Category Archives: Ljova

Month in Pictures: March and April

With New York musician, Ljova in town for our long-awaited, two-week collaboration, several more concerts as part of our émigré series and lots of education work, particularly with young primary school students, the Spring months at City of London Sinfonia have certainly been jam-packed. 

A unique mix of Klezmer, classical music, Balkan Gypsy and jazz, we’ve loved getting to know New York composer and musician, Ljova’s music over the last two weeks. Travelling over 3500 miles to join us for a two-week period, Ljova has performed alongside our musicians in several projects and concerts, including our recent CLoSer at Village Underground, Key Stage One projects with young children in Harrow and Tower Hamlets and participated in our L’Chaim outreach work with Jewish Care Homes. Just this week, he joined us in a DASH Arts café at Rich Mix, Shoreditch, and we look forward to welcoming him at Cadogan Hall this Saturday for our next Crash Bang Wallop family concert, Bon Voyage! Continue reading Month in Pictures: March and April


Retrospective: CLoSer – Ljova

Our two-week collaboration with the fantastic New York composer and musician, Ljova kicked off yesterday with the final CLoSer concert of our Émigré series at Village Underground. We loved getting to know Ljova and his atmospheric music, as well as his wife and singer, Inna Barmash who joined the Orchestra for some Klezmer-inspired vocal numbers.

We received some fantastic feedback on Twitter and Instagram from the concert, which we thought we’d share post-concert, as well as some of our favourite snaps! And don’t forget – the whole concert is available to watch for free via our live stream until Wednesday 6 May on our website and YouTube channel

Continue reading Retrospective: CLoSer – Ljova

Ljova on BBC Radio 3 In Tune

The final CLoSer concert of our Émigré series is tonight, and we’re really looking forward to performing with the wonderful Ljova, who was a guest yesterday evening on BBC Radio 3 In Tune with Suzy Klein. Ljova played three of his own works, and talked about his music, experiences of leaving Russia for New York, and of the continual struggles of forming an émigré identity.

Ljova on In Tune
Lev ‘Ljova’ Zhurbin on BBC Radio 3 In Tune, 28 April 2015. Taken from @BBCRadio3 Twitter page.

The episode is still available to listen to on catch up, and you can find Ljova from around 1hour 14mins in.


CLOSER: Émigré – Ljova 
Wednesday 29 April 2015, 7:30pm
Village Underground, Shoreditch
Tickets £15 or £5 for students (pre-register at available from Spitalfields Music Box Office or via phone on 020 7377 1362.



Whenever you hear a classical music joke, chances are the punchline is something negative about the viola or violists. Whole websites are devoted to viola jokes, and it has been a source of contention for hundreds of years. It is generally believed that the viola joke tradition originated c.1700 when viola parts were normally very simple (and therefore normally taken up by the lesser talented players!). Poor violists, they’ve had to put up with it for over 300 years!

Ahead of our CLoSer concert with New York violist, Ljova next week, we thought it would only be right to show our respect to this long-standing tradition and to collect our favourite viola jokes. We called on our Twitter followers to share the best ones they could come up with too and we’ve collated our favourites below. Enjoy!

Continue reading #ViolaJokes


We’re really excited to be joined by composer and violist Ljova for our next CLoSer concert, Émigré – Ljova, at Village Underground on 29 April. Whether you’re new to the CLoSer concerts, a CLoSer veteran, or preparing to settle in and watch the concert on live-stream (visit our website for more details), we have put together a few things you might like to know. Don’t forget you can still get your hands on some tickets from Spitalfields Music Box Office, or by calling 020 7377 1362.

About the event

This CLoSer concert is the next in our Émigré series, celebrating the music of composers who left their homes for a brighter future abroad. Ljova and his family left Moscow in 1990 to start a new life in New York City, where he has remained since, and has created his own unique sound that is a haunting and seamless mix of classical, Russian folk, jazz, Balkan Gypsy, and Klezmer music. Ljova and City of London Sinfonia will be performing a mixture of new works, alongside pieces from his recent albums, including the beautiful Melting River.


Ljova: things you should know

Who is Ljova and what is his sound? Before our upcoming concert with the Russian-born, New York composer, Ljova, we’ve put together a short infographic on the things you should know about this fantastic musician. Just scroll down to find out more about his music, life and career, and listen to a few of the pieces he’ll be performing alongside the orchestra on 29 April!

Ljova infographic


We’re excited that Ljova will be taking over our Twitter handle @CityLdnSinfonia next week! Play the interviewer by connecting with us on Twitter and find out more about his life, background and unique sound that blends classical music with Klezmer, Balkan Gypsy and jazz!


CLOSER: Émigré – Ljova 
Wednesday 29 April 2015, 7:30pm
Village Underground, Shoreditch
Tickets £15 or £5 for students (pre-register at available from Spitalfields Music Box Office or via phone on 020 7377 1362.

The challenges and gains of presenting an established New York-based musician to an entirely new city

Combining classical music with his own unique blend of Balkan Gypsy, Russian folk, jazz and Klezmer, New York composer and musician Ljova joins the orchestra on 29 April to perform as part of our informal concert series, CLoSer.  Hailed by the New York Times as ‘dizzingly versatile… an eclectic with an ear for texture’, Ljova’s glittering reputation across the Atlantic has not yet reached London’s cultural scene, although there is no doubt that his unique sound will resonate with the hearts and ears of any music-lover. But how do you convince an audience to experience his music, when it is so hard to describe in words what it actually sounds like?! In our latest blog, our Chief Executive, Matthew Swann, explained a few of the challenges and gains of presenting this fantastic composer and musician to an entirely new city. 


There is always a risk when presenting any artist who’s (relatively) new to audiences, but particularly so in London – the main risk being that people won’t buy tickets!

Londoners are spoilt for cultural choice. We pride ourselves on our willingness to take risks on new artists, but the simple fact is that there is so much new music around us all the time that getting one particular artist or performance to stand out is very difficult. Why should I go see your amazing musician, when 20 other promoters are telling me about their amazing musician on the same night? Never mind that concurrent offerings in theatre, art, comedy, film, food, bars, dance, sewing classes, going home and watching telly with a bottle of wine and goodness knows what else are all competing for your attention.

Continue reading The challenges and gains of presenting an established New York-based musician to an entirely new city

Composer Journeys – Ljova

Emigration has been a constant theme for musicians throughout history, with composers moving between countries and continents for a wide range of reasons. In our current concert series, we explore the journeys émigré composers have made through their musical output, whose sounds and atmospheres often reflect and have become associated with their life travels. As part of our blog series, Composer Journeys, and in the weeks and months around our exciting ÉMIGRÉ concert series, we’ve been mapping out the journeys the émigré composers have made.

For our second concert of the series, CLoSer: Ljova on 29 April 2015, we focus on the life and music of New York composer and musician, Ljova (Lev Zhurbin)A modern-day tale of immigration from Russia to the USA, Ljova’s musicians parents moved from Moscow to New York as communism fell in 1990. Ljova’s unique musical voice that combines classical music with Russian folk, jazz, Balkan Gypsy and Klezmer is very much indicative of his combined Russian and New York background.

Composer Journeys: Ljova. Ljova moved from Moscow to New York when he was young. His music is influenced from genres from all around the world.


To experience his sound, you can listen to our online playlist or just click one of his tracks below!

CLOSER: Émigré – Ljova 
Wednesday 29 April 2015, 7:30pm
Village Underground, Shoreditch
Tickets £15 or £5 for students (pre-register at available from Spitalfields Music Box Office or via phone on 020 7377 1362.