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Riley performing with the BrSO

I’ve been playing the cello since I was 10, when my elementary school started offering it to fourth graders. I got dropped off before school for lessons. Once I was in seventh grade, I began taking cello lessons with my current teacher, Mr. Jonathan Simmons. I’ve been a part of both my middle and high school orchestras, the Canton Pops Orchestra, the Canton Contemporary Music Workshop, performed numerous solo parts in my middle and high school orchestras, and been invited to play with the Brockton Symphony Orchestra. Playing with the Brockton Symphony Orchestra was a great challenge for me because it pushed me to play with players with much more experience than myself. I even got to be a part of a world premiere of a new composition when I played with the Brockton Symphony! I was also inducted into the Tri-M National Music Honor Society at my sending school and our chapter was named chapter of the year for 2022! I was invited to play with the Gordon College Orchestra after getting into the Gordon College Honors Music Festival. Some of my favorite pieces I’ve played include Elegija by Rudolf Matz, Concerto for Two Cellos in G Minor by Vivaldi, and Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin.


Riley meeting Ben Zander

When I’m not practicing, rehearsing, or performing on my own cello, you can find me listening to classical music whether that be on Spotify or in the concert hall. I’ve seen performances by Truls Mørk, Johannes Moser, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, and Leonidas Kavakos. Last summer when I attended Yo-Yo Ma’s masterclass at Tanglewood, I arrived early and got front row seats. Then, to my surprise, Yo-Yo Ma announced that he had a dear friend in the audience and pointed in my direction. Baffled, I turned around to spot Benjamin Zander! After the masterclass, I found Benjamin Zander and spoke with him!

Some of my favorite classical music to listen to includes Farrenc’s Symphony No. 1 and No. 3, Shostakovich Symphony No. 5, Rachmaninoff’s How Fair This Spot, and Mendelsohn’s Symphony No. 4.