Theo Popov






THEO POPOV is an LA-based composer of opera, theater and dance music. After a childhood spent singing Bulgarian folklore and Christian Orthodox songs, he began his formal compositional training by studying electronic music with Paul Lansky and musical geometry with Dmitri Tymoczko. Having explored various forms of sacred and folk traditions, he cultivated a special interest in Classical Antiquity, and has for the last decade worked on researching and incorporating it into his own oeuvre. His first opera, NERO ARTIFEX, received a full stage production at Princeton University to enthusiastic acclaim in March 2010. A three-act drama in Classical Latin with libretto by Mariah Min and Veronica Shi, the opera presented one of history’s most notorious emperors as a well meaning but incapable ruler, a gullible dreamer and unfortunate artist.

Since then, Theo has focused primarily on writing for the stage. In May 2012, his second opera Once Upon the Wind, based on the Russian folktale, “The Soldier Who Captured Death,” with libretto by Kate Light, premiered within the framework of the Composer Librettist Development Program at the American Lyric Theater. The opera received a second performance with The Secret Opera in New York City in 2014, after being selected as a winner in the company’s inaugural Composers Competition. Most recently, Theo received the Second Annual UMD Opera Composition Competition Award for his opera Town Hall, libretto by E. M. Lewis, which tackles challenging questions of American politics. He is also returning to the American Lyric Theater to develop the opera The Halloween Tree, based on a Ray Bradbury novella, with librettist Tony Asaro.

In addition, Theo has written two puppet shows, a number of choral and orchestral pieces, art songs, chamber and electronic music. Popov completed his composition degree at Princeton University, where he studied with Steve Mackey, Barbara White and Paul Lansky. When he’s not composing, Theo can be found playing the theremin.

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