New Music at Carnegie Hall: Carnegie Hall Commissions
Commission at a Glance
Niña Dance
Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin
Recorded on May 9, 2009
at Zankel Hall

Sofia Rei Koutsovitis, Vocalist

Workshop Ensemble: Alan Pierson, Conductor; Carol McGonnell, Clarinet; Nathan Botts, Trumpet; John Ostrowski, Percussion; Jared Soldiviero, Percussion; Matti Kovler, Piano; Yael Manor, Piano; Brandon Seabrook, Guitar; William Holshouser, Accordion; Keats Dieffenbach, Violin; You-Young Kim, Viola; Lev “Ljova” Zhrubin, Famiola; Claire Bryant, Cello; Jane Cords-O’Hara, Cello; Kristoffer Saebo, Bass; Jeremy Flower, Laptop


Notes on the Work

Niña Dance is a song cycle inspired by the unsolved murders and disappearances of women and young girls in the city of Juárez, Mexico, situated just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas. Since 1993, over 600 bodies have been discovered, and over 1,000 are still missing. Many were students, and most were maquiladora (duty-free or tariff-free factory) workers. Few arrests have been made, and the overwhelming majority of the cases remain unsolved. Pink crosses dot the streets of Juárez to remember the lost. While the murders (sometimes referred to as femicides) are a particularly sensitive subject in Mexico, the murder of innocent women occurs throughout other nations around the world.

Niña Dance is a tribute to and meditation on the memory of the mothers and daughters who have disappeared without a trace, and a protest to all for whom their mother’s love was never fully understood.

As the son of two generations of translators (both my mother and her father translated centuries of German poetry into Russian), and having grown up listening to classical opera recordings in Russian, I was compelled to set this song cycle in English, hoping that the words would make a deeper impact on a New York audience.

Many thanks to Marjorie Agosín and Saúl Yurkievich for their poetry, and to Cola Franzen and Celeste Kostopulos-Cooperman for their equally vivid translations.

—Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin