Oberlin Conservatory of Music - B.M.
Rice University Shepherd School of Music - M.M.
Rachel Halvorson is the principal violist of the Sarasota Orchestra and plays in the Sarasota String Quartet. Rachel holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory (BM), studying with Peter Slowik, and Rice University (MM), where she acted as Teaching Assistant to Ivo Van der Werff and coached chamber music for the Rice Preparatory Program. Rachel’s love for orchestral music began at age 10, when she left a Harry Potter movie absolutely convinced that she had to play in an orchestra, and immediately took up viola lessons. Since then, Rachel has performed with orchestras such as the Cincinnati, Houston, San Antonio, Akron, Syracuse and New World symphonies, and Boston Symphony Orchestra in an opportunity through the Tanglewood Music Center. During the summer season, she has joined Tanglewood, Spoleto Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, and Credo Festival on fellowships. Most recently, Rachel joined the Music in the Mountains festival in Durango, CO for their summer season. Rachel recently was awarded first prize at the American Viola Society’s Excerpt Competition and Collegiate Solo Competition. She has performed in masterclasses for inspiring pedagogues including Heidi Castleman, Robert Vernon, Roberto Diaz, Paul Coletti, Helen Callus, Paul Silverthorn, and Cathy Basrak.
A'n advocate for contemporary classical music, Rachel has performed with numerous ensembles, including Sarasota’s EnsembleNewSRQ, Hear & Now, and KINETIC: The Conductorless Ensemble, a vibrant string chamber orchestra focusing on “showcasing diverse, under represented, and newly composed classical music through flexible chamber and orchestral formats”. Connecting with people in her community through music has always been important to Rachel. She loves teaching music at all levels, both one-on-one and in schools and youth orchestra programs across Texas and Florida. With JUMP! and KINETIC: The Conductorless Ensembles, Rachel taught and performed throughout Houston in group and individual classes. She enjoys taking music into the Sarasota community with the nonprofit musical group, Upward Notes.