Press kit

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press Inquiries

Hannah Sweet
Administrative Manager 

“Ludwig orchestrates with the skill and sophistication of a Ravel, and generates the power and thrills of a John Williams adventure film score. At times the barbaric splendor of Bloch’s Schelomo or Walton’s Belshazzar’s Fest comes to mind.” –Fanfare

“Ludwig has no shortage of interesting ideas – and a fine talent for evoking a sense of memory and mystery – and ‘Seasons’ provided a worthwhile listen.” –Washington Post

“The lineup included David Ludwig’s arresting, dramatically hued ‘Ewigkeit’ (‘Eternity’), a setting of a text from the ‘Knaben Wunderhorn’ poems that blended Mahlerian vocal lines and Schoenberg-like instrumental colors.” –The New York Times

“[...] a composer with something urgent to say.” –Philadelphia Inquirer

“In the Middle Ages, one way for a woman to achieve the stamp of Christian holiness was to sequester herself in a small, sealed-up cell (known as an ‘anchor-hold’) abutting a church. Sanctified by reclusion and privation, she could then dispense guidance to laypeople from her window. It’s a natural subject for a monodrama, a trick form that requires the composer, and the soloist, to hold the audience rapt with what is essentially an extended soliloquy. David Ludwig and Katie Ford’s one-woman opera (written for the period winds of the ensemble Piffaro, the modern saxophones of the PRISM Quartet, and soprano Hyunah Yu) conjures a time of medieval mysticism, but the social dynamic it highlights—one that honors women only by relegating them—is not bound by any era.” — The New Yorker

“David Serkin Ludwig has an ear for beauty. This may seem like a given for a composer, but somehow, for some, the quality can be elusive. Which is not to say Ludwig doesn’t also use tension and dissonance. But the musical line in his pieces ultimately leads to a kind of going home — harmonically and emotionally ... Ludwig mixed wisely the modern saxes with ancient instruments like lute and delicate winds, opening up sound possibilities that were unusual, if not unique, like a gorgeous rush at the harmonic series from the ensemble in one song, a wheezing effect made beautiful in another. Yu had great stage presence, and her ability to double instruments with dead-on intonation and color match had a powerful effect all its own ... Composer and poet (Katie Ford) were as one, too. The last song unfurls quickly (sighing, waking up frozen, and accepting God despite and even through nothingness) in a text whose meaning Ludwig deepens with great skill. The music floats — sadly, beautifully, and with a small but keenly felt building toward hope as the musicians file off stage.” — The Philadelphia Inquirer

“[...] Mr. Ludwig’s writing was resourceful and emotionally charged.” –New York Times

“Ludwig [...] deserves his growing reputation as one of the up-and-comers of his generation.” –Chicago Tribune

“‘The Anchoress’ seizes upon an overlooked aspect of medieval culture, and in exploring its possibilities, relates a deliberately-overwhelming abundance of sensation, experience, and inner revelation. Ludwig’s music and arrangement deftly evokes the surrounding world of the middle ages in which the anchoress finds herself; though there are many efforts made to create the medieval traditional sound and feeling, Ludwig’s composition is unafraid to employ novel effects and modern instruments to support, and even censor, its beauty. Hyunah Yu’s treatment of the libretto did much to bring out the abstract, almost nebulous beauty of Ford’s libretto. All of this made for a spiritual and sonorous trip back in time. While ‘The Anchoress’ begins as a tale of enclosure, it proves that what we find by looking inward is truly something to behold.” — Operawire

(Ludwig describes his compositional process): “‘These are kind of the bookends of music history,’ Ludwig said. ‘[It's challenging] writing for a saxophone quartet, which in many ways is the most modern acoustic set of instruments, and ancient Renaissance winds, whose histories go back hundreds of years. They have very different tones and colors, but that was something I wanted to make a feature and not a bug.’” — WHYY

“Katie Ford’s poetry probes the ‘spiritual cost of survival’ (New York Times Book Review)—an equally apt description of her latest collaboration with composer David Ludwig. Their new monodrama, The Anchoress, depicts a medieval mystic, who spends her life permanently walled inside a small cell. The piece fuses ancient and modern elements through its narrative and through its orchestration for soprano Hyunah Yu, Piffaro: The Renaissance Band, and PRISM saxophone quartet.” — I CARE IF YOU LISTEN

“[A] new piece destined for a secure place in the chamber-music world [...] shows every sign of being artistically important[...].The second movement, in particular, of Ludwig’s The Catherine Wheel promises to speak for the sorrows of this generation much the way Barber’s Adagio for Strings did for another era.” –Philadelphia Inquirer

“A Musical Up-and-Comer” –The New Yorker

“Not so with David Ludwig’s 12-movement Dante Microludes score, influenced by the explosive miniatures of Gyorgy Kurtag but less dense and unafraid of prettiness. The seemingly unending scale ascent in the 10th movement, for one, was thoroughly entrancing.” –Philadelphia Inquirer

And before “Les Adieux,” he provided just the right mix of polish, brittleness and macabre humor in David Ludwig’s “Lunaire Variations”: true to its title, a charming and imaginative set of seven variations on the last book of Schoenberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire.” –The New York Times

"Ludwig wrote the piece for violinist Bella Hristova, his wife, who performed the virtuosic and demanding solo part. Her dark timbre and dense fiddling suited the Eastern European influence integrated into the work.
The semi-programmatic piece was based on the wedding ritual (preparation, commitment, community celebration). Ludwig created captivating moments and effects, with ascending glissandi, sliding harmonics, off-kilter dance rhythms and unusual timbral combinations.” Kansas City Star

“The Bartók part was preceded by David Ludwig’s ‘Fanfare for Sam’ and Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from ‘West Side Story.’ The sensitive, precise orchestral tone that could be heard in this thematically coherent program was simply phenomenal.” –Sächsische Zeitung

“[Ludwig's] cycle ['From the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam'] for mezzo-soprano and small wind ensemble manages to be poignant and lyrical, with minimalist ideas scattered here and there. It suggests a world beyond the West without dwelling on it.” –Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“Ludwig’s composition is a winner.” –Baltimore Sun

“A powerful eight-minute song by David Ludwig premiered at the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival on Sunday at the Elley-Long Music Center, raising the 3-year old festival from another good chamber music festival to a truly important one.” –Vermont Today

“After hearing [Beethoven 9], conducted by Music Director Jaime Laredo on Saturday at the Flynn Center, it is all the more remarkable that the excitement of David Ludwig’s Cello Concerto remains…Ludwig’s musical language is modern and sophisticated but, judging by the audience’s enthusiasm, easily accessible. In fact, despite its complexity, Ludwig’s Cello Concerto is a major work that was a real pleasure to hear…” –Times Argus

“Cellist Soo Bae joined pianist Reiko Uchida in David Ludwig’s Scenes from Childhood. For this virtuosic compendium of angular melodies and effects that suggested sirens, march rhythms and a touch of Messiaen, Bae shrugged off the piece’s difficulties and emphasized its shapeliness and warmth.” –The Strad

Flowers’  feel and gently repeated note patterns reminded me of the understated beauty in Arvo Part’s Spiegel im Spiegel, though Flowers’ inspiration is rooted in much weightier source material…Whatever your opinion on the facts of the incident, the senselessness, sheer brutality and fundamental human failure evident in every aspect of the situation are inarguable, and provide the potent departure point of Flowers’ fragile emotional center.” –World of Music