Stas Namin is a musician and composer, a producer, an artist and photographer; one of the founders of Russian rock music and show business. He directs and produces theatre and cinema, and is involved with and behind numerous social and innovative projects.
1970s
In late 1969, Namin formed a new band, The Flowers, which later became the first national supergroup, which “provoked the country’s curiosity” according to Itogi magazine (issue no. 10/ July 17th, 2010). Stas Namin becomes a household name in the beginning of the 70s, when record label Melodiya released The Flowers’ first vinyl record. During the last 50 years, the group has sold more than 60 million records, despite being originally banned by state media and unrecognized by authorities right up until Perestroika. Several generations grew up on songs by Namin and his group The Flowers, including his hit song, “We Wish You Happiness”, which has remained the Russia’s favourite for over 40 years.

1980s to 90s

With Mikhail Gorbachov’s rise to power and the beginning of Perestroika in 1986, Namin and David Woollcombe (Great Britain) organised the first Russian-American project — a musical Peace Child, as well as the first ever live TV linkup between Russia and the US, and a 45 day tour of the musical and group The Flowers throughout the United States and Canada.
In 1987, Namin founded the country’s first private production company — the Stas Namin Centre (SNC), responsible for launching such national stars as: Brigada S, Kalinov Most, Moral Codex, Splin and others, he also created the group Gorky Park, which toured and had hit record in the United States. Namin organized the first rock ‘n’ pop festivals, including the Festival of Pop Music in Armenia (1981), Moscow Peace Festival in Luzhniki (1989) with international headliners; One World Festival (1990, 1995 and 1997), and Rock in the Kremlin (1991), which exposed thousands of Soviet teenagers to real rock and roll for the first time. He created some of the first private enterprises inside the USSR including: a recording studio in 1986, a record label in 1990, a concert and talent agency in 1987, a design studio in 1987, a model agency, and a fashion theatre (1988), a radio station (1991), a TV company (1992), and a cultural magazine (1995) and more, thus breaking the state monopoly and setting the scene for the start of uncensored “Russian show business.  Namin created the first non-state Moscow Symphony Orchestra (MSO) in 1989, produced the first ice show Moscow-On-Ice in 1991, and created the first in Russia repertoire theatre for musicals in 1999.
Moscow Music Festival of Peace, 1989

2000s

In the oughts, the Stas Namin Centre produced a series of Russian cultural festivals called the Russian Nights, which presented the Russia culture to the United States, Germany, China and other countries. 
At the beginning of the 2000s, Namin shifted his attention mostly to personal creative activities that included music, theatre, cinema, painting, photography and more.

Theatre

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.

Photography

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 2001, the State Russian Museum published a signature album of Namin’s photographs. There he also 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.

 

Paintings & Graphics

 

Namin has practiced fine art for more than 15 years, and his paintings and graphics have been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout Russia and abroad.  In recent years he has created a series of portraits; Italian, Armenian and Jerusalem series. In 2014, Namin was awarded honorary membership of the Russian Academy of Arts. In 2016, the Academy presented his solo exhibition Inside Out; the catalogue was prefaced by art experts Alexander Borovsky and Victor Miziano. In 2017, Namin had a solo exhibition in Yerevan, where he was made an honorary member of the Armenian Union of Artists and his works became a part of the permanent exhibition in the national gallery of Armenia. In 2018, Namin’s works were included in the exhibition Red Gates / Against the Flow — a gigantic project by the Russian Academy of Arts, in which more than 350 artists took part, among them Konstantin Khudyakov, Zurab Tsereteli, Tatiana Nazarenko, Natalia Nesterova and others.  The show was launched in Saratov, home to one of the oldest art museums in Russia, and continued through several towns along the Volga river and culminated in Moscow. Namin’s works were included in yet another annual catalogue volume. In 2019, Namin became a member of the Creative Union of Russian Artists and braught together Andrei Bartenev, Anton Adasinsky, Petlyura, Dmitry Krymov, Vladimir Klavikho, Hermes Zaigott and German Vinogradov in an art group The Dark Side of the Moon.

Films

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); 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.

Trailer Ancient Temples of Armenia

Trailer The Real Cuba

Trailer A conversation with Neizvestny

Trailer Free to Rock

Symphonic Music

In 2011, Namin completed his eight-part symphonic suite Autumn in St Petersburg, which he began way back in the 90s. In 2012, a DVD and CD were released, from the first rendition in the Moscow International House of Music. In 2016, German composer and pianist Ratko Delorko created and recorded a piano version, and in 2018, famous Russian pianist Boris Berezovsky did a piano arrangement for two of the parts and included them in his own concert program.

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.

Ethnic music

In 2002, The Flowers with Sergei Starostin recorded an album of rock versions of old Russian folk songs. 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 2002, 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.

Rock Music

In the mid-1990s, Namin and guest musicians recorded Kamasutra, his solo album of eight art-rock guitar improvisations. Namin dedicated this work to his friend, Frank Zappa, a famous composer and multi-instrumentalist who passed away in 1993. The album was recorded in a single take, without overdubbing; the playing time of the disc equals the length of the recording session.

In the same period, Namin and stars of the 1960-70s brought out a blues and rock ‘n roll double album called Dinosaurs. One disc was produced in a studio, featuring Noel Redding (Jimi Hendrix Experience), Eric Bell (Thin Lizzy), Marco Mendoza (Whitesnake), Herman Rarebell (Scorpions) as well as Russian rock musicians. The second disc was recorded live at the Dinosaurs Festival, with pioneering bands of Russian rock such as Sokol, Skify, Tsvety, Mashina Vremeni, Skomorokhi, Vtoroye Dykhaniye.

From 2019, Namin has been a producer for the Hermes Brothers, a Moscow band. He played the guitar as a special guest on some of their tracks. Their three music videos, recorded live at a concert, have just been released.

The Flowers

Namin recorded two albums at the Abbey Road Studio with The Flowers: Back to the USSR (2009) with his 70s hits and Window to Freedom (2010) with songs that were forbidden by the Soviet government in the 80s. Society of Sound, a monthly place to listen to, discover and discuss music and sound, included this album in its collection.
Three more concert DVDs were released:
The Flowers. 40 (jubilee concert) (2010) that summed up the groups 40 years of creativity, flawlessly presenting all its best-known songs. Musicians from various lineups participated along with friends and guests;
Homo Sapiens (2013) a concert that included an instrumental intro along with 12 new songs;
Flower Power (2013) a concert that showcased  contemporary remakes of old hits and new songs, which The Flowers played with friends, guests and Russia’s best musicians.
Some of The Flowers’ most socially relevant songs include:
-“Joy & Shining” that was part of Namin’s project One World Freedom, and was performed at a special plenary meeting of the UNESCO General Conference in Paris honouring the Declaration on Cultural Diversity’s 10th anniversary. The compositionJoy & Shining graphically embodies the idea of One World. Along with rock and pop stars and ethnic musicians, adepts of the world’s five major religions — Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam – chant prayers in the song. Shining, Joy and Love unites everyone in this hymn of unity among the earth’s diverse peoples.
-“Feast During the Plague”, dedicated to the war in Ukraine.
-The Flowers’ remake of “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd and “Give Peace a Chance” by John Lennon, which received international acclaim.
-Namin’s song “Window to Freedom” performed by The Flowers in 2010 with Russian rock stars, was included in the  Free To Rock film, and The Flowers performed it at the film’s presentation at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles.
Autumn 2019 marked the beginning of a jubilee year for The Flowers, which kicked off with a concert Flowers Concert – 50 in the Kremlin Palace on 19 November.
«A Feast in Time of Plague» / «Give Peace a Chance» / «This World is Strange», from the «Politinform» series

Show «The Flowers-30»

Show «The Flowers-40»

Show «Homo sapiens»

Show «Flower power»

KISS’ Paul Stanley greets The Flowers with the jubilee