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Sergio Cervetti


Sergio Cervettiʼs works range from instrumental and vocal music to electronic works that often reflect his South American, French and Italian heritage. His vocabulary draws from an early brush with twelve-tone and minimalism while his current approach is flexible and free that treats each work individually regardless of trends or movements. Cervettiʼ style is desribed as deftly blending folk elements, European tradition and minimalist aesthetics. Born in Uruguay and a U.S. citizen since 1979, Cervetti graduated from Peabody Institute after studying under scholarship with Ernst Krenek and Stefan Grove. He went on to win the Caracas Festival Prize (Five Episodes) and was subsequently invited by the DAAD to be composer-in-residence in Berlin in 1969 where he wrote Lux Lucet in Tenebris, the Waldensian motto, which won a Gaudeamus award in Holland. This work was re-written in 2003 for the 100 year anniversary of the Waldensian Church in North America. After taking residence in New York City in 1970 he taught at Brooklyn College, worked for Virgil Thomson, and studied electronic music with Vladimir Ussachevsky and Alcides Lanza at Columbia University. The Hay Wain, inspired by the Bosch triptych, established his reputation as a composer of electronic music. Selection are used in Oliver Stoneʼs film, Natural Born Killers. Cervetti joined the faculty of New York Universityʼs Tisch Shool of the Arts in 1972 where he taught until 1997 and returned to guest in 2007-08. He helped to develop the courses of music history, composition, choreography and the sound studio of the Theater Program. His long association with the dance world includes works- notably 40 Second/42nd Variations, Bessie awarded Wind Devil, Inez de Castro - presented by Dance Theater Workshop, Jacobʼs Pillow, La Mama, the Joyce, Sundance, Kennedy Center, Walker Arts Center, Lincoln Center and Three Next Wave Festivals at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1983,ʼ85,ʼ87. Also in 1972 he conceived ...from the earth... as a controlled improvisation for a variable number of sustaining instruments which borrows five notes from Mahlerʼs Das Lied Von Der Erde. For WNYC Radioʼs 50th Anniversary Concert Cervetti was among noted composers who set John Ashberyʼs poem, No Longer Very Clear. His musicʼs emotional reach is demonstrated in The Triumph of Death, a song cycle to poetry by Circe Maia for soprano and piano; and in Candombe II available on VMMʼs CD, New Music for orchestra. It is the orchestration of Candombe I for harpsichord that pays homage to a national dance from his native Uruguay. Nuestras Vidas Son Los Rios, for soprano, string quartet and harpsichord to a text by 16 C Spanish poet Jorge Manrique premiered in Madrid cosponsored by the American, Canadian and Mexican Embassies in 2003. Elegy For A Prince, his first opera, was premiered in excerpt by New York City Opera at VOX 2007. It is freely adapted from Oscar Wildeʼs The Happy Prince with a libretto by Elizabeth Esris.. They recently completed a one-act chamber opera, YUM! about food and friendship, and are collaborating on Abbyʼs Song, an opera in six tableaux based on a character with Aspergerʼs Syndrome. A CD of two electronic works, Visual Diary and The Mouth of Boredom, that showcase Cervettiʼs signature style was recently released. Visual Diary is a soundtrack to a film by Valerie Sonnenthal made from 27,000 photographs. A section is on YouTube. Baudelaireʼs collection of poetry, Les Fleurs du Mal, inspired The Mouth of Boredom. In the fall of 2009 PARMA Recordings released on the Navona label -through Naxos- de CD of Chaconne for the Martyrdom of Atahualpa. At the premiere in Spain in 1992 Ritmo Magazine praised it as “an impressive and seductive work, full of light and exuberance... a music that defies any classification.” Cervetti resides in Bucks County, PA where he teaches privately, consults; and continues to explore electronic sound possibilities and compose. He is currently sketching out The Blaze Keeper, a cantata for baritone, percussion and electronic sounds based on “The Grand Inquisitor” from The Bro

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