Theo Popov

Composer, Sommelier, Thereminist





THEO POPOV is an award-winning composer of music for the theater stage and film screen whose five operas have received multiple productions and awards across the United States. In addition, he has written musicals, choral and orchestral pieces, art songs, chamber and electronic music.

After a childhood spent singing Bulgarian folklore and Christian Orthodox songs, Popov 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 2011 and led him down a path of writing dramatically-driven music, primarily for the opera stage. His second opera Once Upon the Wind, 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 production by The Secret Opera after being selected as a winner in the company’s inaugural Composers Competition, and a third by Yale Opera Theater. Popov is also winner of the Second Annual UMD Opera Composition Competition for his opera Town Hall, libretto by E. M. Lewis, which tackles challenging questions of American politics. The opera received its orchestral premiere in March 2019 at Willamette University in Oregon. Popov 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.

During the lull in live theater in 2020-22, Theo Popov began actively writing music for film and electronic media. His score for Lloyd Kennedy, Professional Sasquatch Photographer won the Best Score award at Film Score Fest 2021. He is thrilled to have created the soundworld of the documentary Possible Selves, which is premiering on PBS this Spring. Recently, Popov has started writing for ambisonic audio. He is also actively performing theremin in various venues, from bars to planetariums.

Popov has studied composition with Steve Mackey, Dmitri Tymoczko and Paul Lansky at Princeton University and with David Conte at the San Francisco Conservatory of music. As a Court-of-Masters-certified sommelier and WSET Diploma in Wines recipient, Popov is also crafting wine-and-music pairings through his side gig, Vine Opera.

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