About Rachel Zhao
Rachel Lee Zhao is a violinist and instructor who was born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley. Ms. Zhao is currently receiving her Artist Diploma at Shenandoah Conservatory after previously having gained her Bachelor's in Violin Performance from Oberlin College and Conservatory studying with David Bowlin, as well as her Master's in Violin Performance from Roosevelt University in Chicago studying with Almita Vamos.
Having grown up with the Suzuki method, pedagogy is very near and dear to Rachel's heart. She loves the nurture and encouragement she received as a tiny child and hopes to pass on to the next generation the love and enthusiasm that she feels for music. Ms. Zhao works with students of all ages and levels: adults, as well as children, advanced students and beginners alike. She believes that no matter the level of the musician there is such wonderful magic that can happen when a student conquers a new challenge.
Rachel started violin at the age of 4 after having watched a violinist playing a solo in her church. Something in the music filled her soul at that moment. Rachel begged her parents for six months to let her take lessons, and she hasn't ever looked back from the moment she picked up her first instrument. But it wasn't always easy. Rachel had moments that were really tough when she even wanted to throw the violin away. As a child she had so many temper tantrums because she could hear the perfect sound she wanted but then only scrapes and awful noises came out of the instrument!! But through patient teachers and many years of hard work and unyielding dedication, a gorgeous sound emerged. Ms. Zhao has all the years and hours of experience, and the patience for teaching that comes from it. Ms. Zhao hopes to inspire and motivate her students with that initial spark that she felt at that moment when she first fell in love with music.
As well as being a teacher Rachel is an avid performer and new music advocate. She plays regularly with the chamber orchestra Unsupervised Ensemble in Chicago as well as the Zafa New Music Collective. She has performed across North America as well as Argentina, Panama, Denmark, and China.