David Ludwig's contemporary classical compositions address a wide range of topics—from climate change and astronomical phenomena, to gun violence and religious traditions—in works for orchestra and chamber ensemble, chorus and solo voice, theater, dance, and film. Ludwig explains, “I use style and genre to adapt to the motivating ideas of the piece, not the other way around.” His music has been described as “arresting and dramatically hued” by The New York Times, and he was selected as one of NPR's “Top 100 Composers Under 40” in 2012. His work has been commissioned and performed by numerous recognized artists and ensembles, including The Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, PRISM Quartet, pianist Jonathan Biss, and violinists Jaime Laredo and Jennifer Koh. In 2012, his choral work “The New Colossus” was selected as the opening music for the private prayer service for President Barack Obama's second inauguration. His awards include recognition from American Composers Forum, Independence Foundation, Theodore Presser Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Ludwig is on the composition faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music, and he directs the Curtis 20/21 Contemporary Music Ensemble. In 2016, he received a Center Project grant to premiere The Anchoress, a new song cycle for soprano bridging Renaissance and contemporary musical languages, with poetry by Katie Ford.
Composer David Ludwig will premiere The Anchoress, a song cycle for soprano that explores the medieval mystic tradition of anchorism and its relationship to contemporary society, set to poetry by Katie Ford. Ludwig will channel the voice and inner life of an imagined medieval anchoress—a Christian who lived in extreme confinement in a quest for spiritual perfection. Largely forgotten today, the practice of anchorism grew in popularity in late medieval England, particularly among women. Bridging Renaissance and contemporary musical languages through the combination of modern saxophones and ancient instruments, the composition will serve as a medium to discuss contemporary issues of "gender, faith, self-determination, and social power," as Ludwig explains. The premiere of this new work will be presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.
*Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.*