“I wrote “Qaddiš” (Kaddish) after the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her memory. Justice Ginsburg represented the best of America, and so it was a natural fit with this fascinating project to incorporate America the Beautiful (which appears thinly veiled in the first bars of the piece). Also woven into the fabric of the piece is the Qaddiš – the traditional Jewish prayer for the departed–in part to memorialize the challenges of our times, and in part to honor our collective memory of RBG.”
David Serkin Ludwig’s first memory was singing Beatles songs with his sister; his second was hearing his grandfather perform at Carnegie Hall; foreshadowing a diverse career collaborating with many of today’s leading musicians, filmmakers, and writers. His choral work “The New Colossus,” opened the private prayer service for President Obama’s second inauguration. The next year NPR Music named him in the world’s “Top 100 Composers Under Forty.” He holds positions and residencies with nearly two dozen orchestras and music festivals in the US and abroad.
Ludwig has received commissions and notable performances from many of the most recognized artists and ensembles of our time, including the Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, and National Symphony Orchestras, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Dresden Music Festival, as well as Jonathan Biss, Jeremy Denk, Jennifer Koh, Jaime Laredo, David Shifrin, eighth blackbird, the Dover and Borromeo Quartets, and the PRISM Saxophone Quartet.
Ludwig received the prestigious 2018 Pew Center for the Arts and Heritage Fellowship, as well as the First Music Award, and is a two-time recipient of the Independence Foundation Fellowship, a Theodore Presser Foundation Career Grant, and awards from New Music USA, the American Composers Forum, American Music Center, Detroit Chamber Winds, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Ludwig is chair of composition at The Curtis Institute of Music where he also serves as the Gie and Lisa Liem Artistic Advisor, and is director of Ensemble 20/21 and Curtis SummerFest. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, acclaimed violinist Bella Hristova, and their four beloved cats.
As the artistic director of Center for Musical Excellence, I am always on the look out for new and undiscovered talents. They come to me, sometimes, by my colleagues’ recommendations and other times through young artists’ own research about our organization. Tyson Davis and Andrew Bambridge are currently on our roster of CME Young Artists, whom we mentor. Patricio Molina is a CME alumnus. Theo Chandler, Ji-Young Ko, and Daniel Newman-Lessler applied for our Grant program, and I got to know their work through that process. I decide on young artists when I notice a deep passion and drive within them, plus a certain kind of sparkle in the personality and lots of humility. In addition to musical talents, I believe these are the qualities that will take the young artists far. CME’s motto is "Moving Musicians Forward". I’ve chosen our Discovery Composers based on these qualities, whom we felt we could easily move forward.
- Min Kwon