Harpist Dr. Rachel Brandwein is the winner of the 2014 Mu Phi Epsilon International Solo Competition, and as Concert Artist is performing and giving outreach classes throughout the United States from 2014-2016. Rachel is on faculty at Luther College, College of Saint Benedict & Saint John's University, Mount Calvary Academy of Music, and at Interlochen Center for the Arts during their summer camp sessions. Among her performance and musical composition accomplishments are first prizes and grants in numerous regional and national competitions sponsored by Mu Phi Epsilon, the American Harp Society, and the American String Teachers Association.
As well as performing in Ireland and China, Rachel has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra under conductors Osmo Vänskä, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Yan Pascal Tortelier, and Mark Wigglesworth. She has also performed with VocalEssence and Philip Brunelle, the National Lutheran Choir, and ensembles throughout the country. As part of the Allied Concert Services Tours, in 2013 she embarked on a nine-state tour with Trio Matisse (flute, cello, harp) and is continuing to perform with the trio. As the harpist in the Branderson Duo, she enjoys performing her original and arranged works with her trombone partner Dr. David Peterson. They were awarded a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board and in 2016 world premiered a commissioned work by Dr. Paul Salerni as well as completed a residency at Lehigh University.
By invitation from the American Harp Society, Rachel performed a full recital of her original works at the 2014 National Harp Conference. Apple Orange Pair, a professional horn and harp duo, commissioned her to write a work for them which was funded by the American Harp Society. This same work also received the top prize in the 2015 Mu Phi Epsilon Original Composition Contest Former Winners category. Rachel's compositions have been performed throughout the country, such as at The Juilliard School, University of Michigan, University of Indiana, University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory, University of Minnesota, Western Illinois University, Kansas State University, Sacramento State University, and at Interlochen Center for the Arts. Her works are published on her website: rachelbrandwein.com.
Rachel earned degrees from University of Michigan (BM), The Juilliard School (MM), and Stony Brook University (DMA), as well as studying for one year in Paris and Lyon, France. At the Stony Brook Music Department's doctoral commencement ceremony, she was awarded the prestigious Ackerman Award for Excellence in Graduate Studies for high accomplishment in performance and pedagogy. Rachel's goal as a teacher is to help her students appreciate and fulfill their artistic potential with confidence, creativity, and dedication.