Drawing influences from seemingly every type of music — Western classical, klezmer, tango, jazz, and Gypsy music — Ljova and the Kontraband defy musical boundaries. The musicians of this ensemble hail from Russia, Lithuania, the U.S., and Switzerland, each bringing their own unique energy and joy to the performance. With family backgrounds steeped in traditional folk music, Ljova and the Kontraband embrace the music of their ancestors while ushering these traditions into the future.
Please bring your own blanket or seating. In the event of rain, the concert will be moved into the Venetian Theater.
Ljova (Lev Zhurbin) was born in 1978 in Moscow, Russia, and moved to New York with his parents, composer Alexander Zhurbin and writer Irena Ginzburg, in 1990. He divides his time between composing for the concert stage, contemporary dance and film, leading his own ensemble Ljova and the Kontraband, as well as a busy career as a freelance violist, violinist, and 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, conductors Gustavo Dudamel and Alondra de la Parra, the Mexican songwriter Natalia Lafourcade, Argentine composer/guitarist Gustavo Santaolalla.
Ljova frequently collaborates with choreographers Aszure Barton, Damian Woetzel, Christopher Wheeldon, and Katarzyna Skarpetowska (with Parsons Dance). In 2018, he was a Visiting Lecturer at Princeton University’s Atelier program, co-teaching a course on collaboration with puppeteer Basil Twist.
Ljova is the author of more than 120 compositions for classical, jazz, and folk ensembles, as well as scores to numerous feature, documentary, and short subject films. He has released ten albums on his label, Kapustnik Records, and his compositions have been recorded on Deutsche Grammophon, Sony Classical, Bridge Records, Naxos, and In A Circle labels. 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, among many other independent projects.
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, performance and composition at the Berklee College of Music, Mark O’Connor Method Camp, and has taught viola and chamber music at the Special Music School in New York City. He has appeared as violist on Saturday Night Live (with Sia), The Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Ljova is the curator of Out of Leftovers, a family-friendly performance series at New York’s Symphony Space.
Ljova lives on the Upper West Side of New York City with his wife, vocalist and attorney Inna Barmash, and their sons, Benjamin and Yosif.
For the latest news, downloadable mp3s and CD releases, please visit Ljova’s website at Ljova.com.
All artists and dates are subject to change and cancellation without notice as we work closely with local health experts and officials. Please note that all performances at Caramoor are in compliance with current New York State Regulations. Read our latest Health & Safety updates.