Claudius Popp was born in Weimar, Germany in 1982. He began playing the cello at the age of four, receiving instruction from his father, Professor Gotthard Popp, a cellist himself. At age six, his talent became known as he won First Prizes in the prestigious "Jugend Musiziert" and at the International Cello Competition in Liezen, Austria. Considered a prodigy, he was accepted by Professor Karine Georgian and Heinrich Schiff as a student and continued his studies dually in Detmold, Germany and at the Mozarteum Salzburg, Austria. His precocious musicianship continued to thrive as he pursued advanced studies at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin with David Geringas, graduating with a diploma in 2004 and a masters with distinction and honors in 2007. Whilst a student, Claudius continued his winning streak in world competitions, taking top prizes at Tchaikovsky Competition Moscow (2002), Osaka International Music Competition, ARD International Music Competition (Barenreiter Prize), the International Concertino Prague Competition, and the Competition of the Deutsche Musikrat (2003). He is a scholarship holder of the Oscar and Vera Ritter Foundation, Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes and the Werner Richard-Dr. Carl Dörken Foundation.
Claudius made his concerto debut as a soloist at age nine. Since then, he has performed with leading orchestras such as NDR Sinfonie, Berlin Staatskapelle, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg and the Chamber Orchestra of the Berlin Philharmonic, playing in renowned halls such as Berlin Philharmonie, Cologne Philharmonie, Konzerthaus Berlin, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Rudolfinum in Prague, Tchaikovsky Hall and Great Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, the Tonhalle in Düsseldorf and the Musikforum in Weimar under the baton of greats such as Daniel Barenboim and Eiji Oue.
Claudius is an in demand avid chamber musician as well. He plays throughout Europe's most prestigious festivals including the Rheingau, Mecklenburg Vorpommern, the Schleswig-Holstein, Heidelberg Fruhling, and the Music Festival Cervo. He has held recitals with Elena Bashikrova, Alfredo Perl, Daniel Barenboim, Jörg Widmann and Paul Rivinius.
Through collaboration and performance, he receives artistic direction and aesthetic cues from world acclaimed musicians such as Yo-Yo Ma, Lynn Harrell, Harvey Shapiro and Daniel Barenboim, with whom he enjoys a special working relationship. In 2003, in rather unprecedented fashion, maestro Barenboim made Claudius, who was then only 21 years of age, principal cellist of his home orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin overnight. Claudius frequently plays chamber concerts with him; while relishing the romantic repertoire for piano and cello, together their concerts insightfully elaborate upon modern music as well. In 2009, the NY Times hailed his interpretation of Elliot Carter's cello sonata, and concluded this "extremely modern" piece had become "entirely accessible" through his impassioned and dynamic performance, "a musician that can lend even new music new notes." The work with Daniel Barenboim continues with Brahms F Major Sonata and the performance of György Kurtág's Double Concerto in Berlin next year.
Claudius performs on the ex Ludwig Hoelscher, Andrea Guarneri (Cremona 1691) cello, which is generously on loan from the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben in Hamburg, Germany.