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Dr. Rachel Becker

About Dr. Rachel Becker

Dr. Rachel Becker is Assistant Professor of Musicology and Oboe at Boise State University. She previously taught at the University of Cambridge in the UK. Rachel received her PhD from the University of Cambridge, and her MM in Oboe Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She also has an MPhil from the University of Oxford and completed her BA in Music with Highest Distinction at the University of Virginia.

At Boise State, Dr. Becker teaches oboe, undergraduate and graduate music history courses, and graduate seminars. Her oboe students benefit from credit-bearing reed-making classes alongside their lessons and studio classes. 

Dr. Becker’s research focuses on issues of genre, virtuosity, gender, popularity, and the development of woodwind instruments. She explores social and cultural influences on woodwind opera fantasias, including their reception history and the (positive and negative) emotional responses they have evoked contemporaneously and today, as well as the ways in which the composer-performers manipulated the operas they used. Future research plans include investigating the original performance spaces of these pieces, as well as the specific mechanics of instruction and performance of these intensely virtuosic works at the time in which they were composed.

Her publications include a chapter in Nineteenth-Century Programme Music (Brepols, 2019), an invited article in the July 2020 issue of the International Double Reed Society journal, and a review in Early Music. Dr. Becker is active in musicological societies and has presented with the American Musicological Society, the Royal Musical Association, and the Biennial International Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music. 

Dr. Becker remains active as a performing oboist. She has recently played with the Portland Opera, with the King’s College and St John’s College, Cambridge choirs and with the renowned Philharmonia Orchestra as a part of the King’s College 500 celebrations. She has worked with conductors including Sir Roger Norrington, Peter Donohoe, Paul Daniel, and Howard Shelley, and has performed in Cadogan Hall and King’s Place, London. She also performed at the Victoria and Albert Museum where she premiered Tim Watts’ opera Kepler’s Trial.