was born in Moscow in 1972. After completing studies in the specialist music school at the State Tchaikovsky Conservatoire, he studied composition with Jörg Herchet at the Hochschule für Musik in Dresden, and with Friedrich Goldmann at the Universität der Künste in Berlin, as well as music theory and music education with Hartmut Fladt (Universität der Künste Berlin).
Since 1994 his music has been performed at the leading international New Music festivals, including the Donaueschinger Musiktage, Wien Modern, Musica Viva, Milano Musica, Biennale Musica (La Biennale di Venezia), Warschauer Herbst, ECLAT, Gaudeamus Muziekweek, MaerzMusik, Ultraschall and Klangspuren Schwaz.
He has received commissions from, among others, Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Konzerthaus Berlin, Ruhrtriennale, SWR, Deutschlandradio, Klangforum Wien, ensemble recherche, and Musik der Jahrhunderte. The opera Secondhand-Zeit
, based on the novel "Second-Hand Time" by the Belarusian Nobel prize-winner Svetlana Alexievich, had its premiere in February 2020 at the Stuttgart Opera under the musical direction of Titus Engel. His “documentary opera” Die Einfachen
(The Simple Ones) on the gay subculture of Leningrad in the 1920s was given its premiere in 2021 in Venice at the Biennale Musica in a production directed by Ilya Shagalov. In 2021-22, Newski was working on an extensive ensemble trilogy consisting of three wholly differently conceived ensemble pieces, written for the Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble, ensemble recherche and ensemble mosaik. The premieres of the first two parts of this trilogy took place in Moscow and Milan; the premiere of the entire cycle is planned for 2023 in Berlin.
Interpreters of his music include ensembles like Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, Klangforum Wien, MusikFabrik, ensemble mosaik, ensemble recherche, Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble, Ensemble 2e2m and Arditti Quartett, as well as soloists and performers such as Christan Tetzlaff, Marcus Weiss, Sarah Maria Sun, Elena Revich, Natalia Pschenitschnikowa, Daniel Gloger and Jakob Diehl, and conductors like Teodor Currentzis, Titus Engel, Emilio Pomarico, Johannes Kalitzke, Philipp Chizhevsky and Enno Poppe. As a composer for the theatre, Newski collaborates with, among others, the directors Kirill Serebrennikov, Marat Gatsalov and Viktor Ryzhakov.
In 2006 Sergej Newski won 1st Prize at the Landeshauptstadt Stuttgart composition competition for his piece Fluss
(2005 version). In addition, he has gained various scholarships, including those from the Villa Massimo/Casa Baldi, Villa Serpentara, Künstlerhof Schreyahn, Cité Internationale des Arts Paris, the Berlin Senate and the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. At the music festival in St. Petersburg in April 2008, he also received the audience prize for his composition Alle
, for speaker and ensemble.
In 2013, the portrait album "Alles" was released on WERGO (VocaalLab, VocalConsort Berlin, MusikFabrik, ensemble mosaik, cond. Titus Engel and Enno Poppe). A further portrait album with the Sonar Quartet was produced in summer 2014 by DeutschlandRadio Kultur.
Sergej Newski has led numerous composition masterclasses, in Moscow, Kyiv, Viitasaari and other cities. In 2016 he was invited to lecture at the Darmstadt Summer Course, and he has been a guest lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley, the California Institute of Arts near Los Angeles, the St. Petersburg State University and the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory, as well as at the conservatories of Berlin, Bremen, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Klagenfurt, Weimar and Hanover. In 2014-15 he led new music theatre workshops for composers and stage directors at the Meyerhold Centre in Moscow.
Sergej Newski lives in Berlin.
Photo: Harald Hoffmann