The John C. and Margaret P. Parker Chair
Double bassist Bruce Ridge has been a member of the North Carolina Symphony since 1987. He began his professional career when he joined the Virginia Symphony at the age of 15. Ridge later studied at the Curtis Institute of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music where he graduated with Distinction in Performance honors.
A former member of the City of Raleigh Arts Commission, Ridge is well-known throughout the country as an advocate of musicians and the arts. He served as Chairman of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) from 2006 until 2016, becoming the longest serving Chairperson in the history of the organization. Believed to be just the second musician in an American orchestra to chair a Music Director Search, Ridge led the committee that brought Grant Llewellyn to the North Carolina Symphony.
As chairman of ICSOM, Ridge has been an international leader on issues affecting arts organizations and has met with countless orchestras across America, literally from San Juan to Honolulu. He has served as a faculty member for many sessions of the League of American Orchestras’ “Orchestra Leadership Academy” as well as on the faculty for the League’s music director search seminars. He has appeared as a guest speaker on the history of symphony orchestras in America at The Colburn School of Music in Los Angeles and Roosevelt University in Chicago.
In March of 2009, he was invited to testify before Congress during a hearing on the Economic and Employment Impact of the Arts and Music Industry. He has been invited by the Federation International des Musiciens to address three International Orchestra Conferences (in Berlin, Amsterdam, and Oslo). His speeches and articles have been published in numerous countries, and he has been quoted in newspapers across the United States, as well as in the American Foreign Press. National radio interviews with Ridge can be found on the internet, and numerous speeches delivered across the world by Ridge are viewable on YouTube.
Ridge has been honored by the Theater Musicians’ Association, the Regional Orchestra Players’ Association, the Norfolk Musicians Association, and the Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians. In 2016 his name was added to an honor roll that recognizes those who have served the Canadian symphonic community with distinction.
In 2018, a book of Ridge’s essays and speeches on the orchestral field was published, titled Last Year’s Words, and Next Year’s Voices: Essays and Speeches from a Decade as Chairman of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians.
In the North Carolina Symphony, Ridge performs on double basses made by Alfred Lamy in 1870 and Abraham Prescott, c.1822. He has also played the electric bass guitar and solo jazz bass on the Symphony’s Pops series.