MEET THE STAFF: Gabriel Langfur Rice, RI Philharmonic Orchestra Musician


Where did you grow up? I was born in Berkeley CA, moved to Lawrence NY on Long Island before grade school.

Favorite meal or restaurant? Surprise me.

Coffee or Tea? Hot coffee, iced tea.

What instrument do you play in the RI Philharmonic? Bass Trombone.

What inspired you to take up that instrument and how old were you when you started? I started on piano, then trumpet for elementary school band in 4th grade. I switched to trombone for the next year, dabbled in bass guitar (dabbling again after 30 years), and then switched to bass trombone when I got to college.

What’s your favorite composition for that instrument? The best thing about the bass trombone is its function in ensembles, so my favorite things to play don’t necessarily feature the bass trombone. One of my favorite pieces to play is Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale – which can also be played on tenor trombone, but I think sounds better on bass.

How long have you been playing in the RI Philharmonic? 25 years.

What is the best performance you’ve ever heard? Hard to say, but I was deeply inspired when I was in high school by going to an open rehearsal of the NY Philharmonic with Leonard Bernstein conducting Mahler’s Second Symphony.

What do you want people to know about the RI Philharmonic Orchestra? I have had the opportunity to travel around the country subbing with other orchestras, many of which pay salaries to their musicians. The RI Philharmonic is better than any other orchestra I’ve played with except the Boston Symphony.

How are you keeping yourself occupied while being at home all day? I’ve been doing some teaching online. I’m practicing, but honestly not a lot. I’m doing the bass guitar dabbling I mentioned above. I’m a full-blown Facebook addict. I read the news as much as I can stand. I’m trying to become a better citizen and ally to people of color and others who need courage and support.

You’re stuck on a desert island… what book, music/album/artist and movie do you want with you? I can’t say I have a favorite book. One I’ve read several times is Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude. Likewise music – can’t pick just one. It’s a tough call between Led Zeppelin and Bach. I do have a favorite movie that I recommend everybody look up; it’s called Crazy People.

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