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, 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. Other recent collaborations include a short song cycle 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.
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.