Ruth Waterman - signature
Ruth Waterman engages in a range of activities that draw on her work in music, art, writing, theatre, education and post-war peace-building. To contact her about any of these, please go to the Contact page. 
  • Talks for radio, television, charities, colleges, universities, conferences, festivals
  • Master classes, coaching, workshops (violin, chamber music, interpretation, baroque dance, writing)
  • Orchestral conducting (professional, amateur, youth orchestras)
  • The Sound of Peace, a full-length play (actor, playwright)
  • Writing (articles for journals, newspapers)
  • Encouraging the regeneration of music in post-war regions (conducting, teaching)
  • Creating cross-discipline performances (musical, literary, theatrical)
  • Art exhibitions
  • Poetry readings


As an interpreter and performer of great music, a writer of prose and poetry, a painter and photographer, and a witness to stories of war and survival, Ruth Waterman’s wealth of accomplishment and experience makes her an inspiring and moving speaker. Her talks induce both laughter and reflection as she opens up the possibility of enhanced engagement with the world we find ourselves in.

The following examples are suitable for many kinds of public events: for example, festivals, conferences, charities, universities, arts and social science organisations.

To reach the end of a concert or play with our emotions untouched is something we’ve all no doubt experienced. We expect great works of art to leave us feeling moved, enlivened, more whole. Musician and writer Ruth Waterman explores this alchemy through live examples of piano music and poetry.

Music builds bridges in many different ways. Violinist Ruth Waterman provides a glimpse into how exciting, and challenging, it can be to construct bridges to the great composers, and then to the listener. Equally exciting is how – through performing, coaching, conducting, writing and travelling – she has found herself creating connections within the wider world: between peoples and cultures, past and present, the intellect and the heart.

As a musician, wordsmith and painter, Ruth Waterman has had plenty of opportunity to puzzle over the similarities and differences between the three activities. How much overlap is there? What are the challenges of each? What is the relationship between interpretation and expression? And is there a way of describing the creative process?

How do we listen? The ability to hear starts before we are born, but the art of listening can blossom throughout our life. Violinist, educator and writer Ruth Waterman demonstrates through various examples how much there is to hear, and, as a result, how our responses deepen and our delights multiply. 

At the age of five, Ruth Waterman picked up a violin for the first time, a step that would lead to a richness of experience she could not have imagined. Her performing career took her not only to Carnegie Hall, but also to a welter of cultures across the globe, from the gold palaces of St Petersburg to the poverty of La Paz and the bombed ruins of Mostar. In this illustrated talk, she describes not only the trials and tribulations, and the hilarious moments, in the life of a concert violinist, but also reveals the process of preparing for a performance, and the unexpected connections made through music.

Violinist and conductor Ruth Waterman introduces the world of her book, When Swan Lake Comes to Sarajevo, selected by the Observer as a Book-of-the-Year, through photographs, recordings, and readings. Look at the ruins and the rebuilding, see the people she meets, listen to the voices of the Bosnians as they themselves tell their stories of how it is to live through war, and hear the music.

How does a performer tackle the formidable job of interpreting the great composers? Violinist Ruth Waterman has been grappling with that question during her many years of international performing. Focusing on the violin music of Bach, she will show how a performer must be somewhat of a chameleon.

The following talks about writing can be given to smaller groups of writers, and lovers of literature, to allow for informal discussion.

Ruth Waterman tackles the terror of the blank page by distilling the process of writing narrative non-fiction. Drawing on her book, When Swan Lake Comes to Sarajevo, an Observer Book-of-the-Year, she describes the decisions waiting to be made, and how to pull all the ingredients together.

Ruth Waterman explores how subject matter influences a poem’s tone, style and structure. By examining two of her own contrasting poems in detailed discussion with the group, she opens up multiple ways of writing and reading poetry.