Sergio Cervetti

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Sergio Cervetti is a composer of over 150 works for orchestra, voice, chamber ensemble, dance, and film, who finds himself for the first time published as a translator of poetry. He is no stranger to poetry however, as a number of his compositions have set poetry to music.

Cervetti attended Peabody Institute where he studied under Ernst Krenek, Lazlo Halasz, and Stefan Grové. In 1966 he won the Caracas Festival prize for “Five Episodes for violin, cello and piano”. Following his graduation, he was invited by the DAAD to be composer-in-residence in Berlin. During this time he wrote “Lux Lucet in Tenebris” for chorus for which he was awarded the Gaudeamus Prize in Holland. He returned to the Unites States in 1970 and took up residence in New York City where he taught at Brooklyn College, worked for Virgil Thomson, and studied electronic music with Vladimir Ussachevsky at Columbia University. He established his reputation as a composer of electronic music with “The Hay Wain”, inspired by the Bosch painting, sections of which are used in Oliver Stone’s film, “Natural Born Killers.”

Cervetti joined the faculty of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 1972 where he taught music composition, history and choreography as Master Teacher until 1997. During this time he began his long association with the dance world with “40 Second/42nd Variations”, “Wind Devil”, and “Inez de Castro.” For WNYC Radio’s 50th Anniversary Concert, Cervetti was among the composers who musically set John Ashbery’s poem, “No Longer Very Clear”. “Nuestras Vidas Son Los Ríos”, for soprano, string quartet and harpsichord, with a text by 16th century Spanish poet, Jorge Manrique, premiered in 2003 at the Casa de America in Madrid, cosponsored by the American, Canadian, and Mexican Embassies.

Sergio Cervetti’s opera, “Elegy For A Prince”, written in collaboration with librettist, Elizabeth Esris, has been selected to be part of the 2007 VOX Opera Showcase Festival. Excerpts of “Elegy For A Prince” will be performed by the orchestra and singers from New York City Opera at the Skirball Center at New York University in May, 2007. He is currently working in collaboration with Elizabeth Esris on his second opera based on Gilles de Rais, and a theater piece on Asperger’s Syndrome. More information concerning “Elegy For A Prince” is at