Ruth Woolley – Viola

RuthWooleyOrchestral music has been an integral part of Ruth’s musical life since an early age. As a Masters student at Birmingham Conservatoire Ruth won a place on the coveted Birmingham Royal Ballet Sinfonia Mentoring Scheme and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Training Scheme. Ruth first got involved with Darwin Ensemble Chamber Orchestra in 2011 after Alex Laing heard her leading the viola section at a Conservatoire concert featuring George Caird in Strauss’ Oboe Concerto. Since that lovely December evening, Ruth has played in concerts with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, English Symphony Orchestra, Lincoln Chamber Orchestra, Queens Park Sinfonia, Orchestra de Camera and Longborough Festival Opera. This season she is joining Orchestra of the Swan as a core player (No.4) and would like to thank Alex and George for getting the ball rolling all those years ago.

Throughout her life Ruth has had a passion for chamber music. As a founder member of the Bantock Quartet and Junior Fellow of Birmingham Conservatoire she has had the privilege of sharing this passion with distinguished musicians, discerning audiences and the next generation of string players. Ruth has embraced the opportunity to learn first hand by playing alongside musicians such as Garth Knox, Chris Potter and Robin Ireland in recital performances of Viola Spaces, Song for Anyone (Cheltenham Jazz Festival) and Bowen’s Phantasy Quartet.

The freelance life isn’t all master works and matinees. Ruth has also played the viola at a variety of events that sound much more glamorous than they were in real life including an Absolut Vodka party in Morocco, an opera in a Marquee by a Châteaux in the Loire Valley and an Aston Martin show room party in Derby. Ruth’s backstage gossip in 140 characters or less can be found on twitter.com (@violarama). That’s where the story of the Stephen Fry Tambourine started!

Ruth is more than the stereotypical viola wallflower and has been caught moonlighting as a soloist on several occasions. She has performed a number of concerti, most recently Bruch’s Romanze with Sutton Coldfield Orchestra and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with Eroica Camerata. Despite being eternally indebted as a viola player to Maestro Bartock Ruth flagrantly disregarded his advice that “competitions are for horses, not artists…” and won first prize in the Sylvia Cleaver Chamber Music Prize (2011), Herburt Lumby Prize for Violin and Viola Players (2012) and the Ambache Prize for the Performance of Music by Women Composers (2013).