Born in Wiltshire, Rachael initially wanted to learn the cello but, as there wasn’t one in the school cupboard, she took up the oboe at the age of eight instead.
As a sixth form pupil at Wells Cathedral School in Somerset, Rachael had lessons with Irene Pragnell. Whilst studying for a joint degree at Manchester University and the Royal Northern College of Music she learnt with Jonathan Small and Tom Davey before completing a postgraduate year at the Musikhochschule in Basel with Omar Zoboli. She won BBC Radio 2 Young Musician of the Year in 1999 which led to several solo appearances with the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Before joining the CBSO, Rachael was in the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra for 12 years. Whilst there, she featured as Cor Anglais soloist on recordings of John Casken’s Infanta Marina on the Metier label and William Alwyn’s Autumn Legend for Cor Anglais and Strings for Naxos. She joined the CBSO in March 2013 and in addition to her work with the orchestra, Rachael is an examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and is also kept busy by her two young daughters, Isabelle and Lucy.