B i o g r a p h y

Christine Rutledge is a violist of varied talents and interests.  She began her life-long love of viola in the 3rd grade in the Detroit Public Schools and had the great fortune of studying with several of the world’s greatest teachers, including Karen Tuttle and Michael Tree at the Curtis Institute; William Preucil, Sr. at the University of Iowa; and David Holland at the Interlochen Arts Academy.


Rutledge is a devoted and passionate pedagogue.  Her teaching career began at the University of Notre Dame, where she was also a member of the critically acclaimed Notre Dame String Trio.  Since 1998 has taught at the University of Iowa, where she is Professor of Viola.  Her students have gone on to a variety of successful careers, including principal viola of the North Carolina and Columbus (Ohio) Symphony Orchestras; associate principal viola of the Toledo (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra; and viola sections in orchestras throughout the United States.  Many former students hold important teaching positions at schools and universities.  And many have gone on to successful careers in law, medicine, music therapy, library sciences, rock bands, and other creative fields. 


As a performer, Rutledge has held prominent positions as Assistant Principal Viola of the Louisville Orchestra; the Kentucky Center Chamber Players; the Ceruti Chamber Players; the New Opus Quartet; and the New Opus Trio (flute, viola, and guitar).  Her work with the Notre Dame String Trio includes three critically acclaimed CDs:  Hindemith String Trios and Duo for Viola and Cello; David Diamond Chamber Music for Strings and Piano (with Ralph Votapek); and Chamber Music of Ethan Haimo.  The trio performed throughout the United States.  Their recordings and performances have been critically hailed in publications including:  the New York Times; Fanfare; American Record Review; and New York Concert Review. 


A decade ago Rutledge became fascinated with baroque style and scholarship.  This led to studies of baroque viola with Stanley Ritchie, Robin Stowell, and Jane Starkman.  Rutledge has performed on baroque viola and lectured about baroque performance style and technique throughout the US and abroad, including South Africa and the United Kingdom.  She is currently completing a new performance edition for viola of Bach’s Six Suites for solo cello.  She first published an edition of the suites in 2007, but has since been conducting research involving manuscript comparison of the handwriting of J. S. Bach and Anna Magdalena Bach, which forms the basis of her new edition.  Rutledge founded Linnet Press Editions for Viola in 2007, which is devoted to scholarly-based performance editions and transcriptions of baroque works for viola.


Though passionate about the baroque repertoire, Rutledge is no stranger to music from all periods, especially contemporary music.  She is a frequent collaborator with the world-renowned Center for New Music at the University of Iowa, with whom she has made several commercial recordings, including Jeremy Dale Roberts’ Lines of Life.  Roberts composed Wieglied for solo viola for Rutledge, who gave the premiere.  She has also commissioned works from important American composers, including:  Claude Baker; Zae Munn; CP First; and David Gompper.


Rutledge enjoys a busy schedule of performing and lecturing throughout the world.  Her travels have taken her around the US and to countries including South Africa, Sweden, Poland, Germany, Iceland, England, and Scotland.  She has been a devoted member of the executive board of the American Viola Society for a total of 12 years.


Rutledge lives happily in Iowa City with her husband, Mark Russell, their son, Jake, and their dogs Tiree and Bert.  She is an avid knitter and jewelry maker, and enjoys traveling around the globe at any given opportunity.