Rachel Walker | YST Conservatory


Artist Faculty, Oboe



Rachel Walker started playing the piano when she was 7, and then began oboe lessons at the age of 10 in England. At just 14, she passed the ABRSM Grade 8 with Distinction on both instruments and also won a place at Chetham’s School of Music for joint first study. 

At Chetham’s, she soon discovered her love of orchestral playing and changed her first study to oboe. By the age of 18 she had performed the Strauss Concerto at RNCM, had given numerous recitals throughout Britain, had her own agent and had won the Lakewood/Colorado competition entitling her to six recitals and a concerto performance in Colorado, USA, as well as a place at Cambridge University and a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Rachel first completed her degree in Music at Cambridge and then (after winning a second scholarship) went on to postgraduate oboe studies at the RAM with Celia Nicklin and Douglas Boyd.

Rachel began working professionally with orchestras in London as soon as she left the RAM and played regularly with ECO, English National Ballet and RPO. She was also Principal Oboe of ECYO (1994-95) and of Athens Camerata (1996).

In 1997 Rachel moved to Germany, where she played Principal with Philharmonia of the Nations until she was appointed Principal Oboe of SSO in 2001.

Since then, Rachel has also played as guest Principal with Bremen Staatsoper and RSNO, and has performed chamber music on various tours throughout Asia with Yo-Yo Ma. She recently received the honour of ARAM from the Royal Academy of Music, London.

Rachel also plays on “Sound Alchemy” instruments.