Ruth Naomi Floyd
"Floyd's voice highlights not only her superb dynamic control, flexibility and faultless diction, but also her most important asset: an unmistakable emotional integrity that conveys her music's power.”
~ The Times London
A vocalist and composer for over 20 years, Ruth Naomi Floyd has dedicated a discography explicitly dedicated to a sacred jazz expression. She leads her own multi-faceted ensemble and her recordings consist primarily of original compositions. Blessed with a soaring mezzo-soprano voice, critics praise Ruth’s music for its distinctive sound of progressive ensemble jazz that is seamlessly blended with messages of hope, faith, redemption, and love.
A committed music educator, Ruth is Director of Jazz Studies at Cairn University, Langhorne, Pennsylvania and an Adjunct and Artist in Residence at Temple University. She also teaches music at The City School in Philadelphia. Rooted and grounded in a faith ethos, Ruth has been a presence and worker in areas of the arts and social justice throughout her career. She wholeheartedly believes that it is the duty of the artist to be the truth-teller of society and to speak against injustice. Holding these themes in poetic tension within her body of creative work, Ruth has lectured prolifically on the intersection of beauty, theology, justice, culture and the arts at numerous universities, seminaries, conferences, and academic settings around the world.
Ruth’s recent compositions include, “Freedom” which premiered in April 2018 in Wales, United Kingdom. Commissioned in honor of human rights activist, Mende Nazer’s profound story of survival as a slave in Sudan and London. The Frederick Douglass Jazz Works is Ruth’s new body of compositions for jazz septet, based on the speeches and writings of the great leading orator, abolitionist, writer, publisher, and statesman. In the centennial year of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, the Mann Music Center, in partnership with NEWorks Productions commissioned Ruth as one of four composers to create a community mass inspired by Bernstein’s MASS, that explores anew the relevance of faith in our times.
Ruth’s artistic work has been published in periodicals and articles; in addition, she contributed a chapter in two books: “It Was Good: Making Music to The Glory of God,” edited by Ned Bustard, Square Halo Books; and “The Problem of Good,” edited by D. Marion Clark, R&R Publishing.
Ruth continues to make the city of Philadelphia her home where for over twenty-five years she has been devoted and active in providing compassionate care and spiritual support to people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS in United States and Africa.