Projects

    Music Composition

    Ljova composes music for concerts, soundtracks for films, choreography and theater. He’s written pieces for Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, City of London Sinfonia, The Brooklyn Philharmonic, The Louisville Orchestra, A Far Cry and The Knights. Chamber music commissions include projects with Brooklyn Rider, Art of Èlan, Quintet of the Americas, and many others. Film soundtracks include the Peabody-winning “My Perestroika”, Raindance-winning “Datuna: Portrait of America”, the youtube viral video “Signal Strength” and others. Dance collaborations include projects with choreographers Aszure Barton, Kate Skarpetowska, Christopher Wheeldon, Damian Woetzel and others.

    Ljova photo by Pemi Paull

    Ljova and the Kontraband

    Ljova and the Kontraband is the chamber-jam ensemble playing semi-improvized compositions by Ljova. Infusing Classical forms with new meanings, the ensemble plays a seductive brew of Ljova’s Eastern-European and Gypsy-inspired melodies, Latin rhythms, and Jazzy improvisations. The ensemble features Ljova on the viola and famiola and his close collaborators on accordion, bass, percussion and vocals. [More Info, Videos, Clips]

    • “Brahmsian tone, Bartok’s lines, hiccupping Hungarian rhythms, Klezmer soul and the sexy plaintiveness of tango and the blues.” — Justin Davidson, NEWSDAY (reviewing Kontraband’s show at Joe’s Pub)

    Solo Shows

    Ljova’s debut solo recording of his compositions, “Vjola World on Four Strings”, was created almost exclusively viola. One outgrowth from that album was the creation of Ljova and the Kontraband (above); the other was the continuing exploration of solo repertoire with the use of an elaborate looper set-up, which lets Ljova create intense new music on the spot, including a growing repertoire of shorter pieces as well as hour-long “Looper Symphonies”.

    • [Ljova] is an eclectic with an ear for texture…Throaty melodies supported by pizzicato rhythms, lush choral figures and counterpoint.
      —Allan Kozinn, NEW YORK TIMES

    • Rustic dances and evocative soundscapes, all crafted from … the gorgeously grainy purr of his fiddle.
      —Steve Smith, TIME OUT NY

    [Listen to Ljova’s solos sets on Soundcloud]
    [
    Listen to albums on Bandcamp]

    Arrangements

    As an arranger, Ljova has completed dozens of musical arrangements for Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, Brooklyn Rider, the Knights, the Kronos Quartet, Alondra de la Parra and the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, the rapper Jay-Z, Bond, Matmos, Ryan Star, and others. Resulting from these collaborations are arrangements of musics from Azerbaijian, China, India, Iran, Japan, Russia, Tanzania, as well as gypsy music from Romania and France.

    Ljova's arrangements appear on Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble recording

    Remix/Mashup/Online Collaboration

    Ljova has long been intrigued by the idea of collaborating online through sites like ccMixter and SpliceMusic – ccMixter (via Creative Commons) provides the legal and technological framework for easy collaboration through Samples Licenses; SpliceMusic also offers a very impressive online sequencer and community tools for music collaboration with very little know-how and no upstart costs. Ljova has uploaded some very specific viola gestures and textures — odd sounding notes, whacks, crashes — sounds which can’t at all be found in ordinary sample libraries. He also uploaded one of his newest tracks, an Indian-inspired “Heat Me Up”, posting all the parts of the tracks (melody, bass, plucks, etc) and inviting a remix.

    • Ljova’s CCMixter page
    • Justin Davidson guest-blogs on Mashup Culture on Alex Ross’ “The Rest is Noise” : “The virtuoso violist … Ljova, whom I heard do an impressive set with his improvisational Eastern European sort-of-folk ensemble at Joe’s Pub, posts a set of separate tracks, and someone who goes by the handle Hepepe mixes the melody line with an Ethiopian chant and a few other samples into a piece called “Self Portrait of Silence.” Which of course someone else could recycle all over again….”
    CCMixter logo

    Other Projects

    Contact me for details!

  • Violin/Viola Lessons
  • Voiceover work (mostly in Russian)
  • String Quartet

LJOVA (Lev Zhurbin) - film composer, arranger, violist | music for film, Ljova and the Kontraband, and other projects

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