Оgnjen Popović, principal
Orchestra member since 2002
I take special pride in having appeared as a soloist with the Münchner Philharmoniker and the Philharmonia of the Nations, yet the one performance that I will always remember is the New Year celebration in Boljevac, where I played with my band Ognjen and Friends. The special artistic touch to our performance was given by seven elderly ladies in the audience, who were in a very adequate mood for such an occasion, slightly tipsy, and who danced the ‘kolo’ to every jazz or funky number we played! Those elderly ladies were also the only audience we had!
I can describe myself as a completely obsessed fanatic for music. When I am not playing, I am thinking about music. When I take breaks from it, I read history books, watch films, play basketball, mow grass, trim the hedge, eat aspic, breathe fresh air from the oil refinery in Pančevo… Cheers!
Ognjen Popović was born in Pančevo in 1977. He completed primary and secondary music education at the Jovan Bandur Music School in Pančevo. He then studied the clarinet at the Musikhochschule Stuttgart with Prof. Ulf Rodenhäuser. Ognjen completed his graduate studies and earned the Master degree at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München.
Popović has given concerts around the world, as both soloist and member of chamber ensembles. As a soloist, he has cooperated with the Münchner Philharmoniker, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Philharmonia of the Nations, Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, Valencia Symphony Orchestra, St. George Strings, RTS Symphony Orchestra, as well as with academic orchestras from Munich and Stuttgart. As an orchestral musician, he has performed with the Staatsoper Stuttgart, Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss, Symphony Orchestra from Passau and others. In 1998, Ognjen won the first prize at the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Competition in Berlin, while in 1997 he won the second award of the jury and the first audience award at the International Jeunesses Musicales Competition in Belgrade. He triumphed at several national music competitions and, in 1992, he represented Yugoslavia at the Eurovision Young Musicians in Spain.
Since 2002, Ognjen Popović has been a member of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, in the position of the principal clarinetist. In the same year, he founded the Balkan Chamber Academy, a chamber ensemble consisting of eminent persons from the Serbian classical music community. With his band Ognjen and Friends he has recorded four CDs and has given many concerts in Serbia and abroad. He has also recorded two CDs with the renowned German ensemble Villa Musica and toured with it across Europe. Ognjen Popović teaches the clarinet at the International Workshop for Wind Instruments in Tivat. He has held clarinet masterclasses in Germany, Spain and throughout Serbia. Since 2007, he has worked as the visiting docent at the prestigious German chamber music academy Villa Musica as well as the clarinet and saxophone professor at the Belgrade Academy of Fine Arts. Since 2010, he has been teaching at the Belgrade Faculty of Music. He earned his Ph.D. at the Belgrade Faculty of Music in 2012.
Ognjen Popović plays a Yamaha CSG clarinet.