Author of an Observer Book of the Year 2012, Ruth Waterman talked movingly about her experiences of working with musicians in Bosnia in the aftermath of war on a visit to the group this week.
‘When Swan Lake Comes to Sarajevo’ is Ruth‘s account of her visits to the country between 2002 and 2006 as guest conductor of the remarkable, multi-ethnic Mostar Sinfonietta.
The book weaves together Ruth‘s diary entries with first hand accounts of the musicians’ own war experiences. In it she describes how she begins to understand the ‘nuts and bolts of how a village can be split, how neighbours can become enemies, how people can be broken, how a society can be torn apart.
It’s so easy. It would work anywhere. You only need a handful of killers, let out of prison for the purpose, to start the ball rolling. It would gather speed of its own accord.’
Ruth is listed in the latest edition of ‘The Great Violinists’. Her concerts have taken her from Carnegie Hall to St Petersburg’s Hermitage and her first visit to Mostar was described in a documentary she presented on BBC Radio Four. She is also a poet and a painter.
It was a fascinating talk and a great honour to welcome her to the group.