Brava! Ludfords play Carnegie Hall


Alexa Muñoz, Staff Writer, Assistant Arts & Life Editor

Admiring the talent of her family members, a 6-year old Yung-Fang Hu Ludford sings along to her mother’s gospel song, patiently waiting her turn to perform for her family. Taking the stage in the middle of the living room, she belts out the day’s choir song, unaware her future would entail a similar performance at one of the most prestigious concert venues in the world: Carnegie Hall.

Inspired by her eleventh-grade music teacher, Ludford took the “unheard of” route of music education in Taiwan. Later, she came to Texas, where an Italian music group recruited her, allowing her to perform in Italy, France, Russia and China.

Motivated to continue entertaining, she auditioned for The Taiwan National Hall. After a successful performance at the Taiwanese concert hall, Ludford said, “How about Carnegie?”

Ludford passed the Carnegie Hall audition with flying colors in 2019, but COVID-19 postponed her performance until July 2022. Ludford described her concert as a “cultural fusion.” Her program included pieces from Taiwanese, Italian, African American and Chinese composers.

“My mother has always championed minority composers, especially women, and this concert was no different, featuring several compositions by women and/or Taiwanese composers,’’ said her daughter, Vivian Ludford ‘11, who joined Yung-Fang onstage for the concluding piece.

The mother and two-daughter trio performed a 21st century Chinese art song composed by Kim Hee-Wen and influenced by a female-written Chinese poem from 900 years ago. Blending both Eastern and Western repertoire, “Thriving” incorporates violin, cello, piano and voice to portray resilience in one’s life.

“It was a great experience, and I’m glad I got to support my mother by playing the violin,” said Lilian Ludford ‘13.

While the song talks about a tree’s roots growing deeper as it faces more challenges, she relates it to growth within her Middle and Upper School students.

“It reminds me of Hockaday’s mission- to strive for excellence and lead lives of purpose and impact,” Yung-Fang Hu Ludford said, describing the final piece.

Ludford received the prestigious 2020 Prentiss Grant from Hockaday, presenting her with the opportunity to travel internationally to further her understanding of women composers and enrichen her curriculum. For an in-depth exploration of her global interests, the Fine Arts teacher will travel to Germany and Austria in the summer of 2023. Upon returning, she plans to teach her students about the inspiring women, hoping to promote more female representation in the musical world.

“You never stop learning,” Ludford said. “It’s like a lifelong journey.”