games. He is the winner of the Secret Opera Inaugural Composition Competition and a recipient of the Martin Dale Award and a Peter B. Lewis Grant. His music is published by Vitosha Publishing (ASCAP).

Popov completed his Bachelor’s degree in composition at Princeton University, where he studied with Steve Mackey, Bill Whelan and Barbara White. He is also a professional theremin player and frequently travels to Oxford, England to workshop with virtuoso Lydia Kavina.

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