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Edwin T. Rice


Centurion, 1909–1940

Full Name Edwin Thomas Rice

Born 4 February 1862 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Died 2 February 1940 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Buried Stockbridge Cemetery, Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Proposed by Silas B. Brownell and Henry Holt

Elected 3 April 1909 at age forty-seven

Proposer of:

Seconder of:

Century Memorial

About sixty-two years ago a group of New York City boys formed a little string orchestra. In those days the center of musical activity was on 14th Street at the old Steinway Hall, and Mr. Steinway contributed a room in which the group could rehearse. So every Sunday morning these boys met to play music together. Edwin Thomas Rice played the ’cello in the group, and even then played it remarkably well—on the word of the conductor of the little orchestra, Centurion Walter Damrosch.

The law was Rice’s profession and he was faithful to it; but music was his beloved avocation. To it he devoted the major part of his interest and life, either playing chamber music, his greatest love, or serving in an official capacity with unflagging zeal upon the boards of the various musical organizations of the city. He was a director of the Institute of Musical Art from its birth. He served as treasurer of the New York Symphony Society until its merger with the New York Philharmonic, when he became assistant treasurer of the combined societies, a post which he held to the end. His knowledge of music was encyclopedic, especially in the field of chamber music. Because of his sound musicianship his voice was always listened to with respect by the directorates on which he served. He was the author of several brochures on musical subjects and articles in music publications. One of the last was a tribute to a fellow Centurion, the late Frank Damrosch, which appeared in The Musical Quarterly. In 1936 he received the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Medal for “eminent services to chamber music.” His tall figure and gray-bearded head were familiar sights in the Century and when music was afoot, he was certain to be at the center of it. Of him a Centurion writes: “As a friend he had all the musical emotional warmth that made our agreement and sympathy a precious memory.”

Geoffrey Parsons
1940 Century Memorials