David Ludwig is a “composer with something urgent to say” (Philadelphia Inquirer). The New York Times noted that his music is “arresting and dramatically hued” and Fanfare calls it “supercharged with electrical energy and raw emotion.” The Chicago Tribune says that he “deserves his growing reputation as one of the up-and-comers of his generation.” He has had performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Library of Congress, and 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. His choral work, The New Colossus, was included in the private prayer service of President Barack Obama’s 2013 inauguration ceremony.
Past commissions have included works for Jonathan Biss, Jason Vieaux, the PRISM Quartet, the Ravinia Music Festival, Carnegie Hall, and a double concerto for Jennifer Koh and Jaime Laredo. 2015 featured an extensive tour with the East Coast Chamber Orchestra (Virtuosity), a new work for Benjamin Beilman commissioned by Carnegie Hall (Swan Song), and the premiere of his bassoon concerto for the Philadelphia Orchestra. Currently an eight-orchestra consortium is premiering his violin concerto written for Bella Hristova; another commission is Titania’s Dream for the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio. Ludwig’s film score for Michael Almereyda’s Cymbeline (starring Ed Harris, Ethan Hawke, Milla Jovovich, and Dakota Johnson and produced by Academy Award winner Anthony Katagas) was debuted with the movie at the 2014 Venice Film Festival.
A recipient of numerous awards and honors, Ludwig was chosen in 2009 as a City Cultural Leader by Choral Arts Philadelphia. He has been Young Composer in residence at Marlboro, and was a resident artist at the Isabella Gardner Museum, and has had residencies at many music festivals and institutions including Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony where he was the 2013 Aaron Copland Fellow. Active abroad, Ludwig was in residence at the Shanghai International Summer Music Festival, and he is the resident composer for the STUDIO2021 Ensemble at Seoul National University. Other recent residencies include at Kingston Music Festival, Ravinia Steans Institute, and Music from Angel Fire in 2015. He has been Composer-in-Residence with the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival since its inception in 2008. A New Music USA-supported residency with the Vermont Symphony led to his position as permanent New Music Advisor following four years as composer with the orchestra.
Born in Bucks County, P.A., Ludwig comes from several generations of eminent musicians. His grandfather was the pianist Rudolf Serkin and great grandfather violinist and composer Adolf Busch. He holds degrees from Oberlin, The Manhattan School of Music, the Curtis Institute, Juilliard, and the University of Pennsylvania where he received his PhD in 2009. After almost twenty years on the composition faculty of the Curtis Institute as Dean of Artistic Programs, Ludwig was appointed dean and director of the Music Division of The Juilliard School in June 2021.