Rachel studied at Birmingham Conservatoire with Jonathan Kelly and George Caird. During her time there she won the Birmingham and Midland Institute Woodwind Prize and the Rollason Award for performance, and was invited to perform a double Albinoni Concerto with George Caird. Following her studies at Birmingham she moved to London to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Richard Simpson.
Rachel has had a busy freelance career combining performance with education. She has performed with many orchestras, including Brandenburg Sinfonia, BBC Concert Orchestra, Glyndebourne Touring Opera, London Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players and Southern Sinfonia. As a soloist Rachel has performed numerous Baroque concertos with Southern Sinfonia under the baton of David Hill, and her performance of Albinoni op9 no2 was described as ‘poignant, dramatic and beautifully shaped’.
Education is an important part of Rachel’s musical life and she is passionate about encouraging the next generation to enjoy music. She is an oboe teacher and chamber music coach at the Guildhall School of Music Junior department, St Johns College School, The Leys and Oakham School, and is often invited to give workshops and masterclasses. Rachel has tutored at the Big Double Reed Day, The Cork School of Music Double Reed Day and chamber music courses at Benslow Hills in Hitchin, and in the Summer of 2020, she ran online workshops. As part of her education work Rachel has a blog, and has written a book for student oboists called 20 Character Pieces.
Robert (Bob) Porter began studying the bassoon aged 11 and at 14 was accepted as a Junior Exhibitioner at the Royal Academy of Music. Two years later, after playing with the National Youth Orchestra, he decided to give up all thoughts of a future in maths and instead, began a career which now encompasses musician, conductor, teacher, concert promoter and artistic director.
Whilst studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Bob seamlessly began teaching in the Junior Department from its inception and was appointed Head of Wind Brass and Percussion in 1985 — a position he still holds today. He also taught regularly for the Spanish National Youth Orchestra (JONDE) and was a member of the Artistic Board of the Catalan National Youth Orchestra (JONC) for over ten years.
As a performer he was a member of the London Mozart Players and worked with every major professional orchestra in London.
In 1991 Bob was made a Freeman of the City of London for services to music — an honour which allows him to drive a flock of sheep over London Bridge... something he fully intends to do one of these days. In his spare time, he is passionate about cricket (playing), rugby (watching), red wine and jazz, although not necessarily in that order!