February 19, 2018

Lewis Center for the Arts presents “Sorry About the Mess – Portraits in Music”

Princeton Atelier faculty member Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin and guests perform a concert of new music infused with Eastern-European flavor

lev zhurbin with viola and hat

Composer and Princeton Atelier faculty member Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin. Photo credit: Mark Gurevich

Acclaimed composer, virtuosic violist, and Princeton Atelier guest artist Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin gives a concert performance with guest artists on Tuesday, February 27, at 7:30 p.m. in the Forum at the Lewis Arts complex. Presented by the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Princeton Atelier, the concert is free and open to the public.

Ljova, performing on the viola, fadolín (six-string violin) and with loopers, is joined by his longtime collaborators accordionist Patrick Farrell; vocalist and Princeton alumnus Inna Barmash ’01; clarinettist Vasko Dukovski and members of the Secret String Quartet — Cornelius Dufallo, Jennifer Choi, and Yves Dharamraj.

The program, titled Sorry about the Mess – Portraits in Music, will feature, among other selections, the Princeton premieres of “Clarinet Quintet: The Refugee” and “Culai,” a string quartet homage to one of the violinists in the Gypsy band Taraf de Haïdouks.

Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin was born in 1978 in Moscow, Russia, and moved to New York in 1990 with his parents, composer Alexander Zhurbin and writer Irena Ginzburg. He divides his time between composing for the concert stage and contemporary dance and film, leading his string ensemble Ljova and the Kontraband, and working as a freelance violist, violinist, and musical arranger. He is author of more than 120 compositions for classical, jazz, and folk ensembles, as well as scores to several feature films and documentaries, and many independent short films. A graduate of The Juilliard School, Ljova has taught at The Banff Centre, The Mark O’Connor String Camp,and the Special Music School in New York City.

Ljova’s recent projects include a commission from the City of London Sinfonia, The Louisville Orchestra, a string quartet for Brooklyn Rider, new works for Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, The Knights, Sybarite5, and A Far Cry, as well arrangements for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, tenor Javier Camarena, conductors Gustavo Dudamel and Alondra de la Parra, the Mexican songwriter Natalia Lafourcade, and Argentine composer/guitarist Gustavo Santaolalla. Ljova frequently composes for choreographers Aszure Barton, Damian Woetzel, Christopher Wheeldon, and Katarzyna Skarpetowska at Parsons Dance. His website is

Ljova has released eight albums of music and has appeared on dozens of recordings as violist, arranger, composer and collaborator. In 2017, Ljova and the Kontraband recorded a Tiny Desk Concert for National Public Radio.

This spring, Ljova is collaborating with puppeteer Basil Twist to co-lead the Princeton Atelier course “Grandma’s Russian Painting: Puppetry and Music.” The course is centered on developing a new performative installation inspired by childhood memories of an elaborate painting Twist’s grandmother had near her swimming pool in the desert. Students in the course will present a culminating performance about memory, where objects and a space take on a haunted life of their own.

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