Rachel C. Walker writes poetic, timbre-sensitive works drawing from her ongoing immersion in and research on Chinese folk music, musical time, and language. She engages in long-term collaborations with living writers, exploring the philosophical connections between transcription and translation within abstract musical syntaxes.
Her music has been heard across the US, China, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Portugal, Canada, Colombia, and Australia, including performances during Festival Mujeres en la Música Nueva, PASIC, Hangzhou Contemporary Music Festival (杭州现代音乐节), Kuandu Arts Festival, Svensk Musikvår, Kalv Festivalen, Sound of Stockholm, Bludenzer Tage zeitgemäßer Musik, Fondation Royaumont – Voix Nouvelles, and Tage Neuer Musik Regensburg. Recent commissions and collaborations include pieces for the Tianjin Symphony Orchestra (天津交响乐团), Trio recherche, Departure Duo, Trio Abstrakt, Ensemble Adapter, Ictus, Spółdzielnia Muzyczna, There is no air in Space, Ensemble Temporum, airborne extended and Trio Klangspektrum, and solo works for Sylvia Hinz, recorder, percussionists Allen Otte, John Lane and Zhang Yongyun (张永韵), and Xia Yuyan (夏雨言), pipa. She has ongoing projects with the poets Autumn Tsai, Ruan Xuefang, Zheng Xiaoqiong and Nadeem Al-Aloosi.
As the recipient of multiple grants to China and Taiwan, Rachel has studied and written about traditional and contemporary music, while simultaneously composing dynamic new works for Chinese and Western instruments. Her writings have been published by NewMusicBox and Southwest China Normal University Press, as well as presented in guest lectures at the Korea Electro-Acoustic Music Society Annual Conference, Harvard University, Australian National University, McGill University, Hong Kong Baptist University, Tsinghua University, Shandong University, the Central Conservatory of Music, and the China Conservatory. Her work has been supported by ArtsWave, Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy, Forschungszentrum Musik und Gender Hannover, the New Music USA Creator Development Fund, and the University of Cincinnati Research Council Undergraduate Research Fellowship.
Rachel studied at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (B.M.) with Allen Otte and Joel Hoffman, and at the China Conservatory of Music (中国音乐学院), where she was a Visiting Scholar advised by Gao Weijie (高为杰). She was a Schwarzman Scholar at Tsinghua University in Beijing (M.S.), and completed her M.M. with Ming Tsao at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover. She has held residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity and the Britten-Pears Foundation, and is a 2022 fellow to the Akademie Schloss Solitude. She is the Artistic Director of the new music and media collective neuMERZ.
Photo by Xia Yuyan