Jean Rife, faculty member at MIT, New England Conservatory, and the Longy School of Music, teaches chamber music, horn, yoga for musicians, and harpsichord, and coaches wind sectionals of the MIT Symphony Orchestra. A prize-winning horn player, her career as a soloist and ensemble player spanned four decades, during which she played on four continents, was guest artist at International Horn Society workshops, made several solo and ensemble recordings, including the Grammy nominated B minor Mass with Boston Baroque, and commissioned and premiered several new pieces.
As a young player in her twenties, as she was just getting started with her playing career, a friend returned from an Alexander lesson and related what he had learned. In her next practice session, she tried some of the suggestions and instantly experienced a new freedom in her playing and added three notes to her high register. This sparked a flame of interest in using body and mind work to improve horn playing that has led to further explorations in yoga, vision therapy, Alexander technique, meditation, the Taubman Method for piano, and psychology. Jean has incorporated much of what she has learned in the lab of her practice room into her teaching horn, chamber music, harpsichord, and classes in Yoga for Musicians. The results have surprised and gratified her AND her students.
Several years ago, she took a break from professional horn playing to focus more on teaching and rekindle an early interest in keyboard playing. An avid learner, she has been studying with Peter Sykes for the last ten years, and has performed several solo and ensemble recitals on harpsichord.