Rochester, NY based cellist, instructor, and artist
Mills is passionate about finding creative ways to inspire younger audiences to engage with classical music. In doing so, she thrice traveled to Panama to teach and perform in connection with La Asociacion Nacional de Conciertos. Presently, Mills is the cello teaching artist for ROCmusic, an after school Rochester city music program modeled after El Sistema in Venezuela. She also teaches private cello lessons through the Roberts Community Music School and the Hochstein School of Music and Dance.
As a performing and visual artist, Mills’ goal is the same: to bring out the depth of emotion in a piece in a way that connects with an audience. After her own struggles with depression, much of her visual art is centered around the feelings and experiences that come with a mental illness. Musicaly she is known to connect with a piece on levels that have brought listeners to tears and to dance. She aims to share her art, both performing and visual, to advocate for mental health awareness and connect with those who suffer from an illness, letting them know they are not alone.
Rachel Mills received her bachelor degree in cello performance from Oberlin Conservatory of Music where she studied with Amir Eldan. While at Oberlin, Mills performed both as a soloist and with the 213 Quartet on honors recitals including the Oberlin at Oakton concert series and the 2016 Oberlin Commencement Recital. Additionally, she collaborated on recording projects with the Contemporary Music Ensemble, Oberlin Orchestra, and Sinfoniette, appearing on the Oberlin Music and NMC Recordings record labels. In 2016 she was selected as the principal cellist for the Oberlin Orchestra's tour to Chicago's Symphony Center. Mills went on to study with Jan Ype Nota and Michel Strauss at the Royal Conservatoire of the Hague in the Netherlands where she was the recipient of a Holland Scholarship and Excellence Scholarship. While there, she formed a duo with Indonesian pianist Petra Ruth Alexandry.
An active chamber musician, Mills has participated in advanced and fellowship music programs across the United States. Through these programs she worked with award winning quartets including the Arianna, Calder, Chiara, Fry Street, Jupiter, and Ying quartets. Mills has given chamber performances at such notable international locations as the Bimhuis in Amsterdam's Muziekgebouw, with the Dutch Impro Academy, and national concert halls in Panama with Cuarteto Girasol.