One of the great Romanian musicians, Aurelian-Octav Popa (b. 1937) studied clarinet and composition in Bucharest (1958-62), then continued his studies at the Conservatoire National de Paris and very early became a virtuoso of his instrument. He won prizes at international competitions such as First Prize in 1959 at the Prague Musical Spring, other awards in Budapest (1965), Birmingham (1966), Utrecht (1967) or Geneva (1967). As soloist, he played with many proeminent orchestras and he has toured in almost all Europe and U.S. with the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra.
Aurelian-Octav Popa is celebrated as one of the most proeminent Romanian clarinetists. His 1991 CD, recorded by London Olympia House, was awarded 10 stars and “coup de foudre” (the highest rating possible) by Répertoire des disques compacts, Paris. Same happened with Libre comme un oiseau, a CD that got 4 stars from Le monde de la Musique in 2006. He is a permanent member in different international competitions (Rome, Paris, Jeunesses Musicales Bucharest, etc.) and a clarinet competition in Constanta (Romania, 1993-94) bears his name. He conducts different masterclasses in Greece, Bulgaria, Portugal, Romania. He recorded 5 CDs in London Olympia House, Sofia MegaMusic, Intersound Munchen, Thalassa Records Constanta.
Aurelian-Octav Popa’s conducting career started in 1977, when he founded and started conducting the Quodlibet Musicum Chamber Orchestra. He later attended masterclasses with Sergiu Celibidache and conducted all major symphonic orchestras in Romania, such as the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra in Bucharest. Between 1989-2004 he was the main conductor of the Constanta Philharmonic Orchestra. He made numerous recordings for the Romanian Radio and Television Broadcasting Company. He participated in the esteemed George Enescu Festival with English Chambers Orcestra and the Copland Concerto.
He is also an arranger for stage and film soundtracks.
Aurelian-Octav Popa was awarded the Prize of the Romanian Composers and Musicologists first in 1991, then in 2009, for his whole activity. In 2012, his 75th anniversary and 50 years of music activity (as a clarinetist and as a conductor) was celebrated by the George Enescu Philharmonic.
Duo with Sanda Crăciun-Popa (viola)
Festivals: Musik Sommer Baden Baden – 1994/1996, Bach Festival Heidelberg – 1995/1996, Documenta X Kassel – 1999, Musik Sommer Festival MDR Lepzig – 1996, Festival des Fôrets – 1996, Musica Rara Festival Erfurt – 1996, Series of big clarinetists Lincoln Center New York – 1999, New Jersey – 1999, Houston University – 1999, Festival do Acores – 1999, the first edition of Visual Arts Fair, Bucharest 1999, several editions of the International Week of New Music, Bucharest.
Events: special guests of the UNITER Gala (Bucharest) in 1999; special guests of the Chamber Music Festival in Sighişoara (Romania), 2001; America Alive Gala, 2001; Artists for artists Gala, 2003; Christmas for All Gala, the Romanian Atheneum, Bucharest, 2003; the Lucian Blaga Poetry Festival, Sebeş Alba, 2001; The Titu Maiorescu Literary Meetings, Tescani – 2001/2002/2003; the Arfa concert series – Music, an Adventure, Goethe Institut, Bucharest 2003.
Museum (guests): the George Enescu Museum; the National Art Museum in Romania, Bucharest; the Art Museum, Constanta; The Brancovan Palace of Mogosoaia; museums in Germany (Manheim, Baden-Baden, Frankfurt); Casa Mateus, Portugal; Chateau Imperial and the Franco-American Museum, Compiègne, France.
Exhibitions of great Romanian artists (guests): Marin Gherasim, Corneliu Vasilescu, Ion and Ariana Nicodim (the „Dalla terra all’opera, la forza delle radici” exhibition, Vicenza, Padova, Mogoşoaia), Angela Tomaselli, Alin Gheorghiu, Ana Maria Smighelski, Cela Nemţu, Lucia Puşcaşu, Nicolae Flondor, Wanda Sachelarie, Bogdana Contras, Carmen Marin.
Resident artists at: the Brahms House, Baden Baden, 1996; the „George Enescu” Memorial House, Tescani (Romania), 2002; the Panaci Creative Camp, Romania 2009.
Cultural Institutes (guests): Bucharest, Paris, New York, Tel Aviv, Berlin.