Newfoundland Clarinetist Sean Rice joins NAC Orchestra as Second Clarinet

For immediate release

Ottawa, Ontario –The National Arts Centre is delighted to announce that Sean Rice, an award-winning clarinetist from St. John’s, NL will join the NAC Orchestra in the position of Second Clarinet.

“Sean is a truly talented musician,” said NAC Music Director Pinchas Zukerman.

“He has a beautiful sound and is extremely musical. He will be a wonderful asset to an already wonderful woodwind section.”

"It really is a great honour,” Rice said.  “I am really grateful to be playing along with [Principal Clarinet] Kimball Sykes and the rest of the woodwind section.  It is a truly amazing opportunity and a chance for me to keep learning from so many wonderful musicians."  

Rice, 27, was selected by an audition process involving both Zukerman and members of the NAC Orchestra.

Based in New York City but raised in St. John’s, he received his Masters of Music at The Juilliard School in New York where he is currently a Doctoral Candidate. Both degrees have been under the tutelage of Charles Neidich, whom The New Yorker has called “a master of his instrument and beyond a clarinetist.” Rice received an Honours Bachelor of Music from Memorial University in St. John’s where he studied with Paul Bendzsa.

Rice will be on familiar ground when he takes up his chair with the NAC Orchestra, as someone who benefited greatly from several NAC music education initiatives.

In 2002, when he was just 19, he performed with the NAC Orchestra during its Atlantic Tour, playing the first movement of C.M. von Weber’s Concerto No. 1 in F minor at a St. John’s matinée concert.

In 2004, when the NAC was an associate partner in the National Research Council’s MusicGrid distance learning project, Rice worked on orchestral performance technique in a broadband connection at Holy Heart of Mary High School in St. John’s.

The following year he was a student in the NAC’s Summer Music Institute, the NAC’s prestigious classical music training program for exceptional musicians. Rice participated in the instrumental component of the Institute, called the Young Artists’ Program, and returned in 2006.

Finally, in March 2007 Rice was featured with Toronto Symphony Principal Violist Teng Li in the NAC’s Debut series.

"I have had so many great opportunities with the NAC, and it's a real honour to now be able to contribute to the organization and its creativity," he said.

Since 2010 Rice has been Guest Principal Clarinet with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, and since 2008 has played Clarinet, Bass Clarinet and E-Flat Clarinet with the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra on a regular basis. He is also Principal Clarinet of the Chamber Orchestra of New York, and plays Clarinet and Bass Clarinet with Axiom, which the New York Times has called “an exacting, exciting Juilliard student group.” He also played in The Juilliard Orchestra from 2005-2007.  

Rice’s solo performances include H. Birtwistle’s Secret Theatre and M. Lindberg’s Clarinet Quintet with Axiom; Carl Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto for the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra; Jeunesses Musicales Canada’s National Solo Recital Tour; Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto with the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra; and G. Scelsi’s Kya for Clarinet and Small Orchestra with Nouvel Ensemble Moderne. In 2006 he won first prize in the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec’s Canadian Concerto Competition.

About the NAC Orchestra

The National Arts Centre Orchestra, led by renowned conductor/ violinist/violist Pinchas Zukerman, continues to draw accolades both abroad and at home in Ottawa. In addition to a full series of subscription concerts at the NAC, the Orchestra regularly does performance and education tours throughout Canada and around the world.  Education is a key pillar of the NAC Orchestra, and it reaches out to young audiences and artists in a variety of ways. Among them: the NAC’s Summer Music Institute, which has provided training for young performers, composers and conductors with an international faculty headed by Zukerman to over 650 participants from 36 countries; the Institute for Orchestral Studies, a season-long program that prepares highly talented musicians for orchestral careers; and other activities such as Musicians in the Schools, student matinées and broadband videoconferencing. The NAC Orchestra has 40 recordings--six with Pinchas Zukerman--and has commissioned over 90 Canadian works to date.  

For more information please contact:


Gerald Morris  

Communications Officer

NAC Orchestra

(613) 947-7000, ext. 335




 Mary Gordon

Communications Advisor
National Arts Centre

(613) 947-7000, ext. 560