False We Hope featuring Attacca Quartet & Eliza Bagg
The “masters of highbrow chamber pop,” according to Rolling Stone, the Brooklyn band San Fermin arose from one special album by the young composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone. After growing up playing both rock and classical piano in rural Massachusetts, he studied composition at Yale, where he began his long association with the composer Nico Muhly. San Fermin, the album he made after graduating, was released in 2013, and it fell on grateful ears far beyond the academy, also resonating with fans of Sufjan Stevens and Fleet Foxes.
The success prompted Ludwig-Leone to create an octet of the same name, which has released three more acclaimed records since then. Most recent was The Cormorant I & II, where Ludwig-Leone “again demonstrates his sublime knack for keying into the molten undercurrent of intimate examinations of the self,” Exclaim! exclaimed. “There is pressure building beneath the tenderness of these reflective pieces, and when it bursts, it is glorious.”
While rising to indie renown, Ludwig-Leone has written music for esteemed groups such as ACME, JACK Quartet, NOW Ensemble, and others. False We Hope, which receives its world premiere at Big Ears, is a new piece for female voice, string quartet, piano, and synthesizer that Ludwig-Leone wrote for his longtime collaborators Eliza Bagg (aka Lisel) and Attacca Quartet. With such starry intimates onboard and a text by Karen Russell—a Pulitzer finalist for her alligator-wrestling novel, Swamplandia!—and the poet Carey McHugh, False We Hope to be a bravura showcase for the gracious, capacious Ludwig-Leone’s compositions.