Sebastian Ruth

Visiting Lecturer in Community Engagement


Sebastian Ruth is the Founder and Artistic Director of Community MusicWorks, a nationally-recognized organization that connects professional musicians with urban youth and families in Providence, Rhode Island. Community MusicWorks has been called a “revolutionary organization” (The New Yorker) that builds cohesive urban community—through music education and performance—that transforms the lives of children, families, and musicians in underserved urban neighborhoods of Providence, RI. CMW’s programming includes a full season of chamber music performances and commissions by its twelve musicians in residence and guest artists; a free, robust music education program for 125 neighborhood young people; workshops, student concerts, and community dinners that involve families and the wider community; and fellowships and training programs that prepare a next generation of musicians to pursue socially-engaged music making. As an active performing violinist and violist, Sebastian has performed in recent seasons in Providence, Boston, Los Angeles, Banff, and New York. Sebastian has collaborated with the Borromeo, Kronos, Muir, Miro, Orion, and Turtle Island String Quartets; pianist Jonathan Biss, violist Kim Kashkashian, oboist Frank Rosenwein, and violinist Jonathan Gandelsman of the Silk Road Project. Sebastian graduated from Brown University in 1997, where he worked closely with education scholars Theodore Sizer, Mary Ann Clark, and Reginald Archambault on a project exploring the relationship between moral education and music, and with members of the Charleston String Quartet in Brown’s chamber music program. Influential music teachers have included Michele Auclair, Lois Finkel, Pamela Gearhart, Kim Kashkashian, Eric Rosenblith, Rolfe Sokol, and Mela Tenenbaum. Since 2013, Sebastian has served as a Visiting Lecturer at the Yale School of Music, designing and teaching courses on the connection between music and civil society. Sebastian serves on the advisory boards of the Sphinx Organization and of Music Haven, a non-profit organization in New Haven, Connecticut modeled after Community MusicWorks. In 2010, Sebastian visited the White House to receive the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from First Lady Michelle Obama on behalf of Community MusicWorks. In 2012, Sebastian received an honorary doctorate in music from Brown University, and was named by Strings Magazine as among the 25 most influential people in the string music world. Sebastian is a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for “creating rewarding musical experiences for often-forgotten populations and forging a new, multifaceted role beyond the concert hall for the twenty-first-century musician.”

Courses - English