Colleen C. Ruddy
Musician & Teacher of the Visually Impaired
Colleen is a versatile musician and Teacher of the Visually Impaired based in New York City. She brings a refined and knowledgable approach to all of her performances and teaching opportunities. Her background in musical performance, education, and community service has evolved into a passion for helping people of all abilities, especially children and adults with blindness or vision loss in a multitude of ways.
Originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania, Colleen's career began with an interest in film, pop and classical music at a young age. She was inspired to start playing the upright bass in fifth grade when she realized that she could play the theme from Jaws. During high school and college, Colleen continued to learn and refine a broad range of musical abilities. Her classical training has been shaped by her private teachers, the Principal Bassists of the Boston and Pittsburgh Symphonies, Edwin Barker and Jeffrey Turner. Colleen discovered her passion for working with people who are blind or visually impaired in 2014 while volunteering at the Blind Service Association in Chicago.
She has performed live with the Eagles, The Who, Game of Thrones in Concert, Andrea Bocelli, appeared as an electric bassist on NBC's The Voice, toured with Simon Cowell's pop opera group, 'Il Divo', Star Wars In Concert and the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin. She has had the opportunity to perform as principal bassist with two video game orchestras, Kingdom Hearts in Concert's 2018 U.S. tour and also Metal Gear Solid live in NY. Colleen has had the privilege of performing in venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Library of Congress, Boston's Symphony Hall & Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre. Some of her other exciting projects include collaborating on a project for Dubstep DJ's Skrillex &12th Planet, successfully performing a live audition for Cirque du Soleil's finalist's pool on electric and upright bass, performing back-up vocals and bass with folk artists and rock bands around Hollywood, as well as on-camera appearances. She can be spotted in a commercial for Cirque du Soleil's casting division, an episode of MTV's Teen Wolf, NBC's 2013 TV pilot Brenda Forever and the 2012 motion picture, Atlas Shrugged II. She performs a variety of instruments at a professional level including upright bass, electric bass guitar, fretless electric bass guitar, as well as the electric stand-up bass. Colleen is continually expanding her abilities and interests. She enjoys playing the cello and singing as well.
As an active advocate for inclusivity, the arts & Vision education, Colleen's work in the entertainment industry is driven by a desire to teach and share her love for helping people with visual impairments and music with others. Her past teaching experience includes teaching for the Perkins School for the Blind and Carroll Center for the Blind, guiding and mentoring students through institutions such as the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra's Intensive Community Program, Harvard University and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. In addition to degrees in music performance from Carnegie Mellon and Boston University, Colleen's training also includes completion of a Teacher of the Visually Impaired certification program, including a masters in education degree, through the University of Massachusetts at Boston's School for Global Inclusion and Social Development and a music education certification program from Carnegie Mellon University. She takes great pride in her and her students' work and feels privileged to actively cultivate learning opportunities for children and adults of all abilities in New York and nationwide on a daily basis.