Florian Popa was born in Bucharest (Romania), in a family of musicians of national and international renown. He began to study music at the age of six at Bucharest Music School, starting with the violin and piano. At twelve years of age, he began to study the clarinet and completed his studies with the highest honours at the Bucharest Conservatory (Ciprian Porumbescu) in 1971.

That same year (1971), he passed competitive examinations to join the George Enesco Philharmonic Orchestra of Bucharest as first clarinet. He won a scholarship for a master’s course in Hanover (Germany) where he specialised in modern and contemporary music under Professor Hans Deitzer. Some years later, he studied orchestral conduction and music phenomenology with the maestro Sergiu Celibidache.

Since 1968, he has taken part in a number of national and international clarinet competitions and has won prizes in: Prague, Munich, Birmingham, Geneva, Bucharest, Ancona and first prize in Rotterdam in a contemporary music competition for instruments and groups. In 1980, he won competitive examinations at Michigan State University (East Lancing) U.S.A. to give doctorate classes to higher-level students for a period of three years.

From 1984 to 2000 he was soloist in the Bilbao Symphonic Orchestra. In 2000 he began to co-operate as a soloist with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra . He has played as soloist in orchestras under the baton of a number of great maestros: Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Georges Prêtre, Cristian Mandeal, Enrique García Asensio, Giuliano Carella, Sergiu Comissiona, Sergiu Celibidache, etc. At the same time he has combined his orchestral and teaching activities with soloist and chamber music performances. As a soloist, he has played with the orchestras of: Bucharest, Prague, Munich, Rotterdam, Tylburg, Bilbao, Frankfurt, Mannheim, etc. As a member of The MUSICA NOVA Chamber Group, with whom he continues to perform, he has played in prestigious concert halls all over the world, including the UNO on two occasions. He has also formed part of the “George Enescu” Wind Quintet of the Bucharest Philharmonic, the R.T.V. Quintet of Bucharest and “Franz Danzi” Quintet of the Bilbao Symphonic Orchestra.

Today, his chamber music activities are limited exclusively to The MUSICA NOVA Chamber Group and collaborations with the prestigious “Enescu” quartet of Paris. As a result of all these artistic activities, he is a great expert and specialist in music for the clarinet, chamber music and the orchestral repertoire.  

He complemented these activities with the practice and study of jazz and plays with the Detroit and East Lancing jazz bands. His profound knowledge of American music led to his creating the “Big-Band Bilbao” in 1987, which was sponsored by Bilbao City Hall for a period of four years. With the Big-Band he has performed in more than one hundred concerts and televised performances for Euskal Telebista. He is considered to be one of the best specialists in modern and contemporary music and on that basis he has been invited to take part in all the international festivals specialised in this genre.

The director of the prestigious Fundación Gaudeamus, Henk Heuvelmans had this to say about Florian Popa in a letter in 2003: “The ensemble Musica Nova placed under leadership of Florián Popa compositions which had been selected for the chamber music category of the Gaudeamus Music Week. As a soloist Florián Popa gave six concerts and as a member of the ensemble Musica Nova he played in four concerts, organized by Gaudeamus.The Gaudeamus Foundation acknowledges Florián Popa as specialist clarinet player in the field of contemporary music”.

He has recorded a number of discs and hundreds of minutes of music, especially contemporary music, for radio stations in: Cologne, Frankfurt, Berlin, Bucharest, Warsaw, Hilversum, Graz… He has given classes in: Bilthoven, Darmstadt, Tylburg, Avila, Cuenca, Geneva, Boston, East Lancing, Vienna, Madrid, Bucharest… He plays “Buffet Crampon”, made to order, Prestige model full Böehm clarinets made from natural ebony without chemical treatments, without metal rings and with gold keys and clamps: one of 24 carats gold and the other of ebony. Both clamps are of his own patented design.

Press Release

SAPTAMIN Review, Bucarest, Romania
“…Florian Popa is undoubtedly a virtuoso of the clarinet, one of the most outstanding instrumentalist our country has ever produced.

RUCH MUZYCZNY, Warsaw, Poland
…the protagonist of this Autumn festival was the excellent clarinettist Florian Popa. The works he interpreted owe very much, sometimes too much, to his rendition.

…clarinettist Florian Popa, the winner if the first prize, is a first class artist. His technique is consummate, his instrument has a very beautiful sound, and he renders the works faultlessly, offering us a fascinating event…

MUZICA Review, Bucharest, Romania
…The artist dominated the difficult repertoire impressing un with his flawless interpretation and his exceptionally clear sound.
-Radu STAN-

…What the audience particularly liked was the splendid sound of the clarinet, Florian Popa proving to be a first class musician…

MUZICA Review, Bucharest, Romania
…The performance of the clarinettist Florian Popa was unanimously considered one of the climaxes of the festival…
-Nicolae BRINDUS-

MORGEN, Mannheim, F.R. of Germany
…Ging es doch in erster Linie em ein Virtuosen-Porträt Florian Popas. Um seine Kunst der Tomalerei. Und eine glänzende demostration modener Swpieltechnik.

MUZICA Review, Bucharest, Romania
…Florian Popa displayed his large interpretive capabilities in a performance of high artistic level.
-Dimitru AVAKIAN-

…the attention was drawn by the Romanian clarinettist Florian Popa, a real pianissimo could be heard…soft as a whisper, but with brilliant high tones, brightly clear, and by no means flat or dim.

…the remarkable qualities of the Romanian clarinettist, who interpreted in a sublime manner the Bird’s Abyss by Messiaen – due to the technical mastery and the musical sense of the form.
-Ralph DEGENS-

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