Annapolis Symphony Orchestra Violinist
Rachael Stockton grew up in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois, the daughter and granddaughter of professional musicians. Both her father and grandfather were violinists and violin teachers, and her mother a pianist and piano teacher. As such, Rachael and her siblings were expected to study and play not one, but two, instruments each. To that end, Rachael began studying piano with her mother at age 6, and violin with her father at age 10.
Though by no means was her entire childhood spent in the practice room - or perhaps on account of that fact - by the start of high school, it was apparent that music was the itch that Rachael loved to scratch most. Whenever the choice between homework or practice presented itself, practice, on piano or violin, always came out on top. Also during her high school years, Rachael auditioned for and joined the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra (an ensemble in which both of her parents had played decades earlier) and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, joining the violin sections in both of these ensembles. Experiencing and taking part in the synergy that is a stage full of musicians collaborating together for a unified creative purpose solidified her decision that music would be her profession, and that violin would be her primary instrument.
Rachael went on to earn a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from The Cleveland Institute of Music, and a Master of Music in Violin Performance from the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, studying with Linda Cerone and Herbert Greenberg respectively. Since finishing her formal schooling, Rachael has been free-lance teaching and performing in and around the greater Baltimore region for more than two decades. She is a member of The Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra in Harrisburg, PA, and the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, in Annapolis, MD. Engagements also include performances with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, The National Philharmonic, Concert Artists of Baltimore, Baltimore Opera Orchestra, and The Delaware Symphony. An advocate and champion of new and contemporary music, Rachael played in the Peabody Camerata while studying for her Master’s Degree. As a member of this ensemble, she was taken to Évian-les-Bains , France to premiere an American chamber opera at the The Rencontres Musicales d’Évian, conducted by the legendary late Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich. Rachael was also a long-time member of the former New Horizons Chamber Ensemble, a local ensemble in Baltimore dedicated solely to the performance of contemporary classical chamber music. Also internationally, Rachael spent one summer in Graz, Austria as member of the Festival Orchestra for the American Institute of Musical Studies.
Since finishing formal studies, Rachael has also enjoyed passionate investment in private teaching and performance coaching. Prior to buying her home in Baltimore and establishing her home studio there, Rachael was a member of the private teaching faculties for Roland Park Country School and The Park School of Baltimore. She was the violin coach/instructor for the Gifted and Talented program of the Baltimore County Public Schools, and a sectional coach for the former Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestra (now the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestra). She is an adjunct faculty member and violin teacher at The Community College of Baltimore County, teaching both majors and non-majors in music. Rachael is also a frequent participant in the Annapolis Symphony’s ‘Music Van’ program, which introduces elementary school students to instrumental music through in-school performances and hands-on demonstrations. Having also studied piano from a very young age through conservatory, Rachael is conveniently and comfortably able to wear multiple hats in the studio, serving as both teacher and accompanist at the same time.
Rachael finds that her regular and demanding teaching and performing obligations create a healthy combination in which each pursuit helps the other. Her regular practice and performing keep her in touch with the challenges and rigors of her students. Simultaneously, the constant analysis and careful observation required by teaching helps Rachael with her own self-awareness and critical ear when practicing and rehearsing.
Rachael has the privilege, and good fortune, to play on a rare instrument made over 200 year’s ago in Naples, Italy which she inherited from her father. When not playing or teaching violin, she keeps busy spending time with her husband, three sons, dog and cat, and enjoys exercising, running, hiking, community service, and gardening.