When Ruth Reinhardt was 6 years old, she took up the violin — simply because her older sister had. “Doesn’t the younger one always want to do exactly what the older one does?” she says.
But Reinhardt’s classical music endeavors didn’t end there. In her hometown of Saarbrücken, Germany, she sang in the opera house at age 9, and she composed and conducted a children’s opera at 17. Her undergrad education took her to Switzerland’s Zurich University of the Arts before she moved to New York City to obtain her Masters of Music in conducting at The Juilliard School.
Appointed last year as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s assistant conductor after serving as conducting fellow during the Seattle Symphony’s 2015/2016 season, Reinhardt’s résumé brims with accomplishments, and her musical prowess is nothing short of impressive.
“The most important thing as a conductor,” she says, “is that you have to want it. People will give you a million reasons why you shouldn’t. Another necessary skill is being able to work well with people because such a big part of what we do is coaching musicians, and making them perform at the highest level possible.”
Her position at the DSO is twofold: conducting all youth concerts and others as assigned, as well as assisting and filling in for music director Jaap van Zweden or guest conductors who can’t be there for an orchestral performance (which, although very rare, happened to Reinhardt once in November).
“Assisting Jaap is a real joy for me,” she says. “Talking to him about a piece of music, I learn so much, and the orchestra is phenomenally good.”
Reinhardt is also an associate conducting fellow of the Taki Concordia program founded by Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and one of Reinhardt’s greatest influences. “I also admire my teacher from Julliard, Alan Gilbert [music director of the New York Philharmonic],” she says. “And Christian Tetzlaff is a unique violinist I love.”
Although leaving the comforts of Europe for Texas was a significant move, especially for someone who enjoys winter activities (“I learned how to ski as soon as I could walk”), Reinhardt admits living in Dallas has been a welcome change. She’s found her favorite neighborhood in Deep Ellum, discovered barbecue at Lockhart Smokehouse, and has become “totally obsessed” with learning how to play golf.
And, for those wondering, she does still play the violin. “Unfortunately, I had to leave it back in Europe,” she says, “because it’s so difficult to get it on a flight.”
Tools of the Trade: Baton. Bold gestures. Sheet music. Passport.