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 performer, Mills is known for her musicality and ability to connect with an audience on levels that has brought listeners to tears or to dance. Her current interest involves programming mid to late twentieth century and twenty-first century pieces for unaccompanied cello as these works can be carried out of the traditional concert hall. Mills enjoys the complexity in these pieces and interpreting them in ways that intrigue an audience. She works to pair these pieces with more familiar musical eras and other art disciplines. Mills' most recent project involves working with Rochester based dancer and choreographer, Zoe Walders, to interpret and add movement to Ysaye's Sonata for Solo Cello.
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.