Alexander Zhurbin

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Alexander Zhurbin
Alexander Zhurbin.jpg
Background information
Birth name Alexander Borisovich Gandelsman (Александр Борисович Ганделсман)
Born 1945 (age 68–69)
Origin Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Genres Classical, film music, Russian music
Occupation(s) Musician, arranger, film composer, producer
Instruments Piano, vocal
Years active 1950–present
Labels AZ Records, Melodiya
Associated acts Ljova and the Kontraband, Joseph Kobzon, Nikolay Baskov, Dmitri Shostakovich, Joseph Brodsky, Vladimir Nabokov

Alexander Zhurbin is a Russian composer whose music is widely performed all over the former Soviet Union, East Europe and West 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).

Before 1990 the composer lived in the former Soviet Union, where he was one of the biggest stars in the Arts. His tunes were hummed practically by everyone, and his face was familiar to everybody, because he was a frequent participant in various TV-programs. Meanwhile his symphony and chamber music was performed in many major concert halls throughout the country.

He was born in Tashkent, where he graduated Special Music School in 1963. Later he graduated Tashkent Conservatory as a cellist, and Gnessin Music College 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 completed his PhD dissertation (1973) on Gustav Mahler's Symphonies. His teachers there were Profs. Sergey Slonimsky, 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 was more than two thousand performances in a row, and more than two millions 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 50 feature movies, some of them well-known internationally.

His 6 operas and 3 ballets were performed in the best National Theaters of Russia (Leningrad National Opera, Moscow Chamber Opera).

All of his sixteen musicals are still playing in the former Soviet Union, and some of them have had more than 2.000 performances.

Since 1990 the composer and his family live in New York City. He served as a composer-in residence at the 92 "Y" and a professor at Touro college. In 1992 he founded the Russian-American Theater "Wandering Stars", which became a major cultural force inside the Russian-speaking community. To the 1998 this Theater produced nine big theatrical productions, six of them with the music of Alexander Zhurbin.

His musical "How It Was Done in Odessa" was a critical success at the Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia. It had an eight-week "sold-out" run with a very good reviews. (1991)

Among his compositions written in the USA are Cello Concerto, Violin Concerto, Symphony # 3, an opera

"Good Health, Your majesty", a cantata "A Part of Speech" with lyrics by Joseph Brodsky, as well as songs, jingles and commercials.

In 1996 he had a very successful "Evening of Zhurbin's Music" in Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall) performed by Kristjan Jarvi and the Absolute Ensemble. His latest theater works are musicals "Shalom, America" (after Sholom Asch), "Camera Obscura" (after Vladimir Nabokov), "Wandering Stars" (after Sholom Aleikhem).

As a performer of cabaret-style performer Alexander Zhurbin is widely popular among Russians around the world. His brilliant piano performance and husky voice in conjunction with sophisticated and charming Russian-French melodies now won him love and recognition among Americans.

Presently he is predominantly living in Moscow, and traveling all over the world. He has written several major theatrical works: "Mousetrap" (musical after Agatha Christie), Humiliated and Insulted (opera after Dostoevsky) "The Seagull"– operetta after Anton Chekhov and many others. All of them were produced in Moscow, Saint-Petersburg and another cities. Also he scored major mini-serial "Moscow Saga" – after novel by Vasily Aksyonov

Currently, the composer is working on major theatrical and movie projects.

His wife – Irina Ginzburg – is a poet, translator and writer. His son – Lev Zhurbin – is a composer and performer, living in New York.

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