Ellis Ludwig-Leone is a 28-year old 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 ACME, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, Decoda, Fifth House Ensemble, Hotel Elefant, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, JACK Quartet, Metropolis Ensemble, NOW Ensemble, wild Up, and harpist Lavinia Meijer. 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, composing five ballets for Schumacher’s ballet company BalletCollective. Together the pair have collaborated with visual artist David Salle, architect (and NYC Lowline creator) James Ramsey, photographer Paul Maffi, and poet Cynthia Zarin. In 2015, Ludwig-Leone and Schumacher’s ballet Common Ground was premiered by the New York City Ballet at their Fall Gala.
Ludwig-Leone is currently working on American Music, a full-length musical with author Jane Mendelsohn and director Diane Paulus, commissioned by the American Repertory Theatre. He is also at work on a new evening-length ballet with Schumacher and author Karen Russell.
Other recent collaborations include a three-part song cycle written for Brooklyn Youth Chorus with a libretto by playwright Max Posner, and a song with folk singer Sam Amidon based on the poetry of Charles Simic. Upcoming works include a solo piano piece for the pianist Simone Dinnerstein to be premiered at Boston Symphony Hall in the fall of 2018 and two new works for Manhattan Choral Ensemble.
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.
New York City Ballet Orchestra
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
San Fermin and Colorado Music Festival Orchestra
Sonsick (official Video)
directed by Benjamin Kutsko, 2013.
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List of Works (selected)
Simple Machine for flute, clarinet, piano, guitar & double bass, 10’ (2016).
Until the Walls Cave In for oboe, piano, string quartet & electronic playback, 23’ (2016).
Invisible Divide for vocalist, oboe, guitar, piano, keyboard & string quartet, 24’ (2015).
All That We See for baritone saxophone, electric guitar, piano & string quartet, 19’ (2014).
Dear and Blackbirds multiple versions: for string quartet, for oboe quartet, 10’ (2014).
The Impulse Wants Company for piano quintet, 22’ (2013).
GROW for clarinet quintet, 8’ (2012).
Suite for Flute & Harp, 8’ (2012).
Four Short Pieces for String Quartet, 6’ (2011).
Secrets for cello, piano & electronic playback, 8’ (2009).
Common Ground for orchestra, 15’ (2015).
How To Fake Your Death for orchestra, 12’ (2015).
Cello Concerto for orchestra & solo cello, 11’ (2011).
4 Episodes for Orchestra and Electronics, for orchestra and electronic playback, 12’ (2011).
Sixty-Seven for children’s choir and large chamber ensemble, 15’ (2016).
Simpler Language for harp, 6’ (2016).
Night Loops for harp, looping pedal & electronics, 9’ (2014).
Elaborate Monument for piano, 8’ (2011).