SFCM faculty member Douglas Rioth
  1. Faculty

Douglas Rioth



  • Private Lessons
  • Harp Ensemble
  • Harp Orchestra Sectionals


  • San Francisco Symphony, Principal, 1981-Present
  • Indianapolis Symphony, 1975-1981

What is your hometown?

Marceline, MO

What is your favorite recording?

Anything with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra.

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Learning American Sign Language.

Who were your major teachers?

Elisa Smith Dickon, Alice Chalifoux, harp; Fernando Laires, piano.

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

“Practice slowly and methodically.”

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

I never learned how to do anything else.

What was a turning point in your career?

When I won the audition for SFS, and when I started teaching at SFCM.

What is your daily practice routine?

Different sets of exercises, first and always. Etudes, orchestra parts, and new music my students are studying.

If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?

Wagner, Salzedo, and Debussy.

From a music history perspective, what year and city are most important to you?

1909, NYC ... when the Metropolitan Opera hired Salzedo as harpist.

What are your most important collaborations?

Performing the Ginastera Harp Concerto with SFS and Eduardo Mata; Playing with the National Brass Ensemble and Riccardo Muti in Chicago Orchestra Hall.

Who are three students you have had the privilege of teaching?

Naomi Hoffmeyer, Jieyin Wu, and Madeleine Jarzembak.

What recordings can we hear you on?

Ron McFarland Chamber Works, Shark Point Records
Eliesha Nelson's Quincy Porter: Complete Viola Works, Dorton Label