Gie and Lisa Liem Artistic Advisor to the President
Chair of Composition Studies
Director, Curtis 20/21 Ensemble
Artistic Director, Curtis Summerfest
David Serkin Ludwig’s first memory was singing Beatles songs with his sister. His second was hearing his grandfather perform at Carnegie Hall. These experiences foretold a diverse career that Dr. Ludwig has spent collaborating with many of today’s leading soloists, ensembles, filmmakers, choreographers, and writers. His work, “The New Colossus,” opened the private prayer service for President Obama’s second inauguration. The same year, NPR Music named him one of the world’s “Top 100 Composers Under 40.” In 2016, he won the A.I. du Pont Award for his “significant contribution to contemporary classical music” and in 2018 he received the prestigious Pew Fellowship from The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage.
Dr. Ludwig’s works have been commissioned and performed by such prominent artists and ensembles as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, National Symphony, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall; as well as by Jonathan Biss, Jeremy Denk, Jaime Laredo, Jennifer Koh, David Shifrin, eighth blackbird, the Dover and Borromeo quartets, and the PRISM Saxophone Quartet. His music is currently featured on over a dozen commercial recordings, including a complete album of his choral music recorded by the Choral Arts Society. An accomplished film composer, Ludwig recently scored Michael Almareyda’s feature film Cymbeline starring Ethan Hawke and Dakota Johnson.
Born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Ludwig comes from several generations of eminent musicians. His grandfather was the pianist Rudolf Serkin, and his great-grandfather was the violinist and composer Adolf Busch. He holds degrees and certificates from Oberlin Conservatory, the University of Vienna, the Manhattan School of Music, the Curtis Institute of Music, and the Juilliard School, as well as a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.