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Sergio Cervetti

Doylestown, PA   

SERGIO CERVETTI is a composer who attracted international attention on winning the chamber music prize at the Caracas, Venezuela Music Festival in 1966. After studying with Ernst Krenek and graduating from Peabody Conservatory in 1967, he was invited by the DAAD to be composer-in-residence in Berlin, Germany in 1969-70. From 1972 to 1997 and 2007-08 Cervetti was professor of music at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. During this time he composed over one hundred works for the concert stage, dance, theater, and film; many commissioned, recorded and performed in venues and festivals in the U.S. and abroad.

Cervetti’s works range from acoustic to electronic and blend European tradition, folk elements, and minimalist aesthetics. After an early brush with twelve-tone, and although essentially a minimalist since 1970, he has branched out to embrace and incorporate diverse elements from a variety of aesthetics. As much a traditionalist as an innovator, he straddles musical worlds with new works that showcase a post-modern synthesis that reflect his interest in literature, painting, dance, socio-political topics as well as his rich South American heritage.

Critics summarize that he is markedly independent, almost an outsider, spanning distant musical worlds of distinct originality and poetry. As a boundless creator and master at his craft he combines elements from classical, dance and electronic that show his essential qualities as melodist and colorist, rhythmic vitality, and harmonically modern sophistication which was recently described as “contemporary baroque.”

In the early 1970’s Cervetti’s contributions to the minimalist movement include Guitar Music (the bottom of the iceberg), Madrigal III, …from the earth…, andthe awarding-winning Concerto for Trumpet, Strings and Timpani. Three Next Wave Festivals at the Brooklyn Academy of Music featured his extensive collaborations with New York City’s dance world. The Alicante Festival in Spain commissioned the harpsichord concerto Las Indias Olvidadas; and the opera Elegy For A Prince was premiered in excerpted scenes by New York City Opera/VOX 2007. Among other career highlights were two tours in Spain with Joven Orquesta Nacional de España (JONDE); and sections of The Hay Wain, an electroacoustic symphonic poem inspired by the Bosch triptych, are heard in Oliver Stone’s film Natural Born Killers


Chaconne for the Martyrdom of Atahualpa

This is the second movement of four movements from the harpsichord concerto LAS INDIAS OLVIDADAS-THE FORGOTTEN INDIES.

The work was commissioned in 1992 by the VIII International Contemporary Music Festival of Alicante, Spain in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of the Americas.

It is a driving chaconne infused with a Conga rhythm.

Monika Knoblochova, harpsichord; Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, Vit Mica, conductor.

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Concertino for Piano, Woodwinds and Timpani. 1st Movement

Composed in 2013 for a small ensemble this is the first of three movements titled Echa p’alante or Move Forward. Not totally free of minimal leanings, it incorporates bewitching South American rhythms and riffs.
G. McDonald, conductor; K. Rojahn, piano; E. Brandys, flute I, piccolo; J. Borokowski, flute II; E. England, oboe; Y. Valenzuela, clarinet I; M. McGowan, clarinet II; T. Brunel, bass clarinet; D. Richmond, bassoon; P. Staeudlin, soprano sax; K. O’Doherty, alto sax; G. Landman, tenor sax; E. Hewitt, baritone sax; M. Williams, timpani.

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CHILDHOOD, Aria for Soprano and Electronic Sounds

A mother’s aria lamenting her child’s first signs of autism.
Words by Elizabeth Esris.
Julianne Borg, soprano.

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