AVA Alumna Recipient of the inaugural Stephen De Maio Memorial Award

March 1, 2021

AVA is thrilled to share alumna Hannah Ludwig (’18) is the recipient of the first-ever Stephen De Maio Memorial Award, presented by the Gerda Lissner Foundation.

Since its inception in 1991, the Gerda Lissner Foundation has assisted hundreds of young American and International Artists in launching their careers by means of grants and awards.

Their beloved and late President, Stephen De Maio, who died in May 2020 has devoted much of his time to pass on his invaluable operatic knowledge and experience. It is for this reason that The Gerda Lissner Foundation established the Stephen De Maio Memorial Award to keep his name alive and to honoring him accordingly for his tireless efforts and guidance of young operatic talent that included many of Academy of Vocal Arts students who he greatly admired.

The Gerda Lissner Foundation Board:


The New York Times calls mezzo-soprano Hannah Ludwig “best in show” and further exclaims “Her tone chocolaty and large, yet with focus and agility, she captured the integral aspect of bel canto…expression emerging from a long, intelligently shaped musical line.” In the 2020-21 season, she will return to Teatro Nuovo for a third Rossini role debut with the company, Calbo in Maometto II—originally scheduled for last season—and will join the Bochumer Symphoniker for her international debut in a solo program of bel canto repertoire originally written for the castrato fach. She returns to Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia in a made-for-digital production with Opera Louisiane and is presented in SONGS FROM A DISTANCE, a recital featuring Schubert, Argento, Boyle, and Musto by Opera Delaware and Baltimore Concert Opera performed with renowned pianist, Laura Ward. Her scheduled performances of Szymanowski’s Stabat mater with Gianandrea Noseda conducting the National Symphony Orchestra have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be scheduled in a future season. Last season, she sang her first performances of Giovanna Seymour in Anna Bolena with Baltimore Concert Opera and returned to Dritte Dame in Die Zauberflöte in her company debut with Dallas Opera. Unfortunately, her debut with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Buenos Aires at the Teatro Colón of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde was also cancelled in the wake of COVID-19.

Her other recent role debuts in the bel canto repertoire include Pippo in La gazza ladra and Isaura in Tancredi with Teatro Nuovo, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Annapolis Opera, and Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera Philadelphia. On the concert stage, she sang her first performances of Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky with the Colorado Symphony and Mozart’s Requiem with the Columbus Symphony, both under the baton of Rossen Milanov, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Flint Symphony Orchestra.  

​Ms. Ludwig is a 2018 graduate of the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts, at which she sang a host of roles that include Isabella in L’italiana in Algeri, Charlotte in Werther, Maddalena in Rigoletto, Fricka in Das Rheingold, Azucena in Il trovatore, Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos, Dritte Dame in Die Zauberflöte, and the Nurse in The Demon. With the Aspen Music Festival, she performed Ursule in Béatrice et Bénédict conducted by Johannes Debus and Sesto in La clemenza di Tito led by Maestro Jane Glover.  Her other recent concert appearances include Handel’s Messiah with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as well as Mozart’s Requiem and Forrest’s Requiem for the Living with MidAmerica Productions at Carnegie Hall.

She recently won second place in the 2018 Loren L Zachary Society for the Performing Arts Vocal Competition. She has received encouragement awards from the James Toland Vocal Arts Competition, Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition, Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Gulf Coast Region, and the Licia Albanese-Puccini International Vocal Competition. She is also a grant winner of the Giulio Gari Vocal competition.

​Prior to attending the Academy of Vocal Arts, Ms. Ludwig received her Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from the University of the Pacific. She received further training from the Aspen Music Festival, Taos Opera Institute, Napa Music Festival, and Classical Lyric Arts in France.