Here’s a piece I composed with cancer. I might not finish it.

Here’s a piece I composed with cancer. I might not finish it.


norman lebrecht

August 17, 2016

The Brazilian composer Sergio Roberto de Oliveira has started a video diary about his life with pancreatic cancer. His first entries were in Portuguese, but he has just posted a frank, moving conversation in fluent English about music, cancer and losing the woman he was about to marry. ‘That was harder for me than the cancer news,’ he reflects.

Sergio, who is 46, is unflinching, honest and wonderfully positive. ‘The cancer is a blessing for me,’ he says. ‘It teaches me to respect myself, to slow down.’


‘I am just a Brazilian artist. With cancer.’

Send Sergio a message. He will appreciate your response.


  • John Borstlap says:

    There is something embarrassing in such exposure of private suffering and mishap, however understandable the motivation.

  • Philip Pintelon says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings…take care, may God bless you

  • Tom Moore says:

    Embarrassing? why?

    • jaypee says:

      Because everything John Borstlap aka “the High Priest of Good Musical Taste” doesn’t approve is wrong, embarrassing and anti-musical.
      He’s been trolling on slipped disc for years.
      Just ignore him or make fun of his pretentious comments… No one takes him seriously anyway.
      Now wait for his lame answer…

    • John Borstlap says:

      There is a certain intimicy coinnected to the great subjects of the human condition, like birth, love, death, illness, relationships. The glaring light of public space is bound to distort their reality, and therefore these things should be treated with discretion, allowing for some shadow around private experience. When someone intentionally seeks such exposure, one suspects despair or lack of discretion as motivation, and that is regrettable.

      • Scott Fields says:

        Ah gee, John. That’s more than I wanted to know about your interior monolog. So personal. So revealing. So…uncomfortable to read.

      • Ayveejay says:

        If you knew anything of pancreatic cancer then you would know of the despair it drops on the patient and anyone who truly cares for them.

        It may be his intention, or he may not even realise it, but he’s raising awareness of one of THE most brutal of cancers (80%+ of patients surviving <6 months, only 3% beyond 5 years) which is still something of an enigma to the medics and woefully underfunded when it comes to research.

        Bravo to him for being brave enough to share what remains of his journey. Perhaps you should actually watch the vlog and see what he has to say before claiming to be embarrassed.

        And yes, I lost my soulmate and love of my life to this vile disease just 2 years ago at the age of 43. And no, I'm not embarrassed to say so in public!

  • Bruce says:

    Some people are, by temperament, more inclined (or less inclined) to share the details of their lives. Some people are, by temperament, more inclined (or less inclined) to be open to such sharing. If this kind of sharing makes anyone uncomfortable, they are free not to watch the videos.

  • Pamela says:

    I think everyone listening to you will be wishing you well, as you are speaking from the heart to our hearts. Some of us may be in your situation one day and many of us know pain and loneliness for other reasons. We can only wish you strength to face what lies ahead and hope that you will find comfort in your music for as long as you can. It is wonderful to be creating something so positive that will continue to give pleasure and perhaps uplift the spirits of others. Music can be the ultimate balm for the soul.

  • Yolanda Salapata says:

    Having been close to what you are going through I can only wish you to find the strength to face it and be able to fight it as long as you can…
    Remember however what Jean Paul Sartre said: Hell is the others…

  • Sara Sugihara says:


    wrote to you on your website. what a heartbreaking yet wonderful video. Please continue as long as you can —

  • Alex Radziewski says:

    There is still the true sentece: Shared joy is doubled joy, shared pain is half the pain. Not we give him, he gives us – one of the many reasons we are humans. Let’s bless him for this.

  • Tom Moore says:

    Dear friends,
    you can hear lots of Sergio’s music via places like Spotify,
    and YouTube.–8k-v14w/videos

    The piece that earned him the nomination for the Latin Grammy is called Umas Coisas do Coração (Some Things from the Heart). Sergio believes in communication.