Rachel Waddell passionately believes that conductors should leave every program, community, and person better than they found them. This is why she throws herself into her work, including pursuing educational and professional opportunities that feed her own insatiable curiosity. Learn more about some of her program development work below.
CANTON YOUTH SYMPHONIES (OH)
During her time as Music Director of the Canton Youth Symphonies, Rachel transformed the program from a single, non-competitive orchestra to a three-tier orchestra training program, including a summer strings camp. The orchestra grew from approximately 30 students to 200 and the audience size more than tripled. Perhaps most importantly, CYS members' perceptions and ownership over their ensemble completely transformed. In 2015 the Canton Youth Symphonies were named the Youth Orchestra of the Year by the Classics Alive Foundation (Los Angeles).
UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER ORCHESTRAS (NY)
As the Director of Orchestral Activities for the University of Rochester's College Music Department, Rachel has significantly grown the size and impact of the orchestra program. In her time there audiences have nearly quadrupled in size. In fall 2020, despite the pandemic, Rachel raised over $10,000 for the orchestras, allowing her to produce over four hours of digital programming and A Virtual Masterclass Series. Some of the UR Orchestras' initiatives include:
Reflective Stages Project
Virtual Postcards Project
Composer Spotlight Series
Around the Town Concert Series
Annual Concerto Competition
Virtual Masterclass Series
Rachel's creativity and determination is fueled by new perspectives. She finds them by attending workshops, masterclasses, or simply enjoying a conversation with someone new.
In summer 2021 she graduated with a Certificate in Industry Essentials from the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU. Rachel enjoys incorporating her experiences from that program into her craft. Her studies also rekindled her childhood love of singing-songwriting.
"A conductor of creativity and courage, worthy of high praise"
The American Prize
American conductor Rachel Waddell is in the business of shared experiences. She became a conductor because of her own love of the process of music creation, and she wants to enable as many as possible to share their own stories through music.
She believes 21st century orchestras have an opportunity to mirror the American people through diverse programs, orchestras, and audiences, and she is passionately committed to bringing that vision to fruition. The three pillars of her conducting philosophy are grow, program, and connect. She prides herself in her ability to grow orchestras and their resources, on her innovative programming, and her ability to build meaningful connections with her community.
When it comes to programming, Rachel has two guiding principles:
1. Curate programs that align and ally with your community, and
2. Anything is possible.
Rachel is the 2020 third place national winner of the American Prize's Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming and the 2019 second place winner.
The Ghostlight Theatre and the
Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra spell-bound their audience in this abridged version of Mendelssohn and Shakespeare's beloved comedy with ballet, actors, vocalists, and (of course) orchestra.
Stage Direction by Paul Mow
100 YEARS OF
The University of Rochester Chamber Orchestra, in collaboration with the Rochester Red Wings, transformed Strong Auditorium into a baseball game for one evening. This concert also featured the Roberto Clemente School No. 8 Chorus, Rochester Baseball Historical Society, University of Rochester Baseball team, and University of Rochester Chamber Singers.
This revolutionary digital collaboration featured over 200 performers collaborating in person and virtually in this masterful recreation of Beethoven's work. Tiffany Chang conducted the Oberlin Arts and Sciences Orchestra, in addition to producing the project. The performance highlights the semester-long collaboration between Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Rochester Orchestras.
Audio Mixing by Stephen Roessner
VETERAN'S DAY AND
WORLD WAR I AND II
The Canton Symphony Orchestra brought images of World War I and II to life with powerful musical selections by Copland, F.S. Kelley, and Shostakovich. The accompanying photochoreography was provided by Westwater Arts.
Conductors for Change, LLC
Conductors for Change, LLC is a non-profit organization located in New York, co-founded and co-owned by Rachel Waddell. Their mission is to "Re-examine the role and responsibility of the American orchestra to create an equitable community and culture reflective of the people that we serve."
Around the Town Concert Series
The University of Rochester Chamber Orchestra's "Around the Town Concert Series" highlights institutions and locations that are integral to the fabric of the Rochester community. Rachel curates programs that are specific to each organization's location and purpose.
2018-19: Two Saints Church
2019-20: Rochester Red Wings
2020-21: Oberlin Conservatory
Rachel passionately believes in education and its transformational power to help each person discover and reach their full potential. As an advocate for music education, Rachel has participated in many educational initiatives from pre-K through adults, including:
- Young Person's Concerts
- Youth Orchestras
- Guest Lectures/Teaching
- Private Lessons
- Private and Public School