Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin

Lullaby and Memory (2013)

Tango for a Cold Winter Day (2014)

Rockaway Baby (2016)

For the Sparrows (2018)

For solo woodwind quintet, chamber orchestra, children’s choir and recorder ensemble composed by Ljova in memory of Judith Sainte-Croix Commissioned by Quintet of the Americas through the National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America Grant. This project was supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how NEA grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.

This was recorded live at P.S. 69Q, Jackson Heights, Queens, NY on December 15, 2018. Quintet of the Americas members Karla Moe, flute Matt Sullivan, oboe Benjamin Baron, clarinet, Sasha Gee Enegren, bassoon, and Barbara Oldham, horn were joined by the Jackson Heights Orchestra directed by Patricia Glunt, P.S. 69Q – The School of Cultural and Performing Arts 4th grade Recorder Ensemble directed by Robert Smith and Kenneth Hughes, and P.S.149Q – The Christa McAuliffe School Chorus directed by Jennifer Ghedini. We acknowledge also with special thanks to the seniors at the Catholic Charities Catherine Sheridan Senior Center who participated in interviews with the composer. Text of Final Movement: Flying south with my flock Winter’s coming around the block We must hurry, the flight is long. Stay the course and sing this song. Flying ahead, without fear. Happy when my friends are near. Seasons change –always do. I will change –and so will you. (Text by Ljova) The snow’s a quilt upon the hill. Brilliant air is frozen still. Inspired by something strange and deep, I set out in the day’s crisp thrill. (Text by Judith Sainte Croix)

Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin

Composer Ljova works with the Quintet in Jackson Heights, Queens

We have had the honor and pleasure to work with composer Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin in this multi-generational project that involves elementary school recorder players from PS. 69, the chorus from PS 149, The Jackson Heights Orchestra, conducted by Patricia Glunt, and seniors at the Catherine Sheridan Senior Center.

Ljova has written a four-movement work which has an overall theme of birds. Ljova wrote the first movement based on interviews with the seniors. The next movement, based on the white-throated sparrow’s call is for the recorder players and the quintet, another movement is for the quintet and the orchestra, and the last movement brings everyone together, first with the chorus and quintet and then joined by the orchestra and recorder players.

We are thrilled that this project was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts which has funded the composer’s commission as well as workshops with all the groups, including people of all ages representing a very diverse neighborhood!

Composer LJOVA (born in Russia, and immigrated to New York in 1990) has written more than 120 compositions for classical, jazz, and folk ensembles, as well as scores to four feature and over a dozen short films, and music for contemporary dance. He leads his own ensemble LJOVA AND THE KONTRABAND, and works as a freelance violist, violinist & musical arranger. Recent commissions include the City of London Sinfonia, The Louisville Orchestra, Brooklyn Rider, Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, The Knights, 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, Kronos Quartet, and others.

Past works for Quintet of the Americas by Ljova include “Lullaby and Memory” based on interviews with seniors in Jackson Heights, “Click” for students and wind quintet “Rockaway Baby” inspired by interviews with disabled seniors at Peninsula Rehabilitation Center in Rockaway.

Photo caption: Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin © 2016 by Mark Gurevich / AGMA Photography

Photo credit: Anna Rozenblat