FOUNDER / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

LUDWIG TUMAN

Composer-Producer.  Greater Los Angeles, California

Ludwig_Tuman_portrait2.jpg

A Personal Note

Like NASA astronauts who gaze on the blue ball of the earth floating in space, I see myself both as an American and a world citizen.  As a child I was exposed to a wide range of cultures.  Having lived on three continents, and also in three very different regions of the USA, it was natural for me to have a world-embracing view from an early age.  I see humanity as one family, and the world’s diverse cultures as our universal heritage.  That perspective led me to begin a lifelong journey to immerse myself in the musical traditions of various countries.  In my work as a composer, I draw on musical features found in cultures on all continents, whose music resonates with me on a deep level.

How did the Choral Tales Project emerge from this background?  A few years ago I was lying in bed with the flu one night and had some time to think.  I was trying to put together an artistic package that would give expression to the vision and values I hold as an artist: something that would convey an optimistic and inspiring outlook, reaching a broad public in a format that many would find accessible and meaningful. 

Though I had written mostly instrumental music until then, I settled on choral music as a primary medium.  Choirs, in the world of art music, are by far the most abundant kind of music ensemble.  They build a sense of community and encourage the participation of non-professional musicians – which I believe is key to the future of music’s place in society. 

But the subject matter the choirs would sing about was not yet clear to me.  I did feel certain that as a composer I was, in the final analysis, a kind of story teller.  Even purely instrumental music like a Mozart violin sonata tells a story in some sense.  Suddenly I remembered a course I had taken in college – a survey of world folk tales that had opened my eyes both to the wonderful diversity of story telling, and to how alike people are wherever you look.  That night, too weak to get up, I asked my wife to dig up some folk tales from Japan and other countries, that I had kept from the course long ago.  As soon as I saw them, I knew what my next major project would be: to tell folk tales from around the world through the choral medium, in varying musical styles reflecting the culture of the lands in which the tales are found.

A love for humanity, and also for nature, is the spirit behind the selection of each story included in the Choral Tales Project.  It is the foundation for the values that inform my work as an artist: 

  • a spiritual outlook on life, highlighting personal qualities such as mutual respect, kindness and generosity

  • peace - on a personal, local and global level

  • social justice and human rights, including equality of women and men

  • promotion of humanity’s oneness and unity

  • appreciation of cultural diversity, and the healing of divisions and prejudices

  • kindness to animals, caring for the environment, and living in harmony with nature.

Such values are at the core of the Choral Tales Project.  In one form or another, they are expressed in the music I write.  If they are meaningful to you, too, our growing Choral Tales family warmly invites you to join us in our adventure to spread healing, unity, and peace. 


Backstage with Yo-Yo Ma, friends since college.

Backstage with Yo-Yo Ma, friends since college.

Background

Ludwig Tuman is an international award winning composer. He is also active as a performing pianist, teaching artist, producer, writer, and is an experienced choral director.

In our time, it has become common for art works (when they have an identifiable subject) to dwell on what is dark and disturbing. It has become so common as to be regarded by many as a hallmark of the serious artist. At such a time, Ludwig writes music that is attuned to the contemporary scene, yet dares to stand on a new and broader foundation. Rather than content itself with passively mirroring the human condition or objecting to the status quo, it steps beyond postmodern angst and actively proposes a way forward. It is unapologetic in its optimism and hope, innovative in its creative combination of musical materials, and unabashedly melodic and clear.

Ludwig’s music for the Choral Tales project has been recorded by renowned conductor Jonathan Talberg, directing the Chamber Choir of CSU Long Beach, winners of the Choir of the World Award.

After conceiving and developing the Choral Tales project, Ludwig assembled the group of collaborating artists listed on the Artists page, as well as the members of the advisory board.  He serves as the project's artistic director, producer, and composer.

On the strength of the Choral Tales project, Ludwig became a Creative Member of the Club of Budapest, by invitation of its founder and president, Dr. Ervin Laszlo.  The Club of Budapest is a platform dedicated to facilitating and providing direction to a positive global shift underway in the world.  www.clubofbudapest.org  

Membership in the Club of Budapest is by invitation and is based on the member's engaging in significant artistic, literary or spiritual pursuits that promote a more peaceful, equitable, and sustainable world.  Its members number some 200 worldwide. 

Among them are Dame Jane Goodall, Princess Irene Van Lippe-Biesterfeld of the Netherlands, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Deepak Chopra, conductor Zubin Mehta, and the late Elie Wiesel.


Recent Honors

2019 - Choral Tales music composed by Ludwig was selected for worldwide broadcast on World Radio Day, an annual event sponsored by UNESCO in partnership with the European Broadcast Union and many other broadcast unions around the world.  The music was part of a package distributed by the event's organizers to some 2,000 participating radio stations in over 100 countries.

2019 - All 3 Choral Tales pieces were selected as Finalists in two separate Categories - Choral Music Composition and Music for Film/Dance - in The American Prize, a prestigious national competition in the performing arts. 
2019 - Choral Tales works selected as Semi-Finalist in the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award
2018 - Grant for creative work from Build a Better World Foundation
2017 - "The Happy Man's Shirt," a Choral Tales piece, selected as Semi-Finalist in The American Prize.
2017 - Luxembourg Peace Prize, awarded to Club of Budapest and its Creative Members
2017 - Grant for creative work from Nora Betyousef Foundation
2016 - Original choral work selected for performance by Chamber Choir of CSU, Long Beach
2015 - Commissions for creative work in the Choral Tales Project
2014 - Grant for creative work from The Arts Collaborative (California)
2014 - Grant for creative work from Wings to the Spirit Foundation (Florida)
2013 - Grant for creative work from Artists Building Capacity as World Citizens (New Hampshire)

His work, 14 Variations for Piano, won top honors in the Concorso Counterpoint-Italy, an international competition based in New York.  The competition seeks to enrich “the contemporary dialogue with outstanding works that enhance a developing international musical language.”

Winning compositions were selected from a large field of submissions from composers living in four continents.  In recognition of the award, the Variations for Piano were premiered in New York.

Artistic Perspective

Ludwig Tuman's music is part of a 21st century movement among composers whose works seek to contribute to the cultural and social discourses of the time we live in, while avoiding didacticism and maintaining artistic standards.

Moreover, in his published writings, he has long been an advocate of an emerging, world-embracing artistic vision that views the earth and humanity as a single whole, and the diverse arts and cultures of the world as organically related to one another. It is a vision that also views past musical styles not as outdated, but as providing a rich field of ingredients that can be recombined creatively and fruitfully in an endless variety of ways. Like other composers who share this emerging vision, his attraction to musical cultures of various continents and historical periods has led him to selectively blend, in his compositions, musical elements from a range of origins.

His creative work is broad in its cultural sources, connected with community, and revolves around a core of enduring concepts and values. The cultural elements found in his compositions reflect this forward-looking vision, in which aspects of present and past, North and South, East and West, are integrated in innovative ways, in service to the public's cultural and social interests.

For him, this involves drawing upon and honoring the varied musical sources of his creative work in ways that bring into view both the oneness of the human family and its cultural diversity. The Choral Tales Project is a clear example of this approach.

At times Ludwig composes in the more complex styles used in some of contemporary music. In other cases, such as the Variations for Piano, he is willing to draw on musical languages from an earlier period, or from the various regions of the world with whose music he feels deeply identified. With an inclusive, world-embracing approach to composition, the source of inspiration from one work to another may be from Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas, or the Pacific.

Ludwig was a faculty member of the Chicago Conservatory College, where he designed and taught courses in composition, theory, and non-Western music. One of his innovative courses surveyed the extensive influence of the music of Africa, via the African diaspora, upon that of North and South America.

His studies in music composition and related areas were at Harvard (B.A. cum laude), UC Berkeley (graduate level), and San Francisco State University (M.A.).

Samples of his instrumental music can be heard at www.ludwigtuman.com.

His writing for the Choral Tales can be heard on the videos of this site, here.