Katie Rife in a black shirt standing behind some percussion instruments

Katie Rife

Vancouver-based percussionist Katie Rife is a multifaceted artist who delights in exploring the shimmering and captivating sounds of the many instruments she plays.

She is an enthusiastic performer of new music, with appearances in concerts presented by Music on Main, Vancouver New Music, Redshift Music Society, the Canadian Music Centre, Little Chamber Music, and the Blueridge Chamber Festival, and has worked closely with composers to premiere dozens of new works. Equally admiring of orchestral music, Katie is the principal percussionist with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, and has performed in numerous concerts with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra, and Allegra Chamber Orchestra.

Also an accomplished producer, Katie is a founding member and director of Driftwood Percussion, Redshift Music Society’s percussion ensemble, and previously founded and directed the Ethos Collective, a new music and improvisatory sextet. Her production collaborations include events with Driftwood Percussion for the ISCM World New Music Days in Vancouver, the Music on Main Modulus Festival, and more recently an event that had thirty percussionists take over the atrium of Vancouver’s Central Library.

As part of her dedication to the fostering of new works, since 2020 Katie has been commissioning short solo pieces for vibraphone and marimba by Canadian composers, with the support of the BC Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts.

Katie grew up in Langley, beginning her musical studies on piano and discovering percussion later in high school. She holds a Masters of Music and Professional Studies Diploma from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studied with longtime San Francisco Symphony Principal Percussionist Jack Van Geem, and a Bachelors of Music in Percussion Performance from the University of British Columbia, where she was fortunate to study with both Sal Ferreras and Vern Griffiths. In between her degrees she was an artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre, returning over the years to participate in numerous programs and residencies, and will be ever grateful for both her time at the centre and with her teachers for shaping her creative thinking.

Katie believes strongly in music education, and is currently on faculty at the Vancouver Academy of Music and the Langley Community Music School, and a teaching artist at the Sarah McLachlan School of Music.

This page was last updated in August 2023.