Freelance composer in New York; intern at the American Lyric Theater (ALT), which develops new operas; assistant manager in a rare-coin dealership; math and English teacher for a private school’s extracurricular program. Majored in music.
Composing: “Any aspiring contemporary composer must be flexible and fluent in a variety of styles and genres,” says Popov, who broadly describes the music he writes as neo-Romantic. His music tends to be melodic and often incorporates world and folk-music traditions.
New works: Last year, as a resident composer in ALT’s development program, Popov wrote a one-act opera loosely based on a Russian fairy tale, which was workshopped at Symphony Space in New York. He also wrote the music for a puppet show that premiered at the Intrepid museum in New York, and recently completed a choral work. He is working on an orchestral piece.
Challenges: One is managing time and deadlines and determining how long it will take to create a new piece. The other is “the financial challenge of knowing that you won’t be able to support yourself with music at least until you build a solid career,” says Popov.