Viola profile: Ruth Gibson

Posted on: February 12, 2021 in: Comment & Media>Player profiles

In our second Viola profile, Ruth Gibson (Sub-Principal Viola) shares her greatest memories at City of London Sinfonia (CLS) so far and talks about the excitement of creating music in a variety of ways, ensembles and settings.

What inspired you to start playing the viola?

I started with the violin, but my teacher thought it would be good idea to start learning the viola too at about 11-years-old. I distinctly remember her telling me, “you have broad shoulders – you should play viola”. My mother very patiently helped me learn the new [alto] clef over the summer and as time went on, the viola overtook the violin.

Tell us about your time at CLS.

I joined CLS in the summer of 2017. I would have to say my favourite CLS memory is the Japan 2017 tour. It was just the most fun and heart-warming tour I had ever done. I was on trial so I didn’t know many players before I went, but everything about the tour was so positive: the people, the music, the incredible places we got to visit, the food. It honestly felt more like a holiday with friends! I really hope we can go back some time in the not too distant future.

I love the variety at CLS. It is rare to be able to work with different colleagues and musicians each and every time you come to work. I really enjoy the learning and participation work, especially at Bethlem and Maudsley Hospital School. It has been great to be part of something that is constantly developing and looking for more ways to connect and empower people through music. Having said that, the chamber music and being altogether for the Haydn ‘London’ Symphony in November was really uplifting and fun.

What else to you get up to?

I am a member of a few other groups: Aurora Orchestra, Ensemble 360 and Manchester Collective. They all take very different approaches and I love the intensity of them all. Being able to work with lots of different musicians makes the learning process very interesting. It’s always scary to be thrown in the deep end, but it’s exciting and freeing to learn as many different ways as possible to listen and create music. I think most organisations are experimenting with ways to present themselves and wanting to challenge expectations of the performers and audiences these days. I love playing the endless amount of music on offer, from baroque to contemporary, but I think that is only a starting point. My favourite musical experiences are always when I am on the edge of feeling like I am completely out of my depth.

I got into yoga about six years ago and then went on to train as a yoga teacher in 2018 and have really enjoyed teaching more and more over lockdown. I live in the Peak District and love setting out for long walks, no matter the weather. I enjoy dancing and even though I am not very good, I love cooking and baking and doodling/sketching/painting. Most of the time I’m just trying to find as many opportunities as possible to see friends. Hopefully 2021 will bring more opportunities for that!

Ruth’s love of music and yoga shine in Mindful Music


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