Bernd Ruf

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Bernd Ruf (2008)

Bernd Ruf (born 27 September 1964 in Offenburg) is a German conductor and clarinettist. In 2004, Ruf was appointed a new professorship in popular music, jazz, and world music at the Lübeck University of Music.

Life and works[edit]

Bernd Ruf grew up in Gengenbach, Baden-Württemberg in a musical environment of classical and popular music. During his final two years of school he attended a two-year extracurricular conducting course. After his Abitur, he studied school music, diploma in music education, jazz and popular music, music director and musicology in Stuttgart and Frankfurt. Following his musical director degree, Bernd Ruf conducted musicals (Miss Saigon, Les Misérables, Dance of the Vampires, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King), assisted Dennis Russell Davies at the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra and at the Salzburg Festival, and undertook the conception and direction of youth concerts at the Stuttgarter Philharmoniker from 1999 to 2004.

As a freelance director, he developed the Crossover Symphony series: orchestral programs with African, Asian, and Latin American musicians in cooperation with jazz and rock musicians. He has conducted several premieres in Stuttgart with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra and in New York with the German-American Chamber Orchestra for composer and violinist Gregor Hübner. He has appeared as a guest with SWR Rundfunkorchester Kaiserslautern, the NDR Radiophilharmonie Hanover, and the Bochumer Symphoniker.

Ruf is a guest conductor with the Staatskapelle Halle, the Jenaer Philharmonie, and the Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen. He has worked with Jon Lord, Roger Hodgson, Ian Anderson, Paul McCartney, Randy Brecker, Joe Lovano, and Charlie Mariano on his orchestral crossover projects. He is responsible for organizing and conducting the annual open-air event Bridges to the Classics at the Handel Festival in Halle. He has led the German Pops Orchestra and the European Art Orchestra as music director since 1999. Both orchestras have made an international name for themselves with their studio recordings and regularly perform classical, crossover, film, and pop productions for international record labels. He conducts orchestral soundtracks for cinema, television, and games (The Settlers, Anno, SpellForce, Paraworld, Battleforge, Darksiders, House of the Lion).

As a clarinettist he draws on influences from klezmer, jazz, southeastern European folk music, and classical music. Improvisation is a major part of his music. In 1987 Ruf joined the ensemble Tango Five (de), which was founded two years previously in Ravensburg. The members of this ensemble have remained constant since 1995: Gregor Hübner (violin), Veit Hübner (double bass), Karl Albrecht Fischer (piano), and Bernd Ruf (clarinet). Numerous tours have taken the ensemble as far afield as the United States, South America, Georgia, and throughout Europe. On one hand, Tango Five plays scenic musical comedy programs in which four musicians tell short, ironic stories using different instruments and a cappella vocals to bridge musical genres. On the other hand, Tango Five plays a repertoire with its roots in southeastern European folk music, klezmer, gypsy, tango, classical music, and jazz.

The cooperation between Tango Five and bandoneonist Raul Jaurena began in 1998 with the album Obsecion. Appearances at tango festivals in Montevideo and Buenos Aires followed. One year later Bernd Ruf wrote and conducted his first Crossover Symphony for the ORF Radio-Symphonie Orchester of Vienna: Latin Symphony in which Jaurena gave his debut performance with a European orchestra as bandoneon soloist. Other tours followed, the Symphonic Tango Night with the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra (de) and the tango evening 'Amando a Buenos Aires', which was performed for several weeks in Stuttgart's Friedrichsbau. Furthermore, Bernd Ruf and Raul Jaurena have performed as a duo under the name JAURENA RUF Project since 2007.

Since 2004 Ruf has headed the field of popular music, jazz, and world music at the Lübeck Academy of Music, of which he became vice president in May 2011. There he developed the 'Lübeck model', in which jazz and pop are not taught as an independent degree course, but rather as an integral component of classical degree courses. During the 2006 winter semester he temporarily took over the running of the Institute of School Music; since the 2008 winter semester he is now acting head of this institute.

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 1991: Ravensburger Kupferle (cabaret award) for Tango Five
  • 1992: Kleinkunstpreis Baden-Württemberg (3rd place) for Tango Five
  • 1995: Scholarship from the Herbert von Karajan Foundation
  • 1999: Scholarship from Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg
  • 2002: Grammy nomination as a conductor in the Best Classical Crossover Album category for the album Paquito D'Rivera – The Clarinettist


Bernd Ruf (2009) / Photographer: Béla Markó
Year Format Title Artist
1991 CD Badewasser Tango Five
1993 CD Lila Kuh Tango 5
1994 CD Tango Five live Tango Five
1996 CD Der 5. Mann Tango Five
1998 CD Huhn Madagaskar Tango Five
1998 CD Obsecion Raul Jaurena, bandoneon; Tango Five (Bernd Ruf, clarinet; Veit Hübner, double bass; Gregor Hübner, violin; Karl Albrecht Fischer, piano)
1998 CD New York Stories Richie Beirach, piano; Gregor Hübner, violin; Richard Brice, viola; Philharmonia Virtuosi New York; Bernd Ruf, conductor
2000 CD Tango Five spielt wie Waldi Tango Five
2000 CD Symphonic Tango Night Raul Jaurena, bandoneon; Marga Mitchell, vocals; Tango Five

(Bernd Ruf, clarinet & conductor; Veit Hübner, double bass; Gregor Hübner, violin; Karl Albrecht Fischer, piano); Stuttgarter Philharmoniker

2001 CD Amando a Buenos Aires Raul Jaurena, bandoneon; Marga Mitchell, vocals; Tango Five (Bernd Ruf, clarinet; Veit Hübner, double bass; Gregor Hübner, violin; Karl Albrecht Fischer, piano)
2001 CD Kakyoku Fumio Yasuda, piano; Ernst Reijseger, cello; European Art Orchestra; Bernd Ruf, conductor
2001 CD Paquito D'Rivera - The Clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera, clarinet; GermanPops Orchestra, European Art Orchestra, conductor: Pablo Zinger, Bernd Ruf
2003 CD Go For Gold Tango Five
2004 CD europique music Raul Jaurena, bandoneon; Tango Five (Bernd Ruf, clarinet; Veit Hübner, double bass; Gregor Hübner, violin; Karl Albrecht Fischer, piano)
2004 CD / DVD Pur Klassisch - Live auf Schalke 2004 Pur; Fools Garden; Heinz Rudolf Kunze; German Pops Orchestra; Bernd Ruf, conductor
2004 CD In die Tiefe der Zeit Ulrich Schlumberger, accordion; Krassimira Krasteva, cello; Stuttgarter Philharmoniker; Bernd Ruf, conductor
2005 CD Heavenly Blue Fumio Yasuda, piano; Teodoro Anzellotti, accordion; Kammerorchester Basel; Bernd Ruf, conductor
2006 DVD Best of Tango Five Tango Five
2006 CD Las Vegas Rhapsody Theo Bleckmann, vocals; Kammerorchester Basel; Bernd Ruf, conductor
2007 DVD Pur & Friends - Live Auf Schalke 2007 Pur; Christina Stürmer; John Miles; GermanPops Orchestra; Bernd Ruf, conductor
2007 CD Change of Pace Barbara Dennerlein, organ; Peter Lehel, saxophone; Daniel Messina, drums; Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz; Bernd Ruf, conductor
2007 CD Anna Margareta - Das Buxtehude-Musical Lübeck Academy of Music ensemble, band and orchestra; Bernd Ruf, conductor
2008 CD Musik in Deutschland 1950-2000,
Neue Musik im Jazz
Richie Beirach, piano; Gregor Hübner, violin; Philharmonia Virtuosi New York, Bernd Ruf, conductor
2009 CD Schweitzer - Soundtrack Staatskapelle Halle; Bernd Ruf, conductor
2010 CD Tango Tales – para vos y para mÍ Raul Jaurena, bandoneon; Bernd Ruf, clarinet
2010 CD African Symphony – Teme Patrick Bebey, African instruments and voices; Antje Birnbaum, recitation; Bernd Ruf, conductor and saxophone; GermanPops Orchestra
2011 CD Klaus Doldinger Symphonic Project Klaus Doldinger; Passport; Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz; Bernd Ruf, conductor

See also[edit]


  • Ruf, Bernd. Miss Saigon in Lübbes Musical-Führer, Bergisch-Gladbach, Bastei-Verlag Gustav H. Lübbe GmbH & Co., May 1998.
  • Ruf, Bernd. Phantom of the Opera in Die Musikstunde 9/10, Frankfurt am Main, Verlag Moritz Diesterweg GmbH & Co., 1997.
  • Ruf, Bernd. Phantom of the Opera in Musik und Unterricht, Seelze, Friedrich Verlag GmbH& Co., magazine no. 30, January 1995.
  • Tango Five. Württembergische Landesbibliothek 2005, ISBN 3-88282-061-6


External links[edit]