Walker, Rachel C.


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, Poland, 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, Warsaw Autumn, Bludenzer Tage zeitgemäßer Musik, Festival de Royaumont, Beethovenfest Bonn, Unerhörte Musik, and Tage Neuer Musik Regensburg. Recent commissions and collaborations include pieces for Radio France, 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, Trio Klangspektrum, airborne extended and Ensemble Ascolta. Extended solos and duos have been composed for Sylvia Hinz, recorder, percussionists Allen Otte and John Lane, and pipa player Xia Yuyan (夏雨言). 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. Scholarships from Neustart Kultur, Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen (Max Uhlig Reisestipendium), Forschungszentrum Musik und Gender Hannover and the University of Cincinnati Research Council Undergraduate Research Fellowship have helped to support her work. 

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, Britten-Pears Arts and the Elektronmusik Studion Stockholm, and was a fellow (aural/physical) to the Akademie Schloss Solitude in 2022. She is the Artistic Director of the new music and media organization neuMERZ.

February 2023
Photo by Anton Avdieiev