Sergio Cervetti is a Uruguayan-born American composer who came to the U.S. in 1962 to study composition. By 1966 he had attracted international attention on winning the chamber music prize at the Caracas, Venezuela Music Festival. After studying with Ernst Krenek and graduating from Peabody Conservatory 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 Master Teacher 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 were commissioned, recorded and performed in venues and festivals in the U.S. and abroad.
Cervetti's works range from acoustic to electronic and deftly blend folk elements, European tradition, and minimalist aesthetics. After an early brush with twelve-tone and minimalism his current approach is free and flexible. As much a traditionalist as innovator, he continues to straddle musical worlds with new works that showcase a post-modern synthesis of techniques from diverse periods and sources. Many often reflect his rich South American heritage as well as interest in literature, painting, dance, and socio-political issues.
Critics summarize that Cervetti is a markedly independent composer, almost an outsider spanning distant musical worlds of distinct originality and poetry; a boundless creator and master at his craft who combines elements from dance, classical, and electronic music into one cohesive whole that show us his essential qualities as melodist and colorist, rhythmic vitality, and harmonically modern sophistication.
In addition to his twenty-five year tenure at NYU and Berlin residency, there are Cervetti’s important contributions to the minimalist movement with early works such as Guitar Music (the bottom of the iceberg), Madrigal III, …from the earth…, and Concerto for Trumpet and Strings. Extensive collaborations with New York City’s dance world include three Next Wave Festivals at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. 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 The Hay Wain, an electroacoustic symphonic poem inspired by the Bosch triptych, sections of which are heard in Oliver Stone’s film Natural Born Killers. Starting in 2009 he has recorded fourteen works with PARMA Recordings for numerous albums.