Composer David Ludwig’s music has been called “entrancing,” and that it “promises to speak for the sorrows of this generation,” (Philadelphia Inquirer). It has further been described as “arresting and dramatically hued” (The New York Times) and has been noted for “music supercharged with electrical energy and raw emotion” (Fanfare). The New Yorker magazine calls him a “musical up-and-comer” and the Chicago Tribune says that he “deserves his growing reputation as one of the up-and-comers of his generation.” He has had performances in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Library of Congress, and has been played on PBS and NPR’s Weekend Edition. NPR Music selected him as one of the Top 100 Composers Under Forty in the world in 2011.
Ludwig has received commissions and many notable performances from many of the most recognized artists and ensembles of our time. The Grammy Award-winning group eighth blackbird commissioned his work Haiku Catharsis in 2004. In 2006, Ludwig conducted a tour of his Concertino, which was one of the top ten most frequently performed orchestra works by a living composer that year, according to the League of American Orchestras. He joined the Curtis On Tour Ensemble in 2009 for a series of concerts that won critical acclaim for his song-cycle From the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayám. In 2013 his choral work, “The New Colossus,” was selected as part of the private prayer service for President Obama and his cabinet at his second inauguration. Past seasons have featured performances with the Minnesota Orchestra, the National Symphony, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. This season included performances at the Aspen Music Festival, Town Hall, Verizon Hall, and the Dresden Music Festival with Robert Spano.
Recent commissions include works for Jonathan Biss, Lara St. John, the PRISM Saxophone Quartet, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, a double concerto for Jennifer Koh and Jaime Laredo’s “Two by Four” project, a work for the ECCO String Orchestra, a trio for Hannah Khoury, Jason Vieux, and Hafez Khotein at World Café Live, and a piano quartet for the 25th Anniversary of the Steans Institute at Ravinia. Upcoming projects include a violin sonata commissioned by Carnegie Hall for Benjamin Beilman, a new work for the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, and a concerto for bassoonist Daniel Matsukawa and the Philadelphia Orchestra with Yannick Nézet Séguin.
Ludwig is the recipient of the First Music Award, an Independence Foundation Fellowship, and a Theodore Presser Foundation Career Grant, as well as grants from the American Composers Forum, the American Music Center, the Detroit Chamber Winds, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia honored him as a City Cultural Leader in 2009 and released a CD of his complete works for chorus in 2012.
Ludwig was the Young Composer in residence at the Marlboro Music School for three consecutive years. In addition to Marlboro, he has been in repeated residence at the Yaddo and MacDowell artist colonies and was a resident artist at the Isabella Gardner Museum. After a three-year residency with the Vermont Symphony funded by Meet the Composer, he is now the permanent New Music Advisor for that orchestra. He is the composer-in-residence and director of composition programs at the Atlantic Music Festival, Lake Champlain Festival, the Rocky Ridge Festival, and is the Artistic Director of the Curtis Young Artist Summer Program. Additionally, he has served on the faculty of Yellow Barn and the Ravinia Festival Steans Institute. Active abroad, Ludwig was in residence at the Shanghai International Summer Music Festival in 2012, and is the resident composer for the STUDIO2021 Ensemble at Seoul National University.
Born in Bucks County, P.A., Ludwig comes from several generations of eminent musicians. His grandfather was the pianist Rudolf Serkin and his great-grandfather, violinist Adolf Busch. His teachers include John Corigliano, Richard Danielpour, Jennifer Higdon, Richard Hoffmann, and Ned Rorem. He holds degrees from Oberlin, The Manhattan School, Curtis Institute, Juilliard School, and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Ludwig is on the composition faculty of the Curtis Institute where he serves as the Gie and Lisa Liem Dean of Artistic Programs and as the director of the Curtis 20/21 Contemporary Music Ensemble.