The violin artistry of Desirée Ruhstrat has captivated audiences throughout Europe and the Americas. The Berlin Taggespiegel wrote, "...she played with such an intensive fire and sleepwalking assuredness that she was stormily celebrated by the audience." Ms. Ruhstrat is renown for her versatility as a soloist, Chamber musician and teacher.
Since her debut at age 12 with Lukas Foss and the Milwaukee Symphony, Ms. Ruhstrat has appeared as a soloist with orchestras throughout the world, including the Berlin Radio Symphony, Radio Suisse Romande, Gottingen Symphony, Philharmonia Da Camera, Symphonica Auguescalientes Mexico, Colorado Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Concerto Soloists Of Philadelphia, Utah Symphony, Debut Orchestra of Los Angeles, National Repertory Orchestra and by special invitation of Sir George Solti in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall.
She has worked with such renowned conductors as Eric Kunzel, Max Rudolph, William Smith, Rico Saccani, Brian Priestman, JoAnn Falletta, Victoria Bond, Carl Topilow, Mats Liljefors among others. Ms. Ruhstrat has won numerous awards including first prize at the National Young Musicians Debut Competition in Los Angeles, where she was also lauded a special award for a young performer with extraordinary talent. She became the youngest prizewinner at Switzerland's Tibor Varga International Competition and also won the award for best interpretation of the commissioned contemporary composition. She went on to earn top prizes at the Carl Flesch, Julius Stulberg, and the Mozart Festival Violin Competitions.
Ms. Ruhstrat's distinguished career as a chamber musician includes performances throughout the US as a member of the GRAMMY nominated Lincoln Trio. Highlights include Carnegie Weil Hall, Lincoln Center, Ravinia Festival, Indianapolis Symphony Beethoven Series, Poisson Rouge and a tour of Colombia South America performing the Beethoven triple Concerto with the Filarmónica Joven de Colombia. She has also appeared as guest artist of the Chamber Music Series of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, Apollo Chamber Ensemble, the Colorado Chambers Players, Pacifica Quartet, the University of Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Northwestern University Midwinter Series with Jorge Federico Osorio and Ani Kavafian, as well as collaborations with Shmuel Ashkenasi, Ilya Kaler, Rachel Kolly d"Alba , Roberto Diaz and Roger Chase. Festival appearances include the Aspen Music Festival, Peninsula Music Festival, Laurel Festival of the Arts, the Breckenridge Music Festival, Green Lake, University Of Wisconsin, Utah Music Festival, ARIA International Summer Academy, Curtis Institute of Music Young Artist Program and the Heifetz Institute.
In addition to the Lincoln Trio in 2014 Ms. Ruhstrat founded the Black Oak Ensemble with cellist David Cunliffe and violist Aurélien Fort Pederzoli. Their debut album Silenced Voices, which included a world Premiere String Trio by Géza Frid on the Cedille label , garnered numerous accolades including Chicago Tribune's TOP 100 Recordings of 2019, FANFARE Magazine "want list" and New York's WQXR Top 100 Best Classical Recordings of 2019.
In addition the Black Oak Ensembles latest CD release Avant l'orage was nominated for a 2023 International Chamber Music Award.
A champion of new music Ms. Ruhstrat has worked with some of the worlds leading composers, Carl Orff, George Crumb, William Bolcom, Jennifer Higdon, Shulamit Ran, Augusta Read Thomas, Chen Yi, Zhou Long, Jonathan Bailey Holland and Laura Elise Schwendinger who composed a movement dedicated to Desirée in "Violinists In My Life."
Ms. Ruhstrat is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music. Her teachers have included Aaron Rosand, Joseph Gingold, Harold Wippler and Dorothy Delay. Her discography includes the Stamitz Duo for Violin and Viola for Centaur Records, the Ravel Duo for Violin and Cello for Albany Records, a 2013 GRAMMY nominated NAXOS release Annelies, based on the Diary of Anne Frank and multiple recordings with the Lincoln Trio and Black Oak Ensemble.
A passionate teacher, Ms. Ruhstrat's students are prize winners of national and international competitions and members of professional orchestras worldwide. Ms. Ruhstrat has been on Faculty at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, and currently is on the Violin Faculty and serves as the Strings Chamber Music Coordinator at Northwestern University Bienen School of Music. In 2014 Ms. Ruhstrat was awarded the American String Teachers Association Illinois Outstanding Studio Teacher Award.