Eric Rice

Department Head, Associate Professor of Music History, Director of Collegium Musicum

Department of Music

Ph.D., Columbia University
Certificate in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Columbia University
M.A., Columbia University
M.Phil., Columbia University

Musicologist and conductor Eric Rice is a specialist in the history and performance of music composed before 1750. He is Head of the Music Department at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music history, notation, and historical performance, and he also serves as a member of the Medieval Studies faculty. He demonstrates the relationship between scholarship and performance as director of the University of Connecticut Collegium Musicum. He was the 2019 recipient of Early Music America’s Thomas Binkley Award for excellence in performance and scholarship by the director of a collegiate early music ensemble.

As a performer, Rice seeks to pique interest in the cultures of the distant past through the immediacy of historically informed performance. He directs Ensemble Origo, hailed by The New York Times as “a fine, flexible ensemble,” presenting concerts that reflect the context in which early repertory was originally produced and heard. Il Nozze in Baviera, the ensemble’s recording of Orlando di Lasso’s music for the 1568 wedding of Wilhelm V to Renate of Lorraine, will be released on the Naxos label in 2020.

As Artistic Director of the Connecticut Early Music Festival from 2007 to 2015, he served as both a curator and a performer, choosing the theme for the festival, selecting nationally and internationally known ensembles to perform in it, and conducting concerts by the Connecticut Early Music Ensemble. As music director and tenor in the Boston-based period vocal ensemble Exsultemus from 2003 to 2009, he developed several concert programs involving liturgical reconstructions based on his research. Exsultemus’s 2012 CD release, “O rex orbis,” a reconstruction of Vespers and Compline services for the feast of Saint Charlemagne as it might have been heard in Aachen in 1582, was “highly recommended on all counts” by Fanfare and received four stars from Belgium’s Le soir, whose Serge Martin hailed it as “Magnificent and austere music, sensual in its fervor, performed with rigor by its American interpreters.”

In his scholarship, Rice focuses primarily on medieval and Renaissance music of the Western liturgy and its relationship to architecture, politics, and secular music. He is the author of Music and Ritual at Charlemagne’s Marienkirche in Aachen (Merseburger Verlag, 2009) and co-editor of Young Choristers, 650-1700 (Boydell & Brewer, 2008), the first scholarly volume dedicated to the history of professional child singers. His articles have appeared in Current Musicology, the Journal of Musicological Research, the Revue de Musicologie, and Viator. He has received fellowships from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to pursue archival research at churches in Germany and France.

Raised in Brooklyn, New York, Rice discovered his interest in early music as an undergraduate at Bowdoin College. After a four-year career as a schooner captain and marine educator at the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City, he returned to his music studies at Columbia University, where he earned a Ph.D. in Historical Musicology and a Certificate in Medieval and Renaissance studies. While pursuing these degrees, he also studied conducting and voice, and he sang professionally in New York City churches that feature medieval and Renaissance repertoire in their liturgies. He taught at Brandeis University from 2001 to 2003 before joining the faculty at the University of Connecticut. He lives with his wife, Anne, and their two sons, Gregory and Nathaniel, in Hampton, Connecticut.


Thomas Binkley Award Given by Early Music America for Excellence in Performance and
Scholarship by the Director of a University Early Music Ensemble (2019)
Provost’s Award for Excellence in Public Engagement, University of Connecticut (2011)

Recordings Published

Capella Alamire and the Alamire Consort, Portsmouth, NH
“Music of Pierrequin de Thérache,” Baton Rouge, LA: Centaur Records, 2013; CRC 3282
(tenor in nine-voice choir; soloist with instrumental ensemble)

Exsultemus, Boston, MA
“O rex orbis – Officium in festo sancti Karoli – Medieval Plainchant and Renaissance
Polyphony for the Feast of Saint Charlemagne,” Liège, Belgium: Musique en Wallonie, 2012; MEW 1267
(responsible for project conception, transcription and editing of all sources, music direction, and singing in nine-voice choir)

Selected Publications

Music and Ritual at Charlemagne’s Marienkirche in Aachen, Merseburger Verlag, 2009

Young Choristers, 650 – 1700, ed. Susan Boynton and Eric Rice, Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music 7, Boydell and Brewer, Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK, 2008

“Two Liturgical Responses to the Protestant Reformation at the Collegiate Church of Saint Mary in Aachen, 1570 – 1580,”Viator 38.2 (2007), 291 – 318

“Canonic Technique in a L’homme armé Mass by Pierre de la Rue (?)” in Canons and Canonic Techniques, 14th – 16th Centuries: Theory, Practice, and Reception History. Proceedings of the International Conference, Leuven, 4 – 6 October 2005, edited by Katelijne Schiltz and Bonnie J. Blackburn (Analysis in Context. Leuven Studies in Musicology, 1; Leuven-Dudley: Peeters Publishers, 2007), 125 – 140

Book review: Singing Early Music — The Pronunciation of European Languages in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance,ed. Timothy McGee et al., Current Musicology 64 (2001): 159 – 168

“Zur Musik und Musikpraxis für das Karlsfest im Aachener Dom” in Federstrich: liturgische Handschriften der ehemaligen Stiftsbibliothek (Aachen: Domkapitel Aachen, 2000): 45 – 55

“Representations of Janissary Music (Mehter) as Musical Exoticism in Western Compositions, 1670 – 1824,” Journal of Musicological Research 19 (1999): 41 – 88

“Tradition and Imitation in Pierre Certon’s Déploration for Claudin de Sermisy,” Revue de Musicologie 85/1 (1999): 29 – 62

Eric Rice
Contact Information
Phone(860) 486-3728
Office Locationvon der Mehden Recital Hall