LJOVA (Lev Zhurbin) was born in 1978 in Moscow, Russia, and moved to New York with his parents in 1990. He divides his time between composing for the concert stage, contemporary dance & film, leading his own ensemble LJOVA AND THE KONTRABAND, as well as a busy career as a freelance violist, violinist & musical arranger.
Among recent projects are commissions from the City of London Sinfonia, The Louisville Orchestra, a new work for Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, a string quartet for Brooklyn Rider, a clarinet quintet for Art of Élan, and works for The Knights, Sybarite5 and A Far Cry, as well arrangements for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, tenor Javier Camarena, and conductors Gustavo Dudamel and Alondra de la Parra.
Ljova is the author of more than 120 compositions for classical, jazz, and folk ensembles, as well as scores to feature and short films. He is an alum of the Sundance Institute’s Film Composers Lab. His music has been licensed by HBO, PBS, BBC, CNBC, and NHK networks.
Ljova released his acclaimed solo debut recording, VJOLA: WORLD ON FOUR STRINGS in 2006. LOST IN KINO, his third album, focuses on recent film music, and features cues from films by Francis Ford Coppola, James Marsh, Basia Winograd, Lev Polyakov, Roman Khrushch, as well as performances by the Gypsy band Romashka, the Tall Tall Trees and the pipa virtuoso Wu Man. Previously, he has recorded on Grammy nominated CD's with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble and with The Andalucian Dogs on. He has performed on tour with Savion Glover, and recorded with composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, producer Guy Sigsworth, Nina Nastasia, Amy Correia, and the Electric Light Orchestra. He has appeared as violist on Saturday Night Live (with Sia), The Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
As an arranger, Ljova has completed dozens of musical arrangements for Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, the Kronos Quartet, Bond, Matmos, and others. He has also collaborated with composers Osvaldo Golijov and Gustavo Santaolalla, as well as the conductor Alondra de la Parra. Resulting from these collaborations are arrangements of musics from Argentina, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Tanzania, Uruguay, as well as gypsy music from Romania and France.
With his main performing ensemble, LJOVA AND THE KONTRABAND, Ljova has appeared at New York’s Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (as part of the Sundance Film Festival), New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Joe’s Pub and other venues. The Ensemble has toured to the United Kingdom, Canada, and around the United States. Their acclaimed debut CD, “MNEMOSYNE” and is the featured ensemble on “Cupcake”, a short film which debuted at Tribeca Film Festival and was performed live at Lincoln Center. Presently Ljova is Visiting Guest Lecturer in the Atelier at Princeton University. Ljova has taught as visiting guest faculty at The Banff Centre in Canada focusing equally on composition, arranging, and viola performance. He has also guest-lectured on film music at New York University.