Sergey Zhukov was born in 1951 in Zhitomir, Ukraine, where he began his music training, graduating from the Zhitomir Music College in 1973. He then moved to Moscow, and graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1978, continuing on to complete a post-graduate degree in composition in 1980 - studying with Professor Mikhail Chulaki. While still a student, he received a special prize from the Union of Composers, for his work Dramatic Triptych (1978).
Success followed the composer in his later works as well. He has participated actively in new music festivals throughout his career, particularly in Russia, but likewise in such international festivals as the International Podium Festivals (Prague), the Charles Ives Festival (USA), the Week van de Heden Musiek (Belgium), among others. Indeed, a good many of his works since 1980 have been premiered at the "Moscow Autumn" Festival.
Sergey Zhukov’s compositions include a large catalogue of chamber, choral, orchestral, and theatrical works. He has written four ballets: “Insomnia”, staged in Bolshoi Theatre of Russia in 1999; “Fatum’, staged in 2001 in Maly Opera and Ballet Theatre in S-Petersburg; “Solaris” (1990) and “Scarlet Floret” (2007) staged in Dnepropetrovsk (Ukraine) Opera and Ballet Theatre.
His predilection for the instrumental concerto and dramatic vocal music such as song-cycles and oratorio possibly highlights the composer's attraction towards genres with a theatrical element. Even in his 'pure' chamber and instrumental music, this element, as well as the kindred elements of the visual and the graphic, are frequently present - for example the composition for a dancing clarinetist, dancer and a sound track The Fate of Nemesida (1992).
Sergey Zhukov has placed particular emphasis on the genre of the concerto – among them Concerto for Orchestra and Percussion (1990), Concerto-Partes (1992) for string orchestra, Concerto-Sacra (1997) for piano trio and strings. But the most significant in his creativity is the macro-cycle of four instrumental concertos: “Silentium” (2001), for piano and orchestra; “Gesthemania Night” (2003) for electric cello, mixed chorus, six horns, trio percussions and prepared piano; “Angel’s Day” (2004) for violin and orchestra; Concerto-Mystery (1994) for violin, cello, piano and orchestra combines all of concertos. It is an allegorical work, analogous to the medieval mystery plays, and it pits a fragment of Beethoven, in C major, the theme of our heroes, the soloists, against the forces of darkness, or chaos, in the form of parodistic imitation by a second trio of orchestral players, and richly symbolic Scriabinesque effects in the orchestra.
With his interest in the deep processes of our spiritual life, Zhukov has become fascinated by esoteric teachings about the ways in which humanity has acquired moral and emotional experience. One of the creative results of this fascination is the ballet Solaris. Another work is the Concerto Mystery for violin, cello, piano and orchestra.
Sergey Zhukov has written many chamber works in the so-called "instrumental theatre" manner - musicians move around the stage, while playing, the performance being accompanied by a recital of texts and quasi-improvised singing. These "innovations" don't interfere with his serious music. As the composer himself admits, before setting down to work, he needs to dismiss all other thoughts, turn into a "clean sheet" and listen to himself and the sounds that arise from the depth of his soul.