• Elliott Associate Professor of Fine Arts

    Brinkley Hall, 015
    (434) 223-6367



D.M.A., University of California, Santa Barbara, 2013
M.M., University of California, Santa Barbara, 2011
B.A., Harvard University, 2001


Dr. Helena von Rueden started teaching at Hampden-Sydney in 2014. She directs the Hampden-Sydney Chorus, and teaches a variety of music theory, musicology, and performance classes in the Fine Arts Department. She is the founder/director of a professional vocal octet, The Piedmont Singers of Central Virginia, and performs with this ensemble regularly around the State, including a recent performance of Pärt and Mendelssohn at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. A mezzo-soprano, her solo performance most often involves oratorio: recent engagements with the Central Virginia Masterworks Chorale and Winston-Salem Symphony include Handel's Messiah and Mozart's Requiem. Dr. von Rueden's research interests are in the area of programming, with a focus on music by women compsoers.  She has presented at a the National Collegiate Choral Organization's national conference (2018), and the American Choral Director’s Assocation national conference in 2021.  Dr. von Rueden also serves as Assistant Director of the Institute of Composer Diversity and is a National Board member of the National Collegiate Choral Organization.  At Hampden-Sydney, Dr. von Rueden directs the Hampden-Sydney Music Series, bringing classical music offerings to the college every year. She serves as faculty advisor to the Acousticals and serves on the Lectures & Programs Committee. Her academic degrees include a Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting, a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Bachelors degree in Biology from Harvard University. Visit her website at www.helenavonrueden.com.

Honors and Awards

Elliott Professorship
The Cabell Award

Performance and Professional Projects

Institute of Composer Diversity, Assistant Director
Piedmont Singers of Central Virginia, Founder/Director
National Collegiate Choral Organization, Board Member
Schola Cantorum, Richmond Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, singer
Central Virginia Masterworks Chorale, guest soloist


Theory and Practice of Choral Music (HSC Chorus)
Theory and Practice of Chamber Instrumental Music (HSC Chamber Ensemble)
Fundamentals of Music Theory and Composition
Piano I/II
Introduction to Classical Music
American Music History
Music and Social Change
Choral Conducting
Group Behavior and Leadership through Music


Research Interests and potential topics for students

  • Examining trends in the programming of choral music by composers from marginalized groups. I’d like to expand the analysis I’ve done which has focused on collegiate choral programming to include trends among professional and community choruses
  • Creation of public research tools through my affiliation with the Institute of Composer Diversity that aid choral directors in finding repertoire by women, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA2s+ composers, as well as resources on performance practice
  • Further developing my research on the use of metaphor as a communication tool by leaders of choral ensembles in the rehearsal setting.