Rachel Shepard is the Assistant Concertmaster of the Houston Ballet Orchestra and also performs with Houston Grand Opera, Mercury Houston, and works as a substitute violinist for the Houston Symphony and River Oaks Chamber Orchestra.
As a soloist, Rachel has appeared with the Houston Ballet Orchestra, performing selections from Maninyas, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra by Ross Edwards in the Alice and George Brown Theater in the Wortham Theater Center in 2015. She was also featured as a soloist in the ballet Clear by Stanton Welch, performing Bach Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C minor BWV 1060 and Bach Violin Concerto in G Minor BWV 1056R at the Miller Outdoor Theater and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in 2018. She has served as acting concertmaster of Houston Ballet on numerous occasions, performing works including Nutcracker, Don Quixote, and selections from Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, and Giselle.
Rachel has also performed throughout Houston as a chamber musician. She has played for the ROCO Unchambered Music Series at the MATCH, for Ion String Quartet recording sessions, and with the Mud Turtle Quintet at Houston Community College, Archway Gallery, and the Crain Garden Performance Series at the Houston Methodist Hospital.
Rachel is a devoted teacher, with over ten years of teaching experience. She has worked as a violin and viola instructor for the Houston Youth Symphony Melody and Coda programs since 2013, teaching individual lessons and group classes. Rachel has also worked as a chamber music coach and sectional coach for AFA’s Chamber Music Academy and Summer Music Festival since 2014, serving as acting String Department Head in the summer of 2019.
Rachel completed her Masters of Music degree from Rice University, studying with Kenneth Goldsmith, and her Bachelor of Music degree from Florida State University, where she studied under Eliot Chapo. She has also studied and performed at many music festivals nationally and internationally including Aspen Music Festival in Aspen, Colorado under the tutelage of Paul Kantor; YOA Orchestra of the Americas Caribbean Tour in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Jamaica; Schlern International Music Festival in Vols am Schlern, Italy; American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria; Round Top Music Festival in Round Top, Texas; and National Orchestral Institute at the University of Maryland. She received further pedagogical training at the Greater Austin Suzuki Association in the summers of 2018 and 2019, completing the Suzuki Violin School Teacher Training for Suzuki Books one and two, studying under Rolando Freitag and Cathy Lee.