Rachel Van Amburgh is a dynamic, versatile oboist and dedicated teacher, driven to make art music more accessible, relevant, and meaningful to people from all walks of life. She plays 2nd oboe/English horn with the Downey Symphony and Eastern Sierra Symphony, and also served as Principal Oboist of the Young Musician’s Foundation Debut Orchestra from 2013-2015, holding the English horn/Oboe III chair in 2012. Additionally, Rachel has performed with a number of ensembles around Los Angeles, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Bakersfield Symphony, Dream Orchestra, Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, wild up, Los Angeles Chamber Choir, Pasadena Master Chorale, and Angeles Chorale, among others. She has been featured as a soloist with the USC Thornton Symphony with the premiere of an oboe concertino written for her by composer Clare Glackin, and can be heard as the soloist on the premiere commercial recording of Frederick Lesemann's Concertino for Oboe and Six Instruments.
Especially dedicated to chamber, early, and new music, Rachel has successfully managed to balance a performance career that satisfies all of her diverse interests. She is a founding member of the chamber ensemble switch, a new group devoted bridging the gap between classical and popular music, and co-directs the chamber music series Classical Revolution: LA (see Projects for more details). Rachel was a finalist with the Pico Winds in the Coleman Chamber Music Competition, and has enjoyed chamber music fellowships at the Norfolk Music Festival, Sarasota Music Festival, Imani Winds Music Festival, and Pine Mountain Music Festival. On baroque oboe, Rachel has performed at the Berkeley Music Festival (sponsored by Early Music America), participated as a fellow in the American Bach Soloists Academy, and was also featured in Marcello's Concerto in d minor with the Thornton Baroque Sinfonia. An avid fan of collaborating with composers, Rachel has commissioned and premiered a wide variety of new solo works for oboe.
Teaching is equally important to Rachel's performance pursuits. She is currently on faculty at Glendale Community College and Pierce College in Los Angeles, and is also a Teaching Artist for The Harmony Project and Caesura Youth Orchestra. Rachel has taught music minors and non-majors at the University of Southern California, and also taught elementary musicianship through the USC Thornton Outreach program. In addition to her private oboe studio, Rachel has worked with oboists in the Esperanza Azteca Youth Orchestra, Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, and the Detroit Civic Youth Orchestra.
Rachel completed her doctorate at the University of Southern California, where she was a recipient of the Titi Najera de Mason scholarship, and received a special commendation for her academic focus in Music Education. She also completed her Masters of Music in Oboe Performance at USC, and graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Oboe Performance from the University of Michigan. Rachel’s primary teachers include Nancy Ambrose King, Allan Vogel, Marion Kuszyk, Joel Timm, David Weiss, and Erin Hannigan, and she has studied baroque oboe with Lot Demeyer and Paul Sherman. She is currently a proud resident of Echo Park, CA.