Upcoming Concerts

Previous events

A musical exploration of the famous Marian pilgrimage site in Walsingham, England, featuring James Ruff, tenor and Early Gaelic Harp in ballads, poems and music of the three periods of importance to the site: Medieval pilgrimage, Tudor destruction and lamentation, 20th century restoration. A singular journey of devotion...

I was supposed to head to Walsingham itself on March 15th, 2020 when Covid stopped us all in our tracks. Though I still plan to visit someday in person, this concert is a virtual pilgrimage of sorts for me.

One of the earliest Marian shrines, according to legend, Walsingham was founded in 1061, where Mary appeared to a noble Saxon woman asking her to build a replica of the Holy House in Nazareth. It subsequently became a beloved and important center for pilgrimage in England - second only to Canterbury. After some 500 years welcoming pilgrims, it proved a victim of Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries, passing into a haunted place of cultural memory. The shrine was restored almost 100 years ago by Anglican priest, Alfred Hope Patten.

In my concert, I'll be weaving stories of the shrine, its founding, flourishing, destruction and restitution, with music contemporary in time and place: medieval Marian sequences and antiphons, Middle English Marian devotional songs, as well as the remaining relics of the famous Elizabethan Walsingham Ballad - which even show up in Ophelia's mad scene in Hamlet - serving to enflesh and embody Walsingham's rich spiritual story in music and word...

A musical exploration of the famous Marian pilgrimage site in Walsingham, England, featuring James Ruff, tenor and Early Gaelic Harp in ballads, poems and music of the three periods of importance to the site: Medieval pilgrimage, Tudor destruction and lamentation, 20th century restoration. A singular journey of devotion...

I was supposed to head to Walsingham itself on March 15th, 2020 when Covid stopped us all in our tracks. Though I still plan to visit someday in person, this concert is a virtual pilgrimage of sorts for me.

One of the earliest Marian shrines, according to legend, Walsingham was founded in 1061, where Mary appeared to a noble Saxon woman asking her to build a replica of the Holy House in Nazareth. It subsequently became a beloved and important center for pilgrimage in England - second only to Canterbury. After some 500 years welcoming pilgrims, it proved a victim of Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries, passing into a haunted place of cultural memory. The shrine was restored almost 100 years ago by Anglican priest, Alfred Hope Patten.

In my concert, I'll be weaving stories of the shrine, its founding, flourishing, destruction and restitution, with music contemporary in time and place: medieval Marian sequences and antiphons, Middle English Marian devotional songs, as well as the remaining relics of the famous Elizabethan Walsingham Ballad - which even show up in Ophelia's mad scene in Hamlet - serving to enflesh and embody Walsingham's rich spiritual story in music and word...

Tickets ($15) available via phone or email at Holy Cross Monastery: (845) 384-6660, guesthouse@hcmnet.org

The Cry of the Harp: A Harper's Tour of Scotland

 —  —

2021 BEMF Fringe Concert - Online Link

A collage of early music for harp and voice from Gaelic Scotland, recreating the 17th-century world of the historic harper-bards. Rarely heard intimate chamber pieces from a Hebridean harp manuscript, stately formal laments commemorating great clan chieftains, poetic and musical invocations of the famed Keppoch murders, and more. Come hear the evocative sound of the early Gaelic wire harp coupled brilliantly with the ancient beauty of Gaelic poetry.

As part of the 2021 Boston Early Music Festival Fringe, this virtual concert will premiere on June 15th at 9pm, and remain available on-demand until September 30, 2021. Click on the link above, where you can set your own reminder, and also view the online concert starting June 15th. I'll be online during the premiere, available via chat to answer questions!

Click the link at the bottom of this page to download a full program for this concert.

All 2021 BEMF Fringe concerts are free of charge. You will find a complete Fringe schedule and more information at: https://bemf.org/2021-festival/fringe-concerts/.

James Ruff, Tenor and Early Gaelic Harp, presents a collage of early music for harp and voice from Gaelic Scotland, recreating the 17th-century world of the historic harper-bards. Rarely heard intimate chamber pieces from a Hebridean harp manuscript, stately formal laments commemorating great clan chieftains, poetic and musical invocations of the famed Keppoch murders, and more. The evocative sound of the early Gaelic wire harp coupled brilliantly with the ancient beauty of Gaelic poetry...

Festive Irish Event in the elegant 18th century Elmendorph Inn in honor of St. Patrick's Day, featuring Christine Gummere, cello, James Ruff, tenor and early Irish harp, and Warren Kelder, actor. Early Irish songs and music as well as recitation, both raucous and serious. All funds raised will go toward Historic Red Hook (who runs the Elmendorph Inn).

James will help teach Gaelic Song at a 3pm workshop, then perform with the harp at the evening's Scottish Concert.  Details below!

 

From Warp and Weft to Waulking – in Gaelic Language and Song
3pm

For centuries, song has been an accompaniment to work and woven into the fabric of the culture. In this workshop you will learn some basic greetings and phrases in Scottish Gaelic and also be introduced to the process of weaving and waulking of cloth. Learn to sing along with the chorus of a Scottish waulking song with weaver and singer Caroline Bennett and harpist James Ruff. No singing voice is required!

 

A Classic Scottish Concert
9pm

The performers of the Mohonk Scottish Weekend are pleased to bring you a very exciting evening of entertainment featuring dance, songs, and music from Scotland from across the ages and across the world. This concert brings together the classic and the contemporary and is sure to have you tapping your toes to the great fiddle music, wanting to dance the jigs and reels, excited by the energetic Highland dancing, entranced by the beautiful melodies of Scottish and Gaelic song, and enjoying the great tunes of the Highland Bagpipe.

The concert is followed by Scottish country dancing (ceilidh dancing) in the Parlor with the Castle Point Scottish Country Dancers and Ellen Sears. Ceilidh dancing is for all levels of dancers and no experience is necessary!

See website for booking

Dec2

World AIDS Day Service

Old Dutch Church, Old Dutch Church - 272 Wall Street, Kingston, NY

James plays his Early Gaelic Harp as a prelude to the community World AIDS Day Service, as well as singing spirituals with the Vassar Chamber Singers during the service.

Nov24

Christ the King Sunday

Christ the King Episcopal Church, 3021 Route 213 East, Stone Ridge, NY

Special Celtic Service planned for the final service at Christ the King of the Rector, Alison Quin.  Includes Parish Choir led by Barbara Wild, Highland Piper Mike MacNintch, and James Ruff will sing the Seven Sorrows of Mary in Irish, self-accompanying on the Early Gaelic Harp!

Nov17

House of Strings: A Harper's Journey Through Scotland

Vassar College - Skinner Hall, 124 Raymond Ave., Poughkeepsie, NY

James Ruff, Tenor and Early Gaelic Harp, presents a collage of early music for harp and voice from Gaelic Scotland, recreating the 17th-century world of the historic harper-bards. Rarely heard intimate chamber pieces from a Hebridean harp manuscript, stately formal laments commemorating great clan chieftains, poetic and musical invocations of the famed Keppoch murders, and more. The evocative sound of the early Gaelic wire harp coupled brilliantly with the ancient beauty of Gaelic poetry...

free and open to the public

Aug18

All the Flowers of the Forest

Medieval Mile Museum, 2 St. Mary's Lane, Kilkenny

As part of the Scoil na gClairseach Festival of the Early Irish Harp, prize-winning Sarah Ghríallais (voice), Eibhlís Ní Riordáin (voice and harp), James Ruff (early irish Harp) in ancient music and song of the Gaelic word.

15 Euro

Jun20

An Afternoon Concert of Gaelic Music for Voice and Harp

Spring Fine Arts Music Series, Old Dutch Church - 272 Wall Street, Kingston, NY

A mid-day break concert of Irish and Scottish Gaelic music by James Ruff, Tenor and Early Gaelic Harp.

free and open to the public

May15

Music Before 1800 - 2019 Spring Benefit

The Kosciuszko Foundation, 15 East 65th Street, New York, NY

2019 Spring Benefit & Concert

honoring Drew Minter

Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 6:30 pm – 9 pm

at the Kosciuszko Foundation

15 East 65th Street

with a silent auction, raffle drawing, wine, hors d’oeuvres

and

a concert by James Ruff and Duo Marchand

 

For more information, please call 
212 666 0675

  

Join the Benefit Committee

Your benefit donation is tax deductible, except for $20 for each person attending.

Apr19

Good Friday Service

Christ the King Episcopal Church, 3021 Route 213 East, Stone Ridge, NY

James will perform the traditional Lament of the Three Marys (Caoineadh Na dTri Muire), in Irish, accompanying himself on the Clarsach.  This haunting lament was traditionally sung in the home in Ireland on Fridays in Lent, daily during Holy Week and three times on Good Friday.  The text follows:

Lyrics: English Translation:     A Pheadair, a aspail, an bhfaca tú mo ghrá geal? Peter, the apostle, have you seen my bright love? Ochóne is ochóne ó Alas and alack Chonaic mé ar ball é i láthair a namhad I saw him a while ago in the midst of his enemies Ochóne is ochóne ó Alas and alack     Gabhaigi i leith, a dha Mhuire, go gcaoine sibh mo ghrá geal Come to me, you two Marys, and keen with me Ochóne is ochóne ó Alas and alack Ceard atá le caoineadh ágainn mura gcaoinimid a chriámha? What have we to keen without his bones? Ochóne is ochóne ó Alas and alack     An é sin an maicin a hoileadh in ucht Mháire? Is that my child who I weened in my arms and nourished? Ochóne is ochóne ó Alas and alack Éist, a mháithrin, is na bí cráite Listen, little mother, do not be sorrowful Ochóne is ochóne ó Alas and alack     A Leinbh, is mór é tualach is léig cuid de ar do Mháthair My love, big is your burden, let your mother help you carry it Ochóne is ochóne ó Alas and alack Iompruíodh gach éinne a chrosa, a Mháithrin Little mother, we each must carry our own cross Ochóne is ochóne ó

Apr13

Benefit Concert & CD Release: The Gaels' Honour

Christ the King Episcopal Church, 3021 Route 213 East, Stone Ridge, NY

James Ruff presents music from his recently released CD:  The Gaels' Honour.

Pipe marches to stir the soul, noble laments that bring a tear to the eye, love songs to warm the heart, and stormy politics of 17th and 18th century Scotland and Ireland – James Ruff lends his voice to rare early Celtic music of the Gaelic world, sung in Scottish Gaelic and Irish, and accompanying himself on the wire-strung Clàrsach, whose bell-like tones rang through the great halls of the Gaelic clan chieftans.  Music of the great harpers:  O’Carolan, the Connellans’, Ruaraidh Dall, Denis Hempson, Hugh Higgins, and drawn from the Bunting, Neal, Forde and Straloch manuscripts.

All proceeds from the concert will benefit Christ the King Episcopal Church.  Copies of the CD will be available for purchase at $15.

free will donation

Jan27

Scottish Weekend: The Cry of the Harp, Gaelic Music Traditions in Scotland

Mohonk Mountain House, 1000 Mountain Rest Road, New Paltz, NY

As part of the Mohonk Mountain House's Scottish Weekend, James will present the following workshop:

 

The Cry of the Harp: Gaelic Music Traditions in Scotland

Prize-winning singer and harper James Ruff will lead you on a journey through the historic music traditions of Gaelic Scotland focusing on the lore of the Gaelic harp and its historic links to the pipes and Gaelic poetry. James will perform and discuss traditional work songs, love songs, pipe songs, harp songs and mouth music – including selections from his new CD: The Gaels’ Honour.

 

James will also be performing for the Classic Scottish Concert at 9pm.

(see Mohonk website)

Nov18

An afternoon of Gaelic Music with James Ruff

Farmstead Arts Center, 450 King George Road, Basking Ridge, NJ

$15 General Admission advance purchase $20 General Admission at the door $10 Students, seniors and Farmstead members, in advance or at the door

Nov2

The Gaels’ Honour: Early Music for Voice and Harp from Gaelic Scotland and Ireland

St. Paul's School, 325 Pleasant Street, Concord, NH

Pipe marches to stir the soul, noble laments that bring a tear to the eye, love songs to warm the heart, and stormy politics of 17th and 18th century Scotland and Ireland – James Ruff lends his voice to rare early Celtic music of the Gaelic world, sung in Scottish Gaelic and Irish, and accompanying himself on the wire-strung Clàrsach, whose bell-like tones rang through the great halls of the Gaelic clan chieftans.  Music of the great harpers:  O’Carolan, the Connellans’, Ruaraidh Dall, Denis Hempson, Hugh Higgins, and drawn from the Bunting, Neal, Forde and Straloch manuscripts. 

Aug1

Summer Evening Concert

Scoil na gClairseach - Festival of the Early Irish Harp, Coláiste Pobail Osraí - Ormonde Road, Kilkenny

James Ruff plays a concert of evocative Irish and Scottish repertoire for the Early Irish Harp, as part of the Scoil na gClairseach - Festival of the Early Irish Harp.  

10 Euro

Jun24

Conference Talk: Tracing Gaelic Tunes

Historical Harp Society 2018 Conference, Aaron Copland School of Music - Queens College - 65-30 Kissena Blvd., Queens, NY

James will give a talk on:

  • Tracing Gaelic Tunes: 
    Restoring Old Gaelic harp tunes to the Clarsach repertoire
    through the use of early manuscripts and publications,
    old harp techniques and the Gaelic language itself

He will also perform on the concert later that evening.

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Program Downloads

2021 BEMF Fringe Concert: Download Program Click here to download the full program for The Cry of the Harp - including Program list, Program Notes, Translations and Biography. 240 KB

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