An identical twin, Ruby Ashley grew up in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, England. At the age of ten Ruby decided to learn to play the oboe. At the age of twelve, she found making a television recording with the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra, (the other LSO) and Andre Previn, and then being awarded a scholarship to study with Janet Craxton were both “once in a lifetime” opportunities.
Ruby continued her studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, four years later she travelled to Germany on a German Government Scholarship, to study at the Nordwestdeutsche Musik-akademie. In 1981 Ruby was awarded a Rotary Club Scholarship to study with Ray Still in Chicago, USA. In 1982 Ruby attended Goldsmiths College, London University to undertake orchestral studies at the National Centre for Orchestral Studies gaining the Diploma in Orchestral Studies in 1983.
Her first appointment was as Principal Oboe with the Deutsche Bachsoloisten Orchester.
Ruby came to Ireland in 1983. She worked as Principal Cor Anglais with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and Principal oboe with the Irish Chamber Orchestra.
Now recognised as the foremost teacher of oboe in Ireland, Ruby’s pupils excel in national competitions. Many past pupils are now working as professional players. Ruby also enjoys a solo career which has seen broadcasts and performances of concertos by Richard Strauss, Donizetti (cor anglais), J S Bach (oboe and oboe d’amore concertos), Hummel and Goossens.
As a founder member of the Degani Ensemble, Ruby has recorded and performed most of the major chamber music repertoire for oboe and strings. In the mid eighties the Degani Ensemble undertook a recording project for RTÉ recording oboe quartets The Degani Ensemble has been touring Ireland since September 2009 with Cara O’Sullivan for the Music Network and has recently signed a contract for a further three years. They are developing the repertoire for this combination and many new arrangements, and new compositions, are being written for them by well known Irish composers/arrangers.
Ruby plays oboe/cor anglais with the Wexford Festival Opera Orchestra and the Irish Film Orchestra, and is Principal Oboe with the Glasthule Opera Orchestra. She also freelances as principal oboe in the RTENSO, RTECO, Orchestra of Saint Cecilia and the Irish Chamber Orchestra. As a member of Concorde, Ireland’s foremost contemporary music ensemble, Ruby has participated in many important premieres of Irish music.
Commercial recordings to date include Bach Cantatas with the Orchestra of St.Cecilia. a contemporary CD of the music of Grainne Mulvey and Deirdre Gribbin and Contemporary Music from Ireland volume Two. On this last CD Ruby plays the oboe d’amore. The ‘Love Sonata’, was written for her by Paul Hayes. In 2010 Ruby joined the band ‘The Waterboys’ in a run of their new show,’ An Appointment with Mr Yeats’ which opened in March 2010 at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.
Ruby completed her Masters Degree in music in 2008, her specialist study was oboe reeds. Her reed making classes are of great benefit to all her students and her reeds are in high demand!
In 2010 Ruby travelled to the Conservatoire Perugia, Italy, to give oboe master classes, (and reed-making classes), returning in June 2011. Due to popular demand another invitation has been made for later this year ( 2011) or early 2012. Ruby Gave oboe masterclasses in Malaga, May 2012, and will be returning in 2013.
Ruby is a lecturer of the oboe and member of the wind faculty of the Royal Irish Academy of Music and Head of Music at Aravon School.