Elena Ruehr

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Elena Ruehr (born 1963, Ann Arbor) is an American musician, music educator and composer.

Life and career[edit]

Elena Ruehr's parents were a mathematician and an English professor.[1] She grew up in Houghton, Michigan and began piano lessons at age four. She studied composition at the University of Michigan with William Bolcom and at The Juilliard School with Vincent Persichetti and Bernard Rands.[2] She also studied dance and has performed with Javanese and West African ensembles. In 1991 Ruehr took a teaching position at MIT.[3] Her compositions have been performed internationally and some have been recorded and available on media. Many of Ruehr's compositions involve setting poetry to music.[2][4]

Ruehr is married to Seward Rutkove and they have one daughter, Sophie.

Selected works[edit]

Ruehr has composed works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, solo instruments and vocals.

  • Ladder to the Moon (2003) for orchestra
  • Toussaint Before the Spirits (2003), opera
  • Cloud Atlas (2011), cello concerto[5]
  • Song of the Silkie (2000) for baritone, string quartet, text by Laura Harrington
  • Sky Above Clouds (1993) for orchestra
  • Bel Canto for string quartet[6]
  • Averno for choir[7]
  • It's About Time (2015) for chamber ensemble, commissioned by the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players


  • "SHIMMER" on Metamorphosen. Metamorphosen string orchestra, Scott Yoo conducting [8]
  • "TOUSSAINT BEFORE THE SPIRTS" Stephen Salters, Baritone and Opera Unlimited, Gil Rose, conducting [9]
  • “HOW SHE DANCED”: String Quartets of Elena Ruehr Performed by the Cypress String Quartet. Cypress Performing Arts Association.[10][11]
  • "JANE WANG CONSIDERS THE DRAGONFLY." Alexi Gonzales, Benjamin Seltzer, Sarah Brady, Heng-Jin Park, and Sarah Bob,[12] named for insect flight expert Z. Jane Wang
  • "AVERNO" Marguerite Krull, Stephen Salters, The Trinity Choir, Novus NY, and Julian Wachner, conducting [13]
  • "O'KEEFFE IMAGES" Jennifer Kloetzel, Cello, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Gil Rose, conducting.[14]
  • "LIFT" Irina Muresanu, violin Ethan Filner, viola Jennifer Kloetzel, cello Sarah Bob, piano [15]
  • "SIX STRING QUARTETS" Cypress and Borremeo String Quartets with baritone Stephen Salters [16]
  • "FRESH PAINT” Radius Ensemble performance of Quetzal Garden [17]


  1. ^ "Elena Ruehr". Kathryn King Media. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  2. ^ a b "PN Review Online Poetry Literary Magazine – Words and Music: A Conversation with Elena Ruehr – Reena Sastri – PN Review 211". Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Elena Ruehr". Last FM. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  4. ^ "New York Times review of Elena Ruehr's music". Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Review: Cellist Jennifer Kloetzel shines in premiere by Elena Ruehr at San Jose Chamber Orchestra". 10 January 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  6. ^ "Review: Cypress Quartet unveils new 'Bel Canto' by Elena Ruehr". InsideBayArea.com. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  7. ^ Anne Midgette (4 April 2011). "Music review: Washington Chorus features Elena Ruehr in its 'New Music' series". Washington Post. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  8. ^ "Albany Records: American Works for Chamber Orchestra". Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  9. ^ "ARSIS Audio: CD158". Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  10. ^ Muse, Phil. “HOW SHE DANCED String Quartets of Elena Ruehr“. CD Review. Sequenzia 21, 1 February 2010.
  11. ^ "How She Danced – String Quartets of ELENA RUEHR – Cypress String Quartet – Cypress String Quartet Performing Arts Association". Audiophile Audition. Archived from the original on 2 March 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  12. ^ "Albany Records: Jane Wang Considers the Dragonfly". Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  13. ^ "Averno". Avie Records. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  14. ^ "Elena Ruehr: O'Keeffe Images". Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  15. ^ "Lift: Chamber Music by Elena Ruehr". Avie Records. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  16. ^ "Six String Quartets by Elena Ruehr". Avie Records. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  17. ^ "Fresh Paint, Radius Ensemble". Retrieved 14 January 2019.

External links[edit]