Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute

Alexander Zhurbin's headshot. Image links to event page.



Three Evenings with Alexander Zhurbin: Meet the Maestro
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Please join the Harriman Institute and the Barnard Slavic Department for Three Evenings with Alexander Zhurbin. Moderated by Mark Lipovetsky.

This event will open a series of three evenings featuring the famed composer, Alexander Zhurbin. Throughout the initial evening, Zhurbin will introduce diverse facets of his rich musical biography. He will begin with his symphonies and operas, offering insights into their creation and significance. We will screen video excerpts from films with Zhurbin’s musical scores and theatrical productions of his musical, including his latest ventures. Culminating the evening, Zhurbin will present orchestral renditions of songs from his musical repertoire. A Q&A session will conclude the evening, providing audience with the opportunity to engage directly with the maestro.

Alexander Zhurbin is one of the most important Russian composers of his generation. His music is widely performed all over the former Soviet Union, Europe, Canada and the United States. He composes in a wide range of forms and styles: from symphonies to pop music, from chamber music to “new wave,” from operas and ballets to movie scores and music for the theater. The list of his works is very long (more than 150 titles). He was born in Tashkent, where he graduated Special Music School in 1963. Later he graduated Tashkent Conservatory as a cellist, and Moscow Gnesin Institute as a composer (1969). His teachers there were professors Nikolai Peiko and Aram Khachaturian. After that, he did his postgraduate studies as a musicologist in Leningrad, where Zhurbin completed his Ph.D. dissertation (1973) on Gustav Mahler’s Symphonies. His teachers there were Profs. Sergei Slonimskii, Yuzef Kon, and he also had frequent consultations with Dmitri Shostakovich. His first big success came in 1975 with his rock-opera Orpheus and Eurydice. This work was the first of its kind in the Soviet Union and was a big sensation. It had more than 3 thousand performances in a row, and more than 3 million copies of the record were sold. For this opera, Mr. Zhurbin won many international awards, including “Star of the Year” in Great Britain. He has scored more than 65 feature movies. His 6 operas and 3 ballets were performed in the best National Theaters of Russia  – Leningrad National Opera, Bolshoi theater, (Chamber Stage). All of his 50 musicals are still playing in the former Soviet Union, and some of them have had more than 2,000 performances. He lives with his family in NYC.

Evening Two: Russian Opera Today

Evening Three: Russian Musicals