A Book of the Year – The Observer UK
A prize-winner of the International Troubadour Poetry Prize
As a solo violinist, Ruth Waterman often wrote her own programme notes, including extensive booklet notes for her recordings of Bach, which outline her understanding and unique approach to the performance of Bach’s music. She has also written numerous articles for music journals.
During her international tours, she tended to keep a travel diary, simply to order her thoughts at the end of busy and eventful days. In time, some of these ended up providing material for a book, When Swan Lake Comes to Sarajevo, which was selected by The Observer UK as a Book-of-the-Year. It intersperses the story of her experiences in post-war Bosnia as guest conductor of a multi-ethnic orchestra, with first-hand accounts of war and its aftermath as told to her by the many Bosnians she met.
Ruth Waterman also writes poetry and has been published in several poetry magazines, winning a prize in the Troubadour International Poetry Prize competition. A few years ago she was invited to combine her writing with her work in the visual arts, in the form of a photographic essay on Bosnia consisting of poems, prose and photographs.
She has also combined her writing with music in a short performance commemorating victims of genocide at London’s Young Vic theatre.
She has spoken at many literary festivals and conferences, from Edinburgh to Johannesburg, including the venerable Shakespeare and Co in Paris, and has made numerous radio programmes about music and the art of listening both in the UK and the US. For BBC Radio 4 she wrote and presented the documentary Music and Memory in Mostar, and Deep Listening on the series Something Understood.
During the recent pandemic, Waterman served as editor and co-author for the medical group In My Own Bed Please. Her interest in theatre, music and the aftermath of war has led her to write a play, The Sound of Peace, which was workshopped at London’s National Theatre Studio and features live classical music.
See also General biography.