Mary Alice Rich received her bachelor's degree in violin performance under Paul Rolland at the University of Illinois. She began her master's degree under Mr. Rolland and served as his teaching assistant until his death in 1978. She completed her master's in performance under Sergiu Luca. Ms. Rich played in several orchestras including the Tulsa Philharmonic, the Fort Worth Symphony, and the Dallas Opera Orchestra. In addition she taught at Texas A&M University-Commerce and maintained a private teaching studio. Currently she is on the faculty of the Dallas Symphony-sponsored Young Strings Scholarship Program for minority students and also serves as head of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestras community outreach program which provides low-cost group lessons to inner-city students.
As a composer, Ms. Rich is a back-to-back first-place winner of the Texas Orchestra Directors Association Composition Contest. In 2000 she won the string orchestra category with Prelude (Fountain Park Music Publishing) and in 2001 the full orchestra category for Overture (Neil A. Kjos Music Company). She also won the Children's Song category of a national contest hosted by the Dallas Songwriters Association in 1994.
Her compositions have been played by professionals throughout the United States and abroad. In 2006 her Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet was commissioned and premiered by Kansas City Summerfest, which led to its being featured in a Voice of Change concert in Dallas. The following year her Letters for the Fallen was premiered by VOC.
Ms. Rich has received numerous paid commissions, including a commission from St. Alcuin Montessori to write an orchestral composition in honor of the Jean-Claude Saada family premiered by the New Philharmonic of Irving in December 2008. She currently lives in Dallas with her husband Bruce Wittrig, a violinist with the Dallas Symphony.