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Lev Zhurbin

Brilliant, wide-ranging music of "Ljova and the Kontraband" group embraces Western classical, jazz, tango and Eastern European and Balkan folk music.

When: Thursday, November 21, 2019
Time: 7:30pm – 9:00pm
Where: Proctors Theater (GE Theatre), Schenectady
Admission: $20

To buy tickets online click at the button below.  Your online-purchased tickets are available to pick up at the event's entrance.

Mona Golub (Price Chopper Foundation) invites a group of 20 or more together guests from the New Russia Cultural Center and offers a $5/ticket discount off the $25 price. She will host a post-concert meet & greet dessert reception to which the group from our center is invited.

Lev ZhurbinNew music, old magic. If genre-defying music was a genre, would probably defy that too. For if bringing together influences from classical, klezmer, tango, jazz and Gypsy music has been done before, nobody does it quite like this. Moscow-born, New York-based composer, arranger and violist Lev ‘Ljova’ Zhurbin writes and plays music that evokes forgotten memories of things you think you’ve heard before but haven’t, while dreaming of Bartok and Piazzolla trundling through an early-morning Hungarian mist in a three-legged race to the village dance at the end of time. The ensemble features his close collaborators on accordion, bass and percussion, as well as the vocal of Inna Barmash.

These top-flight musicians, who hail from Russia, Lithuania, the U.S. and Switzerland, pile all of these sounds atop of each other with great glee, and emerge with creations that alight on totally new and exciting terrain.

The band is led by the composer, arranger and viola player Ljova (Lev Zhurbin), who comes by this musical eclecticism naturally: the Moscow native, who comes from a family heavily involved in the arts, has worked with an astonishingly wide and starry group of collaborators, including Jay Z, the Bollywood queen Asha Bhosle and cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. In this Kontraband setting, he and his bandmates (including Ljova's wife, the preternaturally sweet-voiced, Lithuanian-born singer Inna Barmash) create performances of deep earthiness, fragile tenderness, ebullient humor and quicksilver shifts in texture. But the heart of their Tiny Desk Concert was the song "By the Campfire," whose words have a long, strange history that goes back to the Middle Ages. The words originally come from 12th-century Germany; Ljova's grandfather, a noted translator, translated this poem from German to Russian, which Ljova uses in his musical setting.

In 2017, Ljova and the Kontraband recorded a Tiny Desk concert for National Public Radio. The ensemble has made appearances throughout the USA, and has also debuted in Canada, the United Kingdom and Taiwan. Ljova and the Kontraband have performed at venues such as New York’s Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art, The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Ottawa Chamberfest, the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where it was the opening musical guest of theSundance  Festival.  Among others, the Kontraband has collaborated with filmmaker Sean McPhillips on his film “Cupcake” (premiered at Tribeca Film Festival, and performed live at Lincoln Center), and with Aszure Barton & Artists on the dance piece “Busk”, performed live at Baryshnikov Arts Center.


— Ljova (viola & fadolin)
— Inna Barmash (vocal)
— Patrick Farrell (accordion)
— Mathias Kunzli (percussion)
— Jordan Morton (bass)




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