Tcherepnin, Serge (Alexandrovich)

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Tcherepnin, Serge (Alexandrovich)

Tcherepnin, Serge (Alexandrovich), French- born American composer and electronic musical instrument inventor of Russian descent, son of Alexander (Nikolaievich) Tcherepnin and brother of Ivan (Alexandrovich) Tcherepnin; b. Issy-les-Moulineaux, near Paris, Feb. 2, 1941. He studied violin as a child; was taken to the U.S. in 1949 and became a naturalized American citizen in 1950. He studied theory with his father and received instruction in harmony from Boulanger, then took courses with Billy Jim Layton and Kirchner at Harvard Univ. (B.A., 1965), attended Princeton Univ. (1963-64), and completed his training with Eimert, Stockhausen, Nono, Earle Brown, and Boulez in Europe. He was director of the electronic music studio at N.Y.U. (1968-70), and was a teacher of composition at the Valencia (Calif.) School of Music (from 1970) and at Dartington Hall in England (summers, 1979-80). He invented the Serge, a modular synthesizer, which was manufactured by his own company (from 1974).


Inventions for Piano (1960); String Trio (1961); Kaddish for Narrator, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Piano, 2 Percussion, and Violin (1962); Figures-grounds for 7 to 77 Instruments (1964); 2 Tapes: Giuseppe’s Background Music I-II for 4-track Tape (1966); 2 More Tapes: Addition and Subtraction for 2-track Tape (1966); Morning After Piece for Saxophone and Piano (1966); Quiet Day at Bach for Instrument and Tape (1967); Piece of Wood for Performers, Actor, and Composer (1967); Piece of Wood with Weeping Woman for Musicians, Women, Stagehand, and Tape (1967); Film for Mixed Media (1967); “Hat” for Joseph Beuys for Actor and Tape (1968); For Ilona Kabos for Piano (1968); Definitive Death Music for Amplified Saxophone and Instrumental Ensemble (1968); Paysages électroniques, film score (1977); Samba in Aviary, film score (1978).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire