Elena Ruehr says of her music “the idea is that the surface be simple, the structure complex.”
She has a major list of recordings including her orchestral works (O’Keeffe Images, BMOP Sound) as well as the opera Toussaint Before the Spirits (Arsis Records), her cantatas Averno (with the Trinity Choir, Julian Wachner, Avie), and her Six String Quartets (the Cypress String Quartet, Borromeo Quartet and Stephen Salters, Avie). Her other recordings include Icarus (Avie), Jane Wang considers the Dragonfly (Albany), Lift (Avie), Shimmer (Metamorphosen Chamber Ensemble on Albany) and Shadow Light (The New Orchestra of Washington with Marcus Thompson, Acis), as well as many others.
Her works have been commissioned and performed by numerous string quartets, including the Arneis, Biava, Borromeo, Cypress, Delgani, Lark, Quartet Nouveau, Roco and Shanghai string quartets. An award winning faculty member at MIT, she has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute and composer-in-residence with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Known for her vocal music and collaboration with poets, she has written four operas, four cantatas and a number of songs. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the Juilliard School, and has also written extensively for chamber ensemble, orchestra, chorus, wind ensemble, instrumental solo, opera, dance and silent film. Currently she is writing an opera for Guerilla Opera. Her work has been described as “sumptuously scored and full of soaring melodies” (The New York Times), and “unspeakably gorgeous” (Gramophone).
Dr. Ruehr has taught at MIT since 1992 and lives in Boston with her husband and daughter.