Duke Ladd has always been known for excellence in both music and entertainment. He began piano lessons at age seven playing for family sing-alongs and worked with various bands through high school in his home town of Wilmington, NC. At 17 he started his professional career with the Spurrlows, an established show band touring North America. Duke was also a backup musician for country entertainer Roy Clark. Duke, in a promise made to his family, entered college at ECU earning his music degree and subsequently attended North Texas State University for graduate work in music composition. Upon completion of his graduate studies, Duke once again turned his attention to his professional career.
Duke has performed in some of the nations premier hotels in cities such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas and Atlantic City. During the early 1980s, in order to pursue his own composing career and start his own band, Duke made Wilmington his home. Since then, he has been a top call musician in regional theatres, clubs, hotels, and for special events and recordings. In the studio Duke has recorded three albums for renowned folk singer, John Golden and has recorded a jazz album with legendary saxophonist Robert Williams. In 1989 Duke traveled to New York where he composed and recorded his own first album, Duke Ladd In Paradise.
Duke has served as musical director for theatrical shows such as Guys And Dolls, The Sound of Music, Damn Yankees and Possessed: The Dracula Musical. As a pianist, he has given outstanding performances in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The King and I, and Tommy. Major fundraising productions continue to enlist Duke’s musical direction. Duke has served for 3 years as the musical director for the Junior League “Follies“. Using his talents as both a pianist and composer, Duke continues to be called upon again and again where people demand the best.