Monday, September 15, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Before Inauguration, sounds from a Curtis composer

David Ludwig's The New Colossus will be performed by Ben Hutto and St. John's Choir during the worship service preceding Monday's Presidential Inauguration.

Before Inauguration, sounds from a Curtis composer

David Ludwig's new songs are inspired by Omar Khayyám.
David Ludwig's new songs are inspired by Omar Khayyám.

David Ludwig's The New Colossus will be performed by Ben Hutto and St. John's Choir during the worship service preceding Monday's Presidential Inauguration.

The piece was commissioned from Ludwig - a Curtis Institute of Music composer and artistic chair of the performance studies dept. - in 2002. But its text, from the Emma Lazarus’s poem on the Statute of Liberty, is topical today. Ludwig writes: “I was very moved by the sentiment of welcome that Lazarus—herself an immigrant—conveys in the message: ‘give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…’ And it is not just some people that the Statue welcomes, but everyone—even the ‘wretched refuse.’ This to me was the true spirit of the United States embodied in poetry: our strength in diversity and tolerance.”

The pre-Inauguration service is a private event for the president, vice president and members of the cabinet, at St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House.

Ludwig's grandfather played at the White House twice - in 1966 and 1970. He himself was on the faculty of the Curtis Institute, and from 1968 to 1975 was director of the school. His name, in case you have not already guessed, was Rudolf Serkin.

Peter Dobrin Inquirer Classical Music Critic
About this blog

Peter Dobrin is a classical music critic and culture writer for The Inquirer. Since 1989, he has written music reviews, features, news and commentary for the paper, covering such topics as the Philadelphia Museum of Art at the Venice Biennale, expansion of the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia Orchestra's bankruptcy declaration in 2011, Philadelphia's evolving performing arts center and the general health of arts and culture.

Dobrin was a French horn player. He earned an undergraduate degree in performance from the University of Miami, and received a master's degree in music criticism from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Elliott Galkin. He has no time to practice today.

Reach Peter at pdobrin@phillynews.com.

Peter Dobrin Inquirer Classical Music Critic
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