Shelley Rich is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where she earned a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance and studied chamber music with members of the Cleveland Quartet. The following five years of freelance playing and teaching in the Salt Lake City and Phoenix regions led her to an intense interest in Violin Pedagogy. She became immersed in using the Suzuki Method to build violin and viola techniques and selected the program at Northern Arizona University to complete a Master’s Degree in Violin Performance with Long Term Suzuki Training with Louise Scott. While in Arizona, she taught string methods, taught at the NAU Prep School, and served as Vice President and Co-founder of the Arizona Suzuki Association. In 1997, Ms. Rich joined the string faculty at the University of Oregon where she established the Violin/Viola Pedagogy Program (then called degree emphasis). Within her eight-year tenure at UO, Ms. Rich founded and directed the CMI Suzuki Strings Program, the Chamber Players Program, the Northwest Suzuki Institute, and the Northwest Advanced String Camp, which attracted students from across the Western United States. During this time, she also served on the faculties of numerous ASTA workshops and Suzuki institutes across the country, including Oregon, Colorado, Washington, Utah, Idaho, California, Arizona, and Hawaii.
In 2006, Ms. Rich began 15 years of teaching on the faculty at Northern Arizona University, where she taught violin performance and music education majors and was an active violinist, performing on faculty recitals, soloing with the NAU Orchestra and Wind Symphony, and serving as Assistant Concert Master of the Flagstaff Symphony. Previously, Ms. Rich had performed with the Ballet West Orchestra, Eugene Symphony. Oregon Festival of American Music, Oregon Coast Music Festival, Geneseo Symphony Orchestra (NY,) Heidelberg Castle Festival Opera Orchestra (Germany,) Music Academy of the West Orchestra, and Tanglewood Festival Orchestra.
In addition, Ms. Rich served on the faculty as a master teacher at the NAU Academy of Music and Dance, teaching individual lessons and group classes. A dedicated pre-college teacher throughout her career, Ms. Rich has taught numerous students who have gone on to successful careers in music and have achieved awards in competitions, soloed with professional orchestras, and received scholarships to high profile music camps and music schools. Ms. Rich was elected president of both the Oregon and Arizona chapters of the American String Teachers Association. Under her leadership, AZ ASTA grew to host 13 different annual state-wide events for the string teachers and students of Arizona.
In Fall of 2021, Ms. Rich returned to the University of Oregon to accept the position of Associate Director of the Community Music Institute, where she is dedicated to growing back and expanding CMI’s offerings and reestablishing the SOMD as central to state-wide pre-college opportunities for Oregon string students and teachers. Since her arrival, she has accepted young beginning students to re-establish the Suzuki Strings Program in the Eugene community and has worked to revitalize Chamber Players. In Fall of 2022 at the SOMD, she will be teaching violin lessons and classes to graduate students in the Violin/Viola Pedagogy Specialization, with expanded opportunities for mentorship with CMI students. Recently, a generous donation to the SOMD will allow her to continue the groundwork of her violin colleagues at UO and spearhead an annual Summer Orchestra Camp for Strings at UO beginning Summer 2023.