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Written by Lindsay Westley   
Published on Wednesday, 05 June 2013 01:15

David LudwigJune 5, 2013 - Philadelphia composer David Ludwig has written for a diverse range of choral and instrumental ensembles around the world, earning him praise from top music critics and even the honor of having his “The New Colossus” performed at the worship service for President Obama’s 2013 inauguration in January. Needless to say, we were thrilled when David accepted LiveConnections’ commission for a new piece written for classical guitarist Jason Vieaux and Arabic violinist Hanna Khoury.

David’s "Kantigas" will receive its world premiere at our concert this Friday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m., so we caught up with him to hear a little more about the writing process and his inspiration for the new piece.

 

How did this collaboration first come together?
Mary [Javian, of LiveConnections] commissioned the piece. I’d worked a lot with Jason but never with Hanna. I listened to some of his music and was totally blown away. It’s very inspiring to get the opportunity to work with two musicians at that level.

"Kantigas" is influenced and inspired by music from the Sephardic (Spanish-Judeo) tradition. Describe the Ladino musical tradition and how it influenced you?
Essentially we’re talking about a medieval group of people that spread from Spain to Central Asian, Turkey, Eastern Europe and Persia, bringing music with Jewish roots with them. Along the way, these groups picked up new traditions and cultures until the result was an incredibly rich musical tradition. Since I had already worked with a lot of sounds in that medium — and given Hanna and Jason’s talents — it was a perfect place to come together to re-imagine old, traditional songs using 21st-century contemporary techniques.

What is it about the interplay between contemporary Western and traditional Eastern cultures that interested you?
I started by thinking about the kind of music that embodies the connection points between the three of us. We all intersect like a Venn diagram in terms of our musical backgrounds and styles — Hanna has classical training, but primarily plays music from a central Asian background; Jason is also classically trained, but also does quite a bit of improv and is very familiar with music influenced by this region.

What about your own interests? Have you composed pieces in this same vein in the past?
As a composer, I’ve written a lot of music influenced by central Asia, and especially Persia. I also have Jewish roots, so all of our experiences really do touch and overlap each other, even while we’ve had different individual experiences.


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