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Elena Ruehr

How would you describe your music?

classical, written for orchestras and string quartets and other musicians who generally play Mozart, Beethoven, etc. Modernist from that point of view. (I was told you were looking for more responses from women in the classical music world).

What is your role in your band? In the studio? In business or marketing decisions?

I produce my records in conjunction with performing organizations like the Washington Chorus, or the Cypress Quartet, sometimes I manage all the fund raising and production myself, sometimes I work with groups. We receive government funds (like NEA) and private fundation funds, including university funding. I have recorded in large concert halls and sometimes Skywalker studio. I don't play in a "band", professional musicians play what I write.

Describe your gear.

Boston Baby grand piano, pencil, paper. mac.

Related Themes: Gear

Do you think being a woman and a musician is different from being a man and a musician? If so, how? Was there a moment that made a difference clear to you?

Yes. It is much harder to be recognized, but women are actually better musicians. Seriously. Also, classical music is unique in that orchestras hold "blind" auditions, where the players play behind a screen. Since that was instituted about 30 years ago, American professional orchestras have reached incredible integration, both in gender and race. In fact, businesses use the classical orchestral music world as an example for a better model for hiring decisions. Unfortunately, conductors and composers (who are like management in some ways) are far less likely to be women.

Related Themes: She's Got The Look

Do you see differences between generations of women musicians?

Yes. Fewer young women are going into classical composing, and are instead going into popular music. Those women who go into classical music and are younger than I am are more confident and less afraid of being seen as pushy. Women older than I am who are in the business have a tendency to be rewarded more for their administrative abilities than their musicianship.

Related Themes: Off The Clock

Did anyone ever give you any valuable advice about making your way in the music industry? What advice would you give to a woman musician just starting out?

Practice. Practice. Practice. Wait to deal with the business until you are really good. Then get better. Make friends with other musicians who like your music. Be prepared for rejection. The jobs you don't get don't matter, only the ones you do.

Related Themes: Advice

Why did you choose to play the instrument you play?

My parents had a piano and they both played.

Related Themes: The First Time