Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, pianist Rachael Kerr is a versatile performer, frequently appearing as a soloist, collaborator, coach, and chamber musician. She was recently featured in a performance of Messiaen’s Oiseaux Exotiques with the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and was invited back to be the soloist for Stravinsky’s Concerto for Piano and Winds the next season. Rachael has also received fellowships to the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Center and the Aspen Music Festival.
Rachael has long had an affinity for collaboration with brass and winds, which has led to recital appearances with world-renowned artists such as Jens Lindemann, Gail Williams, Michael Henoch, Lawrie Bloom, Dennis Michel, Barbara Butler, and Chris Martin, among others. Most recently, she has collaborated with the Chicago Chamber Musicians Ensemble on their First Mondays concert series. She has also been featured in several world premieres of composer David Sampson’s chamber works, which have been featured live on WFMT in Chicago. Other recent chamber music appearances include Garth Newel Music Center’s main season chamber series, the Lake Forest Lyrica recital series, and performances with the Allium String Quartet at Symphony Center in Chicago.
She obtained double bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and piano performance at Johns Hopkins University and Peabody Conservatory, where she was the recipient of the Abrams Double Degree scholarship, studying piano with Yong Hi Moon. There, she performed as a member of the SONAR Contemporary Music Ensemble and was named the Homewood Campus Distinguished Music Scholar for four years in a row. As a graduate student, she studied with Sylvia Wang and Elizabeth Buccheri, and was a prizewinner in the 2015 Musicians Club of Women Scholarship Competition and the 2010 Thaviu-Isaak Piano Competition.
Rachael is currently a collaborative pianist in the Toronto area, joining the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio for the 2017-2018 season. She is also one of the founding members of the MIR trio, with Mark Skazinetsky and Igor Gefter. She has been the rehearsal pianist for several notable TSO concerts, including a semi-staged version of Mozart’s Requiem, Shostakovich’s magnificent “Babi Yar” Symphony, the Faure Requiem, Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins, and the cornerstone work of the 2016 New Creations Festival, Knocking at the Hellgate by Brett Dean. She has also been a substitute orchestral pianist in the Toronto Symphony, Beijing Symphony, and the Niagara Symphony. She has recently served as a substitute pianist for the Elmer Iseler Singers and the Amadeus Choir of Toronto, in addition to working as an accompanist at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory.
She has previously been an instructor in the Music Studies department at Northwestern and a staff pianist with Northwestern University Opera Theater. She was also on the faculty of Interlochen Arts Center (where she was the coordinator of the collaborative piano department), the International Trumpet Guild conference, and the Vianden International Music Festival in Luxembourg.