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Richard Rice
A A composer for almost 20 years, Richard Rice has written pieces for piano, organ, and small instrumental ensembles, but he concentrates on choral music. Since his introduction to the Catholic Church, and especially since his confirmation in 1990, he has focused on settings of liturgical texts. Works in a modern idiom for professional a cappella choirs include two Marian motets (Ave Maria and Salve Regina) and Introits for the Sundays of Easter. He is also an enthusiastic performer and conductor of Gregorian chant, and has adapted some of the traditional chant melodies to English texts. Rice's collection of Responsorial Psalm Antiphons for the Mass, with melodies adapted from the Psalterium monasticum, is used daily by a community of Poor Clare Sisters in Alexandria, Virginia. He has also prepared musical settings for the Office of Vespers using traditional melodic formulas. Other choral settings of psalms and antiphons have been performed in Virginia churches.

Mr. Rice shares CNP's goal of providing musical settings for the neglected Propers of the Mass (Introit, Offertory, and Communion chants), which have been almost universally supplanted by hymnody in modern worship. He writes:

My Advent and Lenten Introits for Choir and Congregation expand a simpler collection of the complete Proper chants for the Sundays of the Church year. The verses come from a metrical paraphrase that I wrote of the Proper texts, with accompanying Psalm verses-an effort that came to include nearly the entire Psalter and several Old and New Testament Canticles. I intended these unrhymed poetic paraphrases to be used with traditional hymn melodies from the Liber hymnarius, most of which are in Long Meter (88.88). The idea of a metrical Psalter is a venerable Protestant tradition, but one that I feel could play an essential part in the ongoing liturgical renewal, especially in providing a biblically based and theologically sound alternative to some controversial modern hymns.

Though composing is his passion, Mr. Rice has also been active as a singer and conductor. He currently directs a men's chant schola that provides Gregorian chant for the approved traditional Latin Masses offered in the Archdiocese of Washington DC. He was assistant in liturgical music at the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More in Arlington VA for five years, and has served as a chorister in several area church choirs, including the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. He has sung with professional and community choirs in the area, including the Woodley Ensemble, Musikanten, and the Choral Arts Society of Washington, all of which have involved professional recording projects.

As both a singer and a conductor, Richard Rice's special interest has been early polyphony and modern a cappella choral works. When trying his hand at strict Palestrinian style, he admits that "the results sound suspiciously English." He has attended workshops with, and sung under the direction of, Peter Phillips, founder of the Tallis Scholars, the preeminent group performing Renaissance polyphony. He lists being involved in a performance Peter Phillips conducted of Tallis' Gaude gloriosa, a monumental votive antiphon in praise of the Virgin Mary, as a highlight of his choral career. He sang in the premiere recording of La Corona, an intense seven movement, a cappella setting of the poem by John Donne. "Such diverse pieces have shown me the potential for unaccompanied choral music to achieve a nearly symphonic scope," Rice writes.

After completing an undergraduate music degree in his native Seattle, he received a Master of Liturgical Music degree from the Catholic University of America in Washington DC in 1991. Mr. Rice studied composition with Lester Groom at Seattle Pacific University, and with Gerald Muller at Catholic University and was research assistant for Ruth Steiner at Catholic University, assisting her with the CANTUS database of Gregorian chant manuscript indices. His training in Gregorian chant at Catholic University was under the late Theodore Marier, the premiere chant pedagogue in this country. He has worked with some of the outstanding choral conductors in the Washington area, including Haig Mardirosian, Leo Nestor, Norman Scribner, and Kerry Krebill, and has sung under Leonard Slatkin in the premiere recording of John Corigliano's Of Rage and Remembrance, with the National Symphony Orchestra.

When not performing or composing, Mr. Rice supports himself as a computer production specialist, using a variety of word processing, presentation, and desk top publishing software programs. He also enjoys using his computer to produce musical scores, and has done some website design, including his own website, RiceScores.

CanticaNOVA Publications is pleased to offer the following liturgical work by Richard Rice's:

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