Ruth Waalkes, associate provost for the arts at Virginia Tech and executive director of the Moss Arts Center, was recently elected as a member of the board of directors for Chamber Music America, the national network for ensemble music professionals.

Waalkes joins other newly elected members Aloysia Friedmann, violinist/violist and artistic director of the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival; violinist and composer Jessie Montgomery; pianist and composer Michele Rosewoman; Kathie Lynne Stewart, principal flutist of Apollo’s Fire; and John Zion, managing director of Melvin Kaplan Inc.

Chamber Music America was founded in 1977 to develop, support, and strengthen the chamber music field. With a membership of nearly 6,000, including musicians, ensembles, presenters, artist managers, educators, music businesses, and advocates of ensemble music, the association’s members represent a wide range of musical styles and traditions.

The organization serves the national ensemble music community by providing access to many resources and benefits, including professional development seminars, grants and awards, and opportunities to connect with musicians, presenters, managers, and other chamber music professionals across the country.

Waalkes joined Virginia Tech in 2009 as executive director of the Moss Arts Center, where she leads the overall development, artistic programming, and operations of the center. In 2013 she was also named associate provost for the arts and is responsible for setting strategic direction and creating programmatic priorities for Arts@VirginiaTech, an initiative created to advance the integration of the arts across the university through classroom experiences, co-curricular opportunities, public engagement, and research endeavors that traverse traditional boundaries. 

Before coming to Virginia Tech, Waalkes was director of artistic initiatives for the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in College Park, Maryland, which she helped launch when it opened in 2001. At Clarice Smith, she was responsible for all artistic programming encompassing presented performances, residencies, campus and community engagement, and commissioning of new works. She built a significant national profile for the center.

Community engagement and the arts are the two dominant threads in Waalkes’ career, which began in locally focused nonprofit organizations before transitioning to university-based presenting. Past positions include serving as executive director of Volunteer Fairfax in Northern Virginia and director of programs for the Arts Council of Fairfax County.

Waalkes holds a bachelor’s degree in theatre and drama at the University of Michigan and has served as a grant review panelist for the Virginia Commission for the Arts, Creative Capital Foundation, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and has been a speaker at national conferences for such organizations as the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, the Alliance for Arts at Research Universities, and the Society of College and University Planners.

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