Best known for her moving and virtuosic performances on a huge range of flutes, Rachel Brown is an acknowledged authority on historical performance practice, an inspirational teacher and an entertaining and illuminating speaker.
Whilst training on modern flute at Manchester University and the Royal Northern College of Music with Trevor Wye she won numerous prizes leading to performances of flute concertos by Ibert and Nielsen and went on to win the coveted American National Flute Association’s Young Artist Competition. She gave first performances of works by Robin Walker, John Ogden, Judith Weir and, for the Park Lane Group, Barry Guy. However, her interest in early music had already been captured by her recorder teacher, Ross Winters, naturally leading to study of the baroque flute with Lisa Beznosiuk and Stephen Preston and an exploration of the many diverse classical and nineteenth-century flutes.
Rachel’s recital discs of French Baroque Music and Quantz Sonatas established her reputation and her recording of virtuosic works by Schubert and Boehm on simple-system, ring-keyed and Boehm alto flutes has been described as ‘a revelation’. As a soloist she has recorded extensively and toured in Europe, Japan and North America with a comprehensive concerto repertoire from J.S. Bach, Vivaldi and Telemann to Mozart. She has given many performances of the newly discovered Handel Flute Concerto and her championing of the works of the Berlin School has reawakened interest in the largely unknown masterpieces by Quantz. Her dazzling recordings of the Quantz and C.P.E. Bach Concertos have won international acclaim. Most recently, her recording of the CPE Bach D minor concerto was voted best by Polish radio.
Rachel appears on many Telemann discs with Collegium Musicum 90 and her recording of the complete Handel flute and recorder sonatas op.1 with the Academy of Ancient Music has been described as “enchanting”. She has recorded Bach’s B minor Suite twice, with the Brandenburg Consort and the Academy of Ancient Music. Rachel is a founder member and soloist with the London Handel Players with whom she has recorded Geminiani sonatas op.1 and three discs of Handel’s chamber music, described as ‘perfection itself’.
Equally at home in the wind section, Rachel has had a long and distinguished career as an orchestral player; first, on silver flute, with the orchestra of Kent Opera and for many years as principal flute with the Academy of Ancient Music, the Hanover Band, the Kings Consort, Collegium Musicum 90, Ex Cathedra, the Brandenburg Consort and Arcangelo. An occasional guest principal with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the English Concert, the erstwhile London Classical Players and orchestras abroad such as the Nederlands Bach Vereniging and the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Rachel has also appeared as soloist with Arte dei Suonatori in Poland, the Haydn Akademie in Austria, Concerto Copenhagen in Denmark and Germany and the Croatian Baroque Ensemble in Zagreb.
A dedicated teacher, Rachel has given masterclasses in the USA, Canada, Sweden, Poland, Spain, Ireland, Holland, Switzerland and New Zealand. She taught for many years at the Royal Northern College of Music, and later at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, the Birmingham Conservatoire and as lecturer in classical studies at the Guildhall School. She is currently professor of baroque flute at the Royal College of Music in London. Rachel is author of the Cambridge University Press handbook to The Early Flute and has composed cadenzas for the new Bärenreiter edition of the Mozart Flute Concertos.
Following great interest in her research, Rachel has published two volumes of her favourite Quantz sonatas, supported by subscribers worldwide.
Rachel launched Uppernote, her own recording label and publishing house, with a tour de force recording of the complete Telemann Fantasias and another new disc of Quantz. Her recording of Bach Flute Sonatas and Arias is due for release shortly.