Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin
Carnegie Hall Commissions
Ljova was born in Moscow in 1978 and moved to New York with his parents, composer Alexander Zhurbin and writer Irena Ginzburg, in 1990. He divides his time between performing as a violist in diverse groups ranging from his own Ljova and the Kontraband, to string quartets, jazz combos and Gypsy bands; studying and arranging music for Yo-Yo Ma, Kronos Quartet, Jay-Z, and others; and composing original music for film, TV, dance, and the concert stage.
Ljova is the author of more than 70 compositions for classical, jazz, and folk ensembles, as well as scores for four feature films and more than a dozen short films. He is co-founder of Mediant Music, a new company specializing in music for advertising and media. In 2005, Ljova was one of six composers invited to participate in the Sundance Institute's Film Composers Lab. His music has been licensed by the HBO, PBS, BBC, CNBC, and NHK networks, as well as by many other independent projects. In 2007, Ljova worked as assistant to composer Osvaldo Golijov on his score to Francis Ford Coppola's film Youth Without Youth, to which Ljova also contributed an original track, "Middle Village." In 2008, Ljova was guest faculty at The Banff Centre in Canada, focusing equally on composition, arranging, and viola performance. Presently, he serves as Musical Director for Morphoses / The Wheeldon Company.
With his main performing ensemble, Ljova and the Kontraband, Ljova has appeared at the Kennedy Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music (as part of the Sundance Film Festival), New York's Museum of Modern Art, and other venues. The ensemble released its debut album, Mnemosyne, in 2008 and is the featured ensemble on Cupcake, a short film which debuted at Tribeca Film Festival and continues to travel the festival circuit. Kontraband is also featured on the soundtrack to the upcoming film Serpent's Breath.
Ljova is a graduate of The Juilliard School, where he was a pupil of Samuel Rhodes (violist of the Juilliard String Quartet). He has won numerous prizes as a composer and appeared several times as soloist with orchestras, including as a winner of the Menschenkinder-Preis from RTL TV in Germany.
Ljova lives in New York City with his wife, vocalist and attorney Inna Barmash, and their son, Benjamin.
Bio current as of April 2010