1980s to 90s
2000s to 2020s
Namin is the artistic director, stage director and producer for the Moscow Music and Drama Theatre, which he founded in 1999.
Within the first fifteen years, the theatre formed a repertoire with plays of nearly every genre. Each member of this uniquely versatile troupe is a professional actor, singer and dancer. The versatility has allowed the theatre to find not only its style, which became evident starting from the earliest performances, but also its own language of expression.
The Stas Namin theatre debuted with a Russian version of Hair, a legendary American anti-war hippie musical. The first performances at the Estrada Theatre coincided with the beginning of the Second Chechen War. At the press conference, the producers were accused of pacifism and lack of patriotism. Similar charges had been made against the original American version in 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War.
In 2008, the Namin theatre took part in the 40th anniversary celebrations of the first Broadway performance of Hair in New York City. It also appeared among the world’s top five troupes in a documentary on this play. Today, the Moscow Hair is the world’s ‘longest’: it has been performed for twenty years.
The theatre’s second show was a production of the iconic version of Jesus Christ Superstar, the only rock opera allowed to be performed at biblical sites of the holy city. It is also the only one played both in Russian and English in Russia.
Along with classical drama shows, such as Cosmos, based on Vasily Shushkin’s short stores, and NYC. The ‘80s. Us!, based on memoirs of an artist Mihail Chemiakin, the theatre has presented plays that, instead of conventional storylines, feature images combining poetry, music and choreography. The most prominent example is a reconstruction of Victory over the Sun, an avant-garde Russian opera that premiered in 1913. The show, dedicated to the centenary of Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square, toured Europe’s best venues: Basel (Switzerland), Paris (France), Ravenna (Italy), Thessaloniki (Greece), etc. It was praised by critics and the media.
That show was followed by two song-and-dance pieces: The Dweller of the Heights with lyrics by Velimir Khlebnikov and a jazz rock score by Alexei Khvostenko and Auktyon; and S-Quark based on a symphony of the same title by Namin. The scenic design of the latter faithfully reproduces Fragile, a painting by an avant-garde artist Vasily Kandinsky. In the autumn of 2018, the show caused a sensation at the festival of contemporary experimental theatre in Egypt.
The troupe has also explored contemporary theatre — in Unbearably Long Embrace based on a play by Ivan Vyrypaev as well as in Breath of Time and Killed by Domesticity by a rap poet Oleg Grouz.
Nowadays, the main concept of the theatre is expressivity based on a synergy of genres. It can be achieved thanks to the actors’ advanced acting, dancing and singing skills as well as due to such state-of-the art technology as virtual scenic design, panoramic video projection and 3D audio.
Namin’s musicals The Snow Queen and The Little Prince have been popular with young audiences for years. The shows were reinvented using new projection technologies. The actors are performing live within a 360° video projection.
Another musical for children, played to a full house in Moscow and often performed in other cities, is Town Musicians of Bremen. This original version was produced under a guidance of the composer, Gennady Gladkov.
Since 2011, the theatre has offered drama classes for children. Kids aged three to seventeen study acting skills, artistic diction and movement, singing and choreography. In the spring of 2019, the students brought their show to the Youth Space, a festival in Sochi, and won a prize for Best Art and Music Direction. Over the years, more than a thousand children attended the classes.
Stas Namin has long been recognized as a world class photographer in Russia and abroad. His works have been exhibited in museums and galleries all over the world. Between the end of the 90s and beginning of the 2000s, his photographic works have been featured in shows at the Bolshoi Manezh and the Central House of Artists in Moscow and at other prestigious galleries and museums around the world. In the State Russian Museum, he participated in exhibitions Born to Crawl and No Glamour. More recently he completed a 15 year photo project The Magic of Venus, a tribute to the phenomenon of childbirth and curated by art experts at the State Russian Museum.
In 2001, the State Russian Museum (St Petersburg) held Namin’s personal photo exhibition and published his photo album.
While Namin’s first photographs were shot exclusively on film, and the lack of computer processing and retouching was conceptual for him, from the 2010s onwards he began to work extensively with a digital camera. He is engaged in landscape, studio, and panoramic shooting, experimenting in color and black and white photography. What concerns his projects «Computer Games» and «Matriarchy», they are already fully built on creativity in digital technologies.
Paintings & Graphics
In the spring of 2021 (4 March to 18 April), Russia’s oldest art museum named after Alexander Radishchev in Saratov opened Namin’s personal exhibition ‘Winged Century Flies…’. It presents different techniques and directions in which the artist works. In addition to classical oil paintings and graphics (works from the series ‘Armenia’, ‘Italy’, ‘New York’, created under the impression of travelling around the world), this is applied art, photo art, etc.
In 1993, Stas Namin (general producer) and Viktor Ginzburg (director) created ‘The Restless Garden’, a film about the sexual revolution in the USSR. It is based on performances and stories by residents of the Stas Namin Centre, set in the Neskuchny Garden in Gorky Park. The film won 12 international film awards.
On April 5, 2021 the film was presented at the Artdocfest — International Documentary Film Festival in Moscow.
Also, in the early nineties Stas Namin as a general producer and Boris Yukhananov as a director made a documentary ‘Moscow Underground’. The film explored the alternative art scene in Moscow of that time.
In 2007 Namin becomes the producer of the documentary film ‘Ogan Duryan. The Profession of High Senses’, created by an international team of the maestro’s fans. In 2010 he produces a film ‘Grigoriy Arutyunov. First Secretary of the Second Republic’, about the leader of Armenia from 1937 to 1953, who actually created the current architectural look of Yerevan and built many important buildings in Armenia — he was popularly known as Grigor the Builder.
In March 2012, Namin travels to northern India, the places of pilgrimage of The Beatles, visits ancient Buddhist and Hindu temples and monasteries, meditates in the Himalayas and gives a sitar concert at the Krishna-Balarama Temple in Vrindavan. Throughout the trip, Namin never parted with his camcorder. Upon his return to Moscow, he used the footage he had shot to create the travel-movie ‘Magic India’.
A few documentaries that Namin made while travelling in Africa at the end of the 1990s also belong to the travel-movie genre: they depict a world of wild nature, life of indigenous tribes and the endless expanses of the continent.
The documentary film Free to Rock (US, 2015), explored the role that rock music in the Cold War and was co-produced by Namin and along with director Jim Brown. Free to Rock premiered at Georgetown University and at the Council for Foreign Relations at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. In addition, it was presented at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, OH, the legendary GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles, at the Moscow International Film Festival, in Berlin, Paris and other European and American cities. In 2017, the film had its world TV premiere on the PBS Television network (US) and was distributed on DVD in 2017.
Namin and Jim Brown also collaborated on a documentary film Real Cuba (2017) that examines happiness and longevity amongst the Cuban people. It received rave reviews at a number of cinema festivals (Cuba, USA, Armenia and others).
A number of documentaries, namely Ancient Temples of Armenia (2016) featuring Catholicos Garegin II; and Conversation with Ernst Neizvestny (2016) — Namin shot with his son Artem, a director and cameraman.
In 2019, Stas co-produced the film Anastas Mikoyan from the cycle Country of Unions. Forgotten Grandees, created by Star Media for the First TV Channel Russia. The film tells about the role this outstanding politician played in giving the Soviet Union the upper hand in military operations, unbelievable industrial achievements, and in political battles.
Namin’s documentaries are screened and win awards at festivals and special screenings.
In July 2018, Stas Namin’s documentaries Real Cuba and Ancient Temples of Armenia take part in the Golden Apricot international film festival in Yerevan and Gyumri, Armenia. In Gyumri, Namin’s films open the festival programme.
In October 2018, Real Cuba is recognised as Best Documentary at the Open Window International Film Festival (India).
In 2020 Namin becomes the winner of the Petropol Art Prize (St. Petersburg) for his documentaries ‘Ancient Temples of Armenia’ and ‘Conversation with Ernst Neizvestny’.
Ancient Temples of Armenia official trailer
The Real Cuba official trailer
A Conversation with Neizvestny official trailer
Free to Rock official trailer
In 2016, Namin finished his first symphony Centuria S Quark. In the same year it was recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra and released on CD by British-US company Parma Recordings (Navona record label). In 2017, the Russian National Orchestra performed a signature edit by a prominent conductor, composer and piano player Mikhail Pletnev, in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. Together with Aram Khachaturian’s Symphony no. 3 it was shown on Russia’s Culture channel on the Armenia’s genocide Remembrance Day.
In 2002, The Flowers with Sergei Starostin recorded the album Russian Village Songs, which combines authentic Russian village songs with modern rock versions, while retaining their authentic spirit and image.
In 2011, Namin recorded a double album of ethnic music One World Music Freedom, featuring musicians of India, Armenia, Israel, Palestine, Great Britain, Africa and others. The album included recordings of a duet with Zhivan Gasparyan, a guitar improvisation with Masai tribes and more.
Also in 2011, the Moscow International House of Music presented Namin’s ‘Fusion Raga’ — a tribute to George Harrison, on sitar and accompanied by Indian and Russian musicians and a symphony orchestra.
In 2012, Namin played the sitar at a concert in Vrindavan (India) and recorded a triple album Meditation, with guest appearances by musicians from India and other countries. In 2018, to mark 150 years since the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, by the invitation of the Embassy of India, Namin recorded Gandhi’s favorite song ‘Saints Are Not Born’ on the sitar and made a video clip that became hugely popular after being shown on Indian national TV.
Founded by Namin in 1969, after a half-banned twenty-year existence under the Soviet regime, The Flowers were set free when Gorbachev came in and stopped their activities after a world tour (1986–1988).
In 2011–2012, three concert DVDs were released:
Other projects and interests
Namin’s interest in the cosmos, the ideas of the wholeness of the universe, binding of the earthly consciousness and the cosmic began in his childhood, from the stories of his father, a military pilot, about his observations during flights of incomprehensible objects, from a meeting at the age of nine with the legendary Gagarin immediately after his return to Earth. As a young man he developed a fascination for the cosmology of Blavatskaya, the spiritual practices of Alice Bailey, the cosmism of Nikolai Fyodorov and the noosphere doctrine of Vladimir Vernadsky. In his student years reading of Samizdat The Rose of the World by Daniel Andreev, Velimir Khlebnikov’s Tablets was added as well as an interest in Indian philosophy. Later there came the acquaintance and longstanding friendship with the cosmonaut and artist Alexei Leonov, and during his studies at the All-Russian Academy of Sciences — lectures by historian and philosopher Lev Gumilev, his theory of ethnogenesis, passionarity and the connection between all the processes taking place in the biosphere and the impact of cosmic energy.
In 2014, Namin attended STARMUS, a global festival of science communication in Spain, met many of the world’s leading physics scientists, including Stephen Hawking. They spent a week talking, discussing the issues to which Hawking devoted his lectures and seminars. The scientist recommended that Namin contact the unique British designer Mark Turner — one of only three in Britain to hand-build custom-made telescopes — which Namin did on his return to Moscow. A few months later the telescope was ready, delivered to Russia and Namin got the opportunity to observe stars, planets and galaxies from the window of his Moscow flat.
In the same 2014, during meetings with Hawking, he got the idea for a future symphony, which he finished in 2016 — Centuria S-Quark. «Centuria is a prediction, along the lines of Nostradamus’ Centuria. The S-quark is the ‘strange quark’ — a type of tiny material particle found by humanity. I see my symphony as a kind of prediction, a prediction of the strange future of the material world.» (Stas Namin)
Namin’s interest in travelling probably began in his youth, with a trip to Armenia with his mother. It was not only a new visual experience for him — the vast mountain landscapes, the snow-capped peaks — and an introduction to new, unusually hospitable and friendly people, but also a source of inspiration for the future. In 2014, he, in his turn, took his son to Armenia, and the result of their 2000-kilometre journey through the country of his ancestors was the documentary The Ancient Temples of Armenia. He also dedicated his painting series to it, which was presented at the Russian Academy of Arts and partially was included in the permanent exhibition of the National Gallery of Armenia.
In 1997, as a successful musician, producer and public figure, he and his friend, the medical scientist and TV journalist Yuri Senkevich, the legendary traveller Thor Heyerdahl and some other friends made his first trip around the world. Having started in Moscow, they circled around all continents — Europe, Africa, South America, islands Easter, Tahiti and Bora Bora, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and returned to Russia from the other side of the world. This journey marked the start of Namin’s International Geographic’s travel-movie series and several photographic series.
Namin has realised his interest in different cultures both in the One World International Ethnic Festival he founded in 1990 in Moscow and in collaboration with the French SOS-Rassismus movement in joint cultural events in Paris. Later One World evolved into a social movement, and in 2019 the One World Freedom Foundation was established, which supports humanitarian ideas and initiatives aimed at the survival and recovery of humanity.
In the early 2010s, Namin, who back in the sixties had developed a love to Indian music and philosophy under the influence of his idols, The Beatles, learns to play the ancient Indian musical instrument, the sitar, and in the spring of 2012 tours North India, the pilgrimage grounds of the Fab Four. He meditates in the Himalayas, visits Buddhist and Hindu temples and monasteries, and performs sitar concerts in Vrindavan and Varanasi.
In the late eighties, during his first world tour with the group ‘Flowers’, Namin visited Zimbabwe and was fascinated by African culture. In the early 2000s, travelling with friends, within several years Namin toured most of the countries of the continent. On these trips, he created a series of photographs and videos which became part of his International Geographic series.
Having first attended the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (USA, New Mexico) in 1991, Stas decided to organize something similar in Russia.
In 1992, SNC Corporation created its own branded balloon and organized the first Russian balloon fiesta ‘Peace March’ started on the Red Square. For the first and only time, dozens of balloons soared into the air in the very centre of Moscow and floated over the Kremlin and the whole city.
Later in 1992 the first Russian balloon with an unusual shape, the ‘Yellow Submarine’, was designed by Namin. It was, undoubtedly, inspired by the famous song of The Beatles — Yellow Submarine, but had an original design and did not copy the image from the same-name cartoon. Namin’s copyright on the design and the name of the balloon was registered in the USA. ‘Yellow Submarine’ multiply participated in the Russian Balloon Fiestas and the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta , the world’s largest media wrote about it. Namin’s balloon was recognized there as one of the most popular and entered the encyclopedia of the best balloons in the world.