Guy Farley (Composer for Film and TV)
“As a composer, arranger and producer of music for film and TV I get to work with the most talented musicians. Doing the music for the 2016 Paralympics was no small task. It required the re-record of the Sammy Davis Jnr Big Band song ‘Yes I Can’,to be performed by a new band of Paramusicians from around the globe, all of whom are disabled and none of whom had not performed together before. And, it had to work cut perfect with a fantastic film showing the Paralympians at their best.
From the moment I met Rachel, I knew I had found someone I could depend on to bring the band and the music together. She is a complete natural musician with a god given talent to play the piano brilliantly and by ear. Her ability to pick up, improvise and play in an instant is outstanding as is her natural sense of rhythm, all vital in Big Band swing.
At our first rehearsals I found myself leaning on Rachel to lead the way and whatever I asked of her musically, just poured out. With her wonderful endearing personality Rachel made the whole highly pressurised experience a pleasure and for me one of the greatest projects I have worked on. I am most looking forward to working with Rachel again on new and exciting musical productions.”
Douglas Finch (Pianist and Composer)
“I first heard Rachel play at the end of a summer course at Chetham’s International Piano Summer School and Festival in 2015. She improvised on the piano in various styles I suggested, and then on specific melodies. I felt immediately that she was one of the most special talents I’d ever come across.
The following year at Chetham’s Summer School I taught Rachel a few lessons on improvisation, and attended a performance she gave which included Liszt’s first Concert Etude, preceded by (at my suggestion) an improvised prelude, in the manner of 19th Century practice. I was very impressed by this prelude, approximately five minutes in length, which sounded like a finished composition - perhaps by Mendelssohn. Several people approached me after the performance to ask if I knew the composer of this beautiful piece and were dumbstruck when I told them that Rachel had just improvised it.
I have since become Rachel’s visiting improvisation teacher at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama for the past two years. My respect for her deep and broad musical knowledge, pianistic mastery and consulate creativity continues to grow with each visit. She is also a charming and considerate person, and it has been a real pleasure to work with her. She is very independent, positive and proactive, and doesn’t allow her visual disability to get in the way of her goals and ambitions. I believe that she is an extraordinary talent.”