Stoeger Prize

David Serkin Ludwig
David Serkin Ludwig

David Serkin Ludwig is the 2020 recipient of the Elise L. Stoeger Prize


The Stoeger Prize for composers of chamber music was established by a generous gift from Milan Stoeger as a memorial to his wife, Elise, and in gratitude for the music that had been one of the principal joys of their lives. The Prize is awarded in recognition of achievement in the field of chamber music composition rather than for a specific work.

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s 2020 Elise L. Stoeger Prize has been awarded to American composer David Serkin Ludwig (awarded in 2022, due to COVID-19). The Stoeger Prize, a $25,000 cash award and the largest of its kind, is given every two years in recognition of significant contributions to the field of chamber music composition.

Chamber Music Society Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han commented on the announcement:

Wu Han and I are delighted to recognize David Serkin Ludwig’s imaginative voice and significant contribution to the chamber music repertoire. The jury was impressed with his work, describing it as having impeccable craft and excellent musicianship. It is a privilege to add David to this group of esteemed composers. And we can’t wait to hear his work performed at CMS next season!
David Serkin Ludwig responded:

Winning the Stoeger Prize is an incredible honor for me, as a composer passionate about writing chamber music and as a recently repatriated New Yorker. The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center engages many of the most outstanding musicians in the world, and for these performers to play my music is a dream. I couldn’t be more grateful for this recognition and wish to thank CMS profoundly for this honor.

About David Serkin Ludwig

David Serkin Ludwig’s first memory was singing Beatles songs with his sister; his second was hearing his grandfather perform at Carnegie Hall; foreshadowing a diverse career collaborating with many of today’s leading musicians, filmmakers, and writers. His choral work “The New Colossus,” opened the private prayer service for President Obama’s second inauguration. The next year NPR Music named him in the world’s “Top 100 Composers Under Forty.” He holds positions and residencies with nearly two dozen orchestras and music festivals in the US and abroad.

Ludwig has received commissions and notable performances from many of the most recognized artists and ensembles of our time, including the Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, and National Symphony Orchestras, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Dresden Music Festival, as well as Jonathan Biss, Jeremy Denk, Jennifer Koh, Jaime Laredo, David Shifrin, eighth blackbird, the Dover and Borromeo Quartets, and the PRISM Saxophone Quartet.

Ludwig received the prestigious 2018 Pew Center for the Arts and Heritage Fellowship, as well as the First Music Award, and is a two-time recipient of the Independence Foundation Fellowship, a Theodore Presser Foundation Career Grant, and awards from New Music USA, the American Composers Forum, American Music Center, Detroit Chamber Winds, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Ludwig served on the composition faculty of The Curtis Institute of Music for nearly two decades. He was recently appointed Dean and Director of the Juilliard School music division. He lives in New York City with his wife and CMS artist Bella Hristova and their four beloved cats.

Watch and listen to one of David Serkin's Ludwig's compositions:

Past Recipients

The Stoeger Prize for composers of chamber music was established by a generous gift from Milan Stoeger as a memorial to his wife, Elise, and in gratitude for the music that had been one of the principal joys of their lives. The Prize is awarded in recognition of achievement in the field of chamber music composition rather than for a specific work.

Previous winners of the Elise L. Stoeger Prize

1987 - Gunther Schuller
1990 - Oliver Knussen
1992 - Lee Hyla and Olly Wilson
1993 - Aaron Jay Kernis and Nicholas Maw
1994 - Oleg Felzer and Richard Wilson
1995 - David Liptak and Steven Mackey
1996 - Martin Bresnick and Osvaldo Golijov
1997 - Stephen Hartke and Judith Weir
1998 - Thomas Ades and Yehudi Wyner
1999 - James Primosch and Scott Wheeler
2000 - Michael Daugherty and Kaija Saariaho
2002 - Chen Yi
2004 - David Rakowski
2006 - Pierre Jalbert
2008 - Jörg Widmann
2010 - Brett Dean 
2012 - Zhou Long
2014 - Thomas Larcher
2016 - Huw Watkins 
2018 - Marc-André Dalbavie


From the guidelines for the award, the intentions of the donor indicate that the Prize will help sustain a composer for creative work that he/she might not otherwise be able to accomplish without such economic help.