David Ludwig is “a composer with something urgent to say” (Philadelphia Inquirer). His music has been described as “arresting and dramatically hued” (The New York Times) and “supercharged with electrical energy and raw emotion” (Fanfare). Ludwig has written for many prominent artists, including Jonathan Biss, Jennifer Koh, the Dover and Borromeo quartets, eighth blackbird, ECCO, and orchestras including the Philadelphia, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, and National Symphonies. In 2013 his choral work, “The New Colossus,” was selected to open the private prayer service for President Obama’s second inauguration. In 2012 NPR Music selected him as one of the Top 100 Composers Under Forty in the world.
This season’s highlights include the premiere of a violin concerto written for his wife, acclaimed violinist Bella Hristova; the concerto was commissioned by a consortium of eight orchestras across the United States. Ludwig was also awarded a prestigious Pew Center for Arts and Heritage Performance Grant to support the creation of The Anchoress, a new song cycle for the PRISM Quartet, Piffaro “The Renaissance Band,” and soprano Hyunah Yu. The work will open the 2018 season for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.
Other recent commission and performance highlights include Titania’s Dream for the KLR Trio, Swan Song for Benjamin Beilman commissioned by Carnegie Hall, and Pictures from the Floating World commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra for bassoonist Daniel Matsukawa and conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin. This year will feature the premiere of a new piano concerto written for pianist Anne-Marie McDermott commissioned by the Bravo! Vail music festival in honor of their thirtieth anniversary.
An award-winning film composer, Ludwig scored Michael Almareyda’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline (Lionsgate), produced by Anthony Katagas (Twelve Years a Slave) and starring Ed Harris, Ethan Hawke, Milla Jovovich, and Dakota Johnson. The film was awarded a top spot and premiere at the Venice Film Festival.
Ludwig is the recipient of the First Music Award, a two-time winner of the Independence Foundation Fellowship, and a Theodore Presser Foundation Career Grant, as well as awards from New Music USA, American Composers Forum, American Music Center, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
He has had multiple residencies at the Yaddo and MacDowell artist colonies, the Isabella Gardner Museum and Marlboro Music. After three years as Composer-in-Residence with the Vermont Symphony, he is their permanent New Music advisor. Ludwig has served on the faculty of Yellow Barn and the Ravinia Steans Institute, and is Artistic Director of the Curtis Young Artist Summer Program. He was in residence at the Shanghai International Music Festival in 2012, and is resident composer for the STUDIO2021 Ensemble at Seoul National University.
Born in Bucks County, P.A., Ludwig comes from several generations of eminent musicians including grandfather Rudolf Serkin and great-grandfather Adolf Busch. He holds degrees from Oberlin, The Manhattan School, the Curtis Institute, The Juilliard School, and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Ludwig serves on the composition faculty of Curtis and is the Gie and Lisa Liem Dean of Artistic Programs and Performance and director of the Curtis 20/21 Contemporary Music Ensemble.
(Updated December 2016)