Rhonda Rider

Professor of Cello

For media inquiries, please contact Media Relations

Rhonda Rider joined the Conservatory in 2002 as coordinator of chamber music and instructor of cello. She is currently professor of cello.

The Boston Globe describes Rhonda Rider as “a glorious cellist,” remarkable for her “extraordinarily expressive and inventive playing.”  A founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning Lydian String Quartet, with whom she played for over 20 years, Rider is a member of the Triple Helix Piano Trio. Her chamber music and solo recordings have been nominated for Grammy Awards and cited as critics' choice in both the New York Times and the Boston Globe. As a chamber musician, she has won prizes at the Banff, Evian, Fischoff, and Portsmouth competitions. As a soloist, she won the Concert Artists Guild award. Dedicated to the performance of new music, Rider has premiered and recorded works by such renowned composers as John Harbison, Lee Hyla, Yu-Hui Chang, and Elliott Carter.

Rider has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, Chamber Music America, and the American String Teachers Association. She has also adjudicated the Concert Artists Guild, Stulberg, and Fischoff competitions.

With an abiding interest in performing classical music out of the concert hall, Rider was named artist in residence at Grand Canyon National Park in 2010. Eleven pieces for solo cello were commissioned for her residency. The works were performed in 15 concerts across the United States and in Asia. More recently, she was named artist-in-residence at Petrified Forest National Park. Ten new solo cello pieces emerged from this project in 2017.

During the summer, Rider performs and teaches at festivals including Music from Salem, Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, Harvard Chamber Music Festival and the Asian Youth Orchestra in Hong Kong. Additionally, she holds the Cello Seminar dedicated to contemporary cello music in Salem, New York.

Rider was awarded the Hurlbutt Prize with a B.M. from Oberlin Conservatory. She holds a M.M. with the Haupt Award from Yale School of Music. Her teachers have included cellists Richard Kapuscinski, Aldo Parisot, and Zara Nelsova, violinists Robert Koff and Szymon Goldberg, and pianist Robert Levin.

Professional Awards and Recognitions

  • Best of Berklee Award (2018)
  • Artist-in-Residence at Grand Canyon National Park and Petrified Forest National Park (2010, 2015)
  • Artist of the Year, Boston Globe (Lydian Quartet and Triple Helix Piano Trio)
  • Grammy Award nominations (1990s)
  • Naumburg Chamber Music Award (1984)
  • Concert Artists Guild award (1980)

Recent Notable Engagements

  • Various masterclasses in China, Brazil, Hong Kong, and New York (2020)
  • The Celebrity Series of Boston, New Gallery Concerts, Castle of Our Skins, Shelter Music Boston (2019)—Performances
  • Solo artist-in-residence (Contemporary Music), University of California at Davis (2019)
  • Triple Helix residency with Project STEP, Boston (2014-2016)—Performances and master classes
  • Wilma & Friends chamber music residency in Melbourne, Australia (2016)—Performances and master classes
  • Premieres of 20 works for solo cello, Petrified Forest National Park and Grand Canyon National Park (2010, 2015)
  • Artist faculty with the Asian Youth Orchestra in Hong Kong (2002-present)—Concerts, coaching  
  • School Name
    Yale University
    State or Province
    Master of Music (M.M.)
    Field of Study
    Date Degree Received
  • School Name
    Oberlin College
    State or Province
    Bachelor of Music (B.M.)
    Field of Study
    Date Degree Received
In Their Own Words

As a teacher, I hope to encourage a curiosity and openness to musical ideas, emphasize a balanced and thoughtful approach to playing the instrument, foster exploration of the full range of historical styles, and help my students find their own voice.