Cervetti, Sergio (1940–)

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Cervetti, Sergio (1940–)

Sergio Cervetti (b. 9 November 1940), Uruguayan composer. Born in Dolores, Cervetti studied piano in Montevideo with Hugo Balzo and counterpoint and harmony with Carlos Estrada and Guido Santórsola. He then studied composition at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore under the direction of Ernst Krenek and Stefan Grové. Later he worked in electronic music under the guidance of Mario Davidovsky, Vladimir Ussachevsky, and Alcides Lanza. He received the composition prize at the Caracas Festival in 1966. In 1968 he was artist-in-residence with the DAAD (German exchange program) for the city of Berlin and received important commissions from Baden-Baden and the Art Academy in Berlin. His music for ballet includes Transatlantic Light (1987) for the Dance Company of Nina Wiener and 40 Second/42 Variations (1979) for the Holland Festival.

Until 1971 Cervetti's work was characterized by dodecaphonic tendencies with some incursions into aleatoric languages. Following his move to New York City, he became part of the minimalist movement. Even if his aesthetics separated him completely from other Latin American musical schools modeled after the European, particularly Polish, composers, Cervetti created his own version of minimalism, producing works with strong lyrical lines, thick counterpoint, and a hypnotic atmosphere. He later transformed this style to include pop and nationalist styles. In 1979, he became a U.S. citizen.

Other important works by Cervetti include Five Episodes for chamber ensemble (1965); Divertimento for woodwinds (1964); Plexus for orchestra (1970), commissioned by the Fifth Inter-American Music Festival, Washington, D.C.; Zinctum for string quartet (1967); The Bottom of the Iceberg for solo guitar (1975); Transatlantic Light for electronic keyboard (1987); Lucet in Tenebris for choir (1970); Bits and Pieces and Moving Parts for chamber ensemble and tape (1970); Trumpet Concerto (1977); 4 Fragments of Isadora for soprano and piano (1979); Wind Devil for electronic tape (1983); Llanto, muerte y danza for harpsichord (1984); 3 Estudios australes for piano (1989); Concerto for harpsichord and eleven instruments (1990); Leyenda for soprano and orchestra (1991); and Las indias olvidadas, a concerto for harpsichord and chamber group (1992), commissioned by the Festival of Alicante, Spain. Until 1997, he taught at Tisch School of Arts at New York University.

See alsoMusic: Art Music .


John Vinton, ed. Dictionary of Contemporary Music (1974), p. 134.

Gérard Béhague, Music in Latin America: An Introduction (1979), pp. 341-342; Octavo festival internacional de música contemporánea (1992), pp. 46-47, 110-111.

Additional Bibliography

Alcaraz, José Antonio. Hablar de música. Iztapalapa: Unidad Iztapalapa, 1982.

                                     Alcides Lanza