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Rachel C. Walker


Rachel C. Walker writes poetic, timbre-sensitive works drawing from her ongoing immersion in and research on Chinese folk music, musical time, and language. Her pieces have been heard across the US, China, Sweden, Portugal, Canada, and Australia, with major performances and commissions from the Tianjin Symphony Orchestra (天津交响乐团), the Chinese Bamboo Flute Orchestra (中国竹笛乐团), NANOWorks Opera, Svensk Musikvår, percussionists Allen Otte, Zhang Yongyun (张永韵), Carlos Camacho and Colleen Phelps, the Butter Quartet (NL), and pipa virtuoso Xia YuYan (夏雨言).

As the recipient of multiple grants to China and Taiwan, she 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 Harvard University (2016 Perspectives on Chinese Contemporary Music Conference), Australian National University (2017 Women in the Creative Arts Conference), Tsinghua University (2018), Shandong University (2018), and the China Conservatory (2015). As the Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Cincinnati Soundbox, she curates concerts blending the new music scene in Cincinnati with those of other cities around the world.

Rachel studied at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music 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 2018 a Schwarzman Scholar at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Photo by Jackie Stevens
Updated September 2018

Articles by Rachel C. Walker:

Articles July 30 2018 | By Rachel C. Walker
The Importance of Exchange

There is very little effort made to bridge the gap in cultural understanding. This is where the intersection of Chinese traditional music and new music has the potential to play...

Articles July 23 2018 | By Rachel C. Walker
Poetry and Community in Guangzhou

Upon returning from my first stay in China in 2016, I began to seek out works by living Chinese writers in order to help enrich my understanding of the country...

Articles July 16 2018 | By Rachel C. Walker
An Introduction to the Chinese Bamboo Flute Orchestra

In its five years of existence, the Chinese Bamboo Flute Orchestra (中国竹笛乐团) founded by Zhang Weiliang (张维良), has done substantial work. It has commissioned and promoted the music of living...

Articles July 9 2018 | By Rachel C. Walker
For Summer Rain

In March 2015, I arrived in Beijing to study Chinese musical instruments for what started as a six-month stint and then sprawled into a year. It was an immersive experience,...