Nancy Ruffer was born in Detroit and received a Master of Music degree from The University of Michigan. She received a Fullbright-Kays Scolarship in 1976 to study at the Royal Academy of Music, London, and she has remained in London working as a freelance flautist specialising in contemporary music. Composers who have written for her include Michael Finnissy, Chris Dench, John White, Christopher Fox, Ian Wilson and Graham Fitkin. In 1984 she was awarded the Kranichsteiner Prize for Performance at Darmstadt and she was elected an Associate of the R.A.M. Nancy Ruffer is principal flute of the ensembles MusicProjects/London, Matrix, Almeida Ensemble and Topologies as well as performing with ensembles of the Royal National Theatre.
In addition she records regularly for the BBC and performs in festivals and concert halls throughout Britain and abroad. In 1999 she toured Canada performing works by, among others, Ferneyhough and Dillon, and in 2002 she toured Georgia and Tennessee with pianist Helen Crayford, performing works by British and American composers.
Ms Ruffer was awarded the Kranichsteiner Prize for Performance at Darmstadt in 1984 and was appointed an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.