Branka Popović (1977, Serbia) graduated from the Departments of Musicology and Composition (the class of Zoran Erić) at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade. She also holds a Master of Music in Composition from Guildhall School of Music and Drama (the class of Judith Bingham). She remained at the same school for another year, as a Composition Fellow, thanks to the school’s Student Fellowship programme. In 2013, she earned a DMA degree from the Department of Composition at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade, under the supervision of Zoran Erić.
Works by Popović have been performed at the following festivals: ISCM World Music Days (Bratislava, 2013), Reims Scenes d’Europe (2016), Átlátszó Hang (2017), International Spring Orchestra Festival (Malta, 2016), International Festival of Contemporary Music Koper (2014), Festivalul internațional-Zilele SNR-SIMC 2014 MERIDIAN (Bucharest, 2014), International Review of Composers (Belgrade), Birtwhistle Festival London, Brass Spectacular Glasgow, City of London Festival, and KoMA festival. Popović has collaborated with a number of renowned performers and ensembles, including Stephen Gutman, Ellen Ugelvik, the Austrian Ensemble for Contemporary Music (Salzburg), Ansamblul Devotio Modena (Romania), ARTéfacts ensemble (Greece), Auris Quartet, Construction Site, Studio 6, Trio Pokret, Metamorphosis, St. George Strings, and LP duo. Her first chamber opera, Petrograd, was premièred in 2012.
Popović is an assistant professor of composition at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade; between 2010 and 2015, she also worked at Radio Belgrade 3. In 2015, she became the programming selector of the International Review of Composers.
In 2002, her trio Dream (I. S. o. F.) was awarded at the Summer Music Academy Budapest-Prague-Vienna. In 2015, her music for Tačka prekida, a film by Igor Toholj, won the best film music award at the 56th Belgrade Documentary and Short Film Festival. At the 2015 International Rostrum of Composers in Tallinn, her composition Lines & Circles… was included among the ten works recommended by the festival. In 2016–17, she was one of 16 participants selected to take part in the CEEC Composers Fieldtrip to China.
Four Darks in Red for clarinet, violin, and piano was inspired by Mark Rothko’s eponymous painting. The painting came about in 1958 as a product of Rothko’s own abstract style, wherein geometrically shaped coloured surfaces, in various shades of one and the same colour or within a carefully selected spectrum of colours, float on the painting’s surface. Even though critics often interpreted Rothko’s paintings primarily by analysing the formal order of the elements of his paintings, he insisted that he was interested in expressing strong emotions – tragedy and ecstasy. In Four Darks in Red, the canvas is static, while in the eye of the observer, deeply immersed in the painting, the surfaces appear to start flickering and moving. The perception of movement is an optical illusion emerging as a reaction of the observer and depends on her perception of the painting. The piece Four Darks in Red is one among many possible musicalisations of Rothko’s canvas.