1980s to 90s
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 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.
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
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).
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.
Ancient Temples of Armenia official trailer
The Real Cuba official trailer
A Conversation with Neizvestny official trailer
Free to Rock official trailer
In 1989, the Moscow Symphony Orchestra was established at the Stas Namin Centre.
The orchestra was working in two directions. The first is Symphony Classics, a classical symphonic repertoire (Ravel ‘Bolero’; Mozart ‘Requiem’; Berlioz ‘Fantastique Symphony’) performed at traditional academic venues — conservatoire halls, philharmonic societies and so on. The second is a rock direction, in which the orchestra performed under the name Moscow Symphony Rocks with both classical symphonic works and works from the repertoire of world rock stars — Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Queen, etc. It performed solo or together with soloists and bands using all the effects inherent to rock music: lasers, video installations, sound reinforcement, pyrotechnics, etc. Moscow Symphony Rocks gave open air concerts, performed at stadiums, toured the UK with Electric Light Orchestra II, participated in festivals in China, South Korea.
In 2001, OGAN Duryan’narc was invited to become the Principal conductor of MSO. Maestro Durjan was a French conductor who cooperated in his youth with Herbert von Karajan, had an inspiring experience of working with more than one hundred orchestras around the world and was awarded the title of Knight Emeritus of Arts and Literature by the French Government. During his European tour, critics rated Maestro as Toscanini of Eastern Europe.
In 2011, Namin completed his eight-part symphonic suite Fall in St Petersburg, which he began way back in the 90s. In 2012, a DVD and CD were released, from the first rendition in Moscow International Performing Arts Center. 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.
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.
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 (The Tercel), Skify (The Scythians), Tsvety (The Flowers), Mashina Vremeni (The Time Machine), Skomorokhi (The Saltimbancos), Vtoroye Dykhaniye (The Runner’s High).
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.
CALENDER ‘THE FLOWERS–50. LIVE FROM THE KREMLIN’
TWELVE NEW SONGS
At the The Flowers–50 concert in The Kremlin Palace independent shooting team made a film showing what was going before the gig as well as backstage. The film is called simply The Flowers 50 — Backstage.