EMS Announces New Executive Director

Ludovica (Ludo) Punzi

Seattle, WA, February 27, 2023 — Early Music Seattle (EMS) is thrilled to announce that Ludovica (Ludo) Punzi has been named as our new Executive Director. She will lead our entire team, as we develop plans for business growth, deeper community engagement, and continue to challenge ideas about “early music,” by producing and presenting European art music standards alongside a wide variety of the world’s musical traditions, covering offerings from Latin America, the Middle East, Far East, and Africa.

As Executive Director, Ludo will report to the Board of Directors and lead our organization, including the marketing and operations staff, as well as our newly appointed Artistic Director (and former Executive Director) August Denhard, as we celebrate our 45th anniversary season and prepare for our next forty-five years!

EMS will be in excellent hands with Ludo. She is a versatile and experienced arts leader, having worked in many different roles in Italy and the United States. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Vivace Music Foundation, an international organization dedicated to equitable music education opportunities for the world’s most talented youth, and also serves as Program Manager of the St. Lawrence String Quartet Chamber Music Seminar at Stanford University.

Equally at home in concert halls and community spaces, Ludo has worked with The Concert Truck, a non-profit organization which strengthens communities by redefining the concert experience through a mobile concert hall. She has also worked with the Florence and Milan conservatories, where she has led hundreds of chamber music, opera, orchestra and jazz productions and tours in Europe, Dubai and the US.

Ludo earned an academic diploma in piano performance at Mantua Conservatory. She loves podcasts and radio shows and has an uncontrollable passion for rockabilly jive music and dance. She speaks four languages and has an identical twin sister. A tattoo on her left wrist says “vero”, which in Italian stands for “true” and is also her twin sister’s nickname. Home for her is wherever her husband John and doggy Ted are.

EMS is the area’s largest presenter of early music and related educational programs, with an annual operating budget of approximately $500k. Its mainstage events include Seattle Baroque Orchestra and internationally renowned touring artists at venues around the Puget Sound region including Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall, Seattle First Baptist Church, St. James Cathedral, Bastyr University Chapel, LANGSTON, Town Hall Seattle, and Federal Way Performing Arts Center. Its mission is to present outstanding early music, use early music to enrich cultural heritage via education and outreach, and engage new audiences through inclusivity and openness, as we enrich cultural life in the Pacific Northwest.

EMS is attempting something revolutionary in the early music field. Since 2014, we have consistently presented and supported music outside of the European art music traditions, covering offerings from Latin America, the Middle East, Far East, and Africa. We do this by bringing touring groups to Seattle that represent these cultural traditions, and more significantly, by funding local Global Majority artists to both participate in our concerts and create their own independent projects. This direct funding, done without imposing a white, Eurocentric agenda helps neglected artforms gain wider recognition and mainstream respect. The artistic reasoning behind this programming approach is to tell a bigger, more complex story of the vibrant cultural interactions that created the world’s great music traditions. This approach begins to right historical wrongs as it brings us closer to recognizing the real and whole truth of our shared humanity. Within this plan, the early music of Europe takes its proper place as one of many branches of the deep-seated cultural roots we all share.

Formed in 1977 as Early Music Guild, this season EMS celebrates its 45th anniversary. Programs include the Music for the Ages Series, Global Connections Series, and performances by Seattle Baroque Orchestra (SBO), and educational programs serving 2,400 students in Seattle Public Schools annually and more than 100 amateur musicians. Seattle Baroque Orchestra, EMS’s resident orchestra, was founded in 1994 by violinist Ingrid Matthews and harpsichordist Byron Schenkman, and quickly established itself as one of the most vibrant of the American early music ensembles. SBO performs four programs each season, and has toured North America, been featured extensively on National Public Radio, and garnered rave reviews for its six recordings, while winning loyal fans in Seattle for the excitement and intimacy of their live performances.

EMS frequently partners with local venues and artists to program innovative and multidisciplinary projects, including the presentation of operas and educational workshops. Artistic partners include Meany Center for the Performing Arts, ACT, Seattle Theatre Group, Spectrum Dance Company, Orquesta Northwest, Grupo Cultural Oaxaqueño, Ensemble Caprice, La Sala, Movimiento Afrolatino Seattle, and Seattle Early Dance. Activities before the pandemic included a fruitful collaboration with Early Music Vancouver, Portland Baroque Orchestra, and Victoria, B.C.’s Early Music Society of the Islands to create large-scale works performed in Seattle, Portland, Victoria, and Vancouver, B.C.

Read Ludo’s Biography