Praised for their “insightful, committed and masterful performances” (July 2019, Classics Today) and
their “fierce eloquence”( September 2019, The Times) the Black Oak Ensemble is establishing itself as one of the premier chamber ensembles in the United States.

The Black Oak Ensemble comprises GRAMMY - nominated violinist Desirée Ruhstrat and cellist David Cunliffe of the acclaimed Lincoln Trio and violist Aurélien Fort Pederzoli, a founding member of the ground-breaking GRAMMY-nominated Spektral Quartet.

Most recently, the Black Oak Ensemble was featured live from New York by The Violin Channel as well as an appearance on Sirius XM and performed to standing room only audiences throughout Europe in the Summer of 2019. The Trio performs regularly in recitals and festivals throughout the world. Highlights include appearances at the Ravinia Festival, Chicago Cultural Center, Art Institute of Chicago, Latino Music Festival, Mayne Stage, WFMT, Grand Rapids Museum of Art, Communauté Juive de Nancy, Le Festival du film Juif de Paris, Everlasting Hope festival in Theresienstadt, L’Alhambra in Vittel and a special performance in Corsica.

The project-based Black Oak Ensemble presents exciting programs from Bach to the music of today and has collaborated with musicians such as bandoneon player, Evan Orman, guitarists Goran Ivanovic and José Ferreira, harpsichordist Jory Vinikour, members of Eighth BlackBird and the Cavatina Duo.

A passionate advocate of new works it has commissioned and premiered string trios from renowned composers such as Michael Nyman, David Ludwig, Misha Zupko and Conrad Tao. In addition, they have discovered works by Dick Kattenburg and Geza Fríd.

This season, the ensemble’s debut album, SILENCED VOICES―a deeply personal program dedicated to mid-20th Century Jewish composers, most of whom lost their lives during the Holocaust―was released on Cedille Records and has been featured by Gramophone Magazine, Strings Magazine and BBC Radio 3.

Highlights of their upcoming season include performances throughout Europe, including appearances in Athens, Geneva, Grenoble, Lyon, Paris, Brussels, Rennes, and Yverdon.

Dedicated educators, Black Oak has held residencies at Eau Claire University, St. John's School for the Arts (USVI), Arizona State University, New Music School and Safford Arizona.

The Black Oak Ensemble put down roots in the south of France, creating Musique Dans Le Gers, a music festival that provides an opportunity to work with young artists and share their experiences and music with the community.

The Black Oak Ensemble currently serves as Ensemble-in-Residence at the New Music School in Chicago.

The ensemble is named for the black oak, a beautiful tree native to its home state of Illinois (one stands in the front yard of Desirée Ruhstrat and David Cunliffe’s house)