Alongside her rich and diverse career as a concert cellist and teacher, Ruth is internationally sought after as a performance coach and meditation teacher, helping people who suffer from tension, stage fright or lack of focus overcome the physical and mental strains of the music profession. In addition to her certification as a Mindfulness Meditation teacher , Ruth is also a trained therapist, holding a Masters’ degree in Voice Movement Therapy. She has been attending yoga classes with Peter Blackaby for the past 30 years, and has completed three modules of the Non-Violent-Communication training. Her interest in the natural functioning of the body has inspired her to work closely with Alexander Technique, Qi Gong, Body Mapping and Feldenkrais practictioners, and her musical experience includes not only classical music but folk, Indian and African traditions.
Over the last ten years Ruth has given Breathing Bow and mindfulness workshops in California, France and the UK, at the Royal Northern College of Music, with members of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Glasgow Conservatoire, the European String Teachers’ Association and the London Cello Society. In 2022 and 2023 she was invited by the Verbier festival to be the resident mindfulness coach, working with the youth orchestra, Festival orchestra and young soloists from the Academy. Ruth taught on the online platform for musicians’ well-being, The Exhale, for three years and her clients include students and graduates from Stony Brook University, Julliard School, Royal Academy of Music, Paris Conservatoire, Royal Northern College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music, members of the Marmen quartet, and the Hallé, Oakland Symphony, San Fransisco Opera, Liverpool Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestras.
Ruth studied the cello with Johannes Goritzki and Timothy Eddy, gaining her Masters’ degree from Stony Brook University. Her mindfulness training is through the Mindfulness and Meditation Teacher Certification program run by the Awareness Training Institute and the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley, and her teachers are two of the leading mindfulness teachers in the West, Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield. Over her forty-year International career as an orchestral, opera and chamber musician, she played regularly with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Concert d’Astree, Glyndebourne and Garsington Operas and The Musiciens du Louvre. She was guest principal of Les Siecles in 2019. With her string trio, Trio Mythos, she collaborates with the folk duo, Brothers Gillespie and Occitane polyphonic trio, Tant Que Li Siam, and was invited by the Alliance Française to perform in a six city tour of India in duo with the Indian cellist, Saskia Rao.
Ruth’s articles on stage fright, music, mindfulness and yoga have appeared in the Strad, BBC Music Magazine, Classical Music Magazine, Paul Katz' CelloBello blog, The London Cello Society newsletter and the European String Teachers’ Association magazine, ARCO. She has appeared on the Music Mind and Movement and the Thoroughly Good Classical Music podcasts. Her memoir, Cherries from Chauvet’s Orchard, was shortlisted for the Guardian Women’s Memoir award.
Ruth lives with her husband, the painter Julian Merrow Smith, and their adopted son Louis in a small Provencal hamlet at the foot of the Mont Ventoux. She loves walking in nature, swimming, a bit too much Côtes du Rhône and a good massage.