Merit School of Music

Desirée Ruhstrat

Faculty: Chamber Music



Desirée Ruhstrat’s distinguished career as a chamber musician includes performances throughout the US as a member of the Lincoln Trio, including Carnegie Weill Hall, Lincoln Center, Ravinia Festival, Indianapolis Symphony Beethoven Series, Poisson Rouge and Music In the Loft. She has also appeared as a 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 and Roberto Diaz. Festival appearances include the Aspen Music Festival, Peninsula Music Festival, Laurel Festival of the Arts, the Breckenridge Music Festival and the Green Lake, University Of Wisconsin, Utah Music Festival, ARIA International Summer Academy, Curtis Institute of Music Young Artist Program, where she has also served as faculty.

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 the Chicago Tribune‘s Top 100 Recordings of 2019, Fanfare magazine’s “want list” and New York’s WQXR Top 100 Best Classical Recordings of 2019. In addition, the Black Oak Ensemble has had several works written for them by composers Michael Nyman, David Serkin Ludwig, Conrad Tao, Larry Alexrod as well as a rescoring of Mischa Zupko’s Harpsichord Concerto with Jory Vinikour and collaborations with guitarists José Ferreira and Mak Grgic.

Ms. Ruhstrat is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music. 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 on the Cedille Label and a 2017 GRAMMY Nomination for Trios From Our Homelands.

A passionate teacher, Ms. Ruhstrat’s students are prizewinners 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 Bloomington and currently is on 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.