Principal Double Bass Christopher Riley is a Symphony veteran, about to start his ninth year with the orchestra. Christopher is also in his third year as Venice High School’s Orchestra Director, and previously taught music and directed the orchestra at Woodland and Venice Middle Schools in Sarasota County. In his “spare time” Christopher is a freelance musician, performing in Symphony chamber ensembles and throughout Florida.
Music education has been good to Christopher as it is how he met his wife Teresa, also a music teacher. He and Teresa are also on the faculty of the Venice Symphony’s Summer Music Camp and Christopher played an important part in the early years of The Venice Symphony Youth Orchestra.
Christopher Riley was born in Seoul, South Korea on a U.S. military base and his family moved around frequently throughout his childhood, including spending seven years in Italy. Christopher began studying piano at the age of eight, and picked up the violin in fourth grade. Two instruments weren’t enough for Christopher who also played trumpet in middle school in Italy.
His family relocated to Brandon, Florida and Christopher attended and graduated from Riverview High School. He said that’s when “I decided to “leisurely” play bass in the orchestra program. It was then that I rediscovered my love for making music with an ensemble and how much music has impacted my life.” While he continued playing piano, when it came to narrowing his focus down to one instrument in college, double bass won.
Christopher received a music education degree from Florida Southern College while studying bass with Michael Hill, a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and principal bassist of Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. He went on to receive his master’s degree in music performance from University of South Florida under the direction of Dee Moses, principal bassist of Florida Orchestra.
After years of moving from place to place, Christopher is happy to have settled down in North Port with Teresa and their three-year-old daughter, who to nobody’s surprise is already showing a flair for music.
When asked Christopher to share his most memorable moment with The Venice Symphony and he didn’t hesitate. “It has to be in 2019 when I had the opportunity to play the bass solo from Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, Movement III. I feel extremely lucky to have had the chance to perform this solo twice in concert during my career as a musician. The performance with The Venice Symphony will be one I will never forget.”
But when asked the concert he’s looking forward to the most, that wasn’t as easy. “I look forward to every concert series with the Venice Symphony,” said Christopher, adding “I hope to see everyone there!”
Christopher Riley’s Chair in the orchestra is sponsored by John Myers