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Ellis Ludwig-Leone is a composer and songwriter active in New York City. 

He is the songwriter and bandleader for Brooklyn-based San Fermin. The band’s self-titled debut album, released worldwide in 2013 via Downtown Records, was named one of NPR’s 50 Best Albums of the Year. The band’s sophomore album Jackrabbit was released in 2015, debuting at #8 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart. Lauded as “explosive” (The New York Times) and “exceptional” (The Wall Street Journal), San Fermin has become a touring enterprise selling out numerous shows and performing at major festivals worldwide. The band’s third album Belong was released on Downtown/Interscope Records on April 7, 2017. Television appearances include Last Call with Carson Daly, CBS This Morning, and Canal + Music. 

In addition to his work with San Fermin, Ludwig-Leone has written for a wide variety of ensembles and soloists, including including ACME, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, The Crossing, Decoda, Fifth House Ensemble, Het Gelders Orkest, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, JACK Quartet, Manhattan Choral Ensemble, NOW Ensemble, yarn/wire, harpist Lavinia Meijer, and pianist Simone Dinnerstein. He was named the 2015 Composer-In-Residence for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and is a recipient of residencies from The MacDowell Colony, Banff Centre for the Arts, and the Við Djúpið music festival in Iceland.

Ludwig-Leone has worked extensively with choreographer Troy Schumacher, and their ballet Common Ground was premiered by the New York City Ballet in 2015. He has composed five ballets for Schumacher’s ballet company BalletCollective, collaborating with visual artist David Salle, architect (and NYC Lowline creator) James Ramsey, photographer Paul Maffi, and poet Cynthia Zarin.

Ludwig-Leone is currently working on American Music, a full-length musical with best-selling author Jane Mendelsohn and Tony-winning director Diane Paulus, commissioned by the American Repertory Theatre. He is also working on The Night Falls, an evening-length ballet with choreography by Schumacher and a libretto by Pulitzer Prize finalist Karen Russell.

Upon graduating from Yale University in 2011, Ludwig-Leone worked as a musical assistant for the composer Nico Muhly. Born in Rhode Island and raised in rural Massachusetts, he currently lives in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.


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Sonsick (official Video)

directed by Benjamin Kutsko, 2013.


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San Fermin - Jackrabbit

Downtown Records, 2015

Purchase on iTunes


San Fermin - San Fermin

Downtown Records, 2013.

Purchase on iTunes





Simple Machine (2016) for flute, clarinet, piano, guitar & double bass. Commissioned by Ecstatic Music Festival for NOW Ensemble. 10’

Until the Walls Cave In (2016) for oboe, piano, string quartet & electronic playback. Commissioned by BalletCollective for Hotel Elefant. 23’

Invisible Divide (2015) for vocalist, oboe, guitar, piano, keyboard & string quartet. Commissioned by BalletCollective for Hotel Elefant and Vanessa Upson. 24’ 

All That We See (2014) for baritone saxophone, electric guitar, piano & string quartet. Commissioned by BalletCollective for Hotel Elefant. 19’

Dear and Blackbirds (2014) multiple versions: for string quartet, for oboe quartet. Commissioned by BalletCollective for Hotel Elefant. 10’

The Impulse Wants Company (2013) for piano quintet. Commissioned by BalletCollective for American Contemporary Music Ensemble. 22’

GROW (2012) for clarinet quintet. Commissioned by Við Djúpið Festival for Decoda. 8’

Suite for Flute & Harp (2012) for flute and harp. Commissioned by Lavinia Meijer for Lavinia Meijer and Herman van Kogelenberg. 8’

Four Short Pieces for String Quartet (2011) for string quartet. Performed by JACK Quartet. 6’ 



Shadowy Figures (2019) for orchestra and solo harp. Commissioned by Het Gelders Orkest for Lavinia Meijer. 8’.

Common Ground (2015) for orchestra. Commissioned by New York City Ballet. 15’

How to Fake Your Death (2015) for orchestra. Commissioned by Alabama Symphony Orchestra. Additional performances: Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (2016). 12’

4 Episodes for Orchestra and Electronics (2011) for orchestra and electronic playback. For Jonathan Edwards College Philharmonic. 12’

Cello Concerto (2011) for orchestra & solo cello. For Berkeley College Orchestra. Soloist: Scott McCreary. 11’

Shadowy Figures (2018) for orchestra & solo harp. Commissioned by Het Gelders Orkest for Lavinia Meijer.



Who What When Where Why (and a few other questions) (2018) for SATB chorus. Commissioned by The Crossing. Text assembled by composer from various sources. 12’

Bloom and Round Dance (2017) for SATB chorus, two pianos, and two percussionists. Commissioned by Manhattan Choral Ensemble, with yarn/wire. Text adapted from traditional. 8’

Lying in a Field, Age 67 and Singing in a Chorus, Age 14 (2016) for children’s chorus and large chamber ensemble. Commissioned by Brooklyn Youth Chorus, with wild Up Orchestra. Recorded for New Amsterdam Records with International Contemporary Ensemble. Libretto by Max Posner. 11’



Sanctuary (2017) for piano. Commissioned by Terezín Music Foundation for Simone Dinnerstein. 11’ 

Simpler Language (2016) for harp. Commissioned by Lavinia Meijer. 6’ 

Night Loops (2014) for harp, looping pedal & electronics. Commissioned by Lavinia Meijer. Recorded for The Glass Effect and released by Sony Classical. 9’

Elaborate Monument (2011) for piano. Performed by Christopher Bagan. 8’




The Night Falls (2018) in three acts, for six vocalists and large chamber ensemble. Commissioned by BalletCollective. Libretto by Karen Russell. 78’

American Music (2017) in two acts, for chorus and large chamber ensemble. Commissioned by American Repertory Theatre. Book and lyrics by Jane Mendelsohn. 110’


San Fermin (Band)

Belong (2017). Recorded by San Fermin and released Downtown Records/Interscope. 50’

Jackrabbit (2015). Recorded by San Fermin and released by Downtown Records. 45’

Shiver (2015). Recorded by Sam Amidon and San Fermin with lyrics by Charles Simic. Released by Downtown Records/Nonesuch. 4’

San Fermin (2013). Recorded by San Fermin and released by Downtown Records. 55’