Rachel Godsill was born in Yorkshire, UK, and began her singing in the local parish church choir. She read music at Selwyn College, Cambridge where she was a Choral Exhibitioner, and was subsequently a prize-winning vocal student at the Royal College of Music.
Since leaving RCM, Rachel has studied with Sheila Barnes and Alison Wells and has been in demand as a recitalist and oratorio soloist, performing in major concert venues throughout the UK and Europe.
Highlights of last year’s season took her to the Czech Republic for a recital of Smetana and Janacek with the Prague University Orchestra, to Budapest for a recital at the 2014 Viola d’amore Congress and to Beijing and Shanghai for performances of Britten’s Peter Grimes and War Requiem (Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Charles Dutoit).
Rachel’s oratorio repertoire encompasses Bach and Handel through Mozart and Rossini to Tippett and Orff. This year’s season includes performances ofCarmina Burana and Poulenc Gloria (University concert hall, Cambridge), Handel’s Messiah (Choir 2000), Bach’s St John Passion (Stratford-upon-Avon) and a recital tour of French and Spanish song with the pianist Marie-Noelle Kendall. She is equally at home with contemporary repertoire and many pieces have been especially composed for her. She has performed Saariaho’sLa Passion de Simone in the Barbican, UK and Lincoln Centre, New York under the direction of Peter Sellars, works by Lutoslawski and Penderecki at the Lugano Music Festival with Terry Edwards and can be heard on the soundtrack for many films including Harry Potter, The Hobbit and Star Wars!
Within ensembles Rachel has worked with Richard Hickox, Simon Rattle, Roger Norrington, Emmanuelle Haim, Charles Mackerras, Ivan Fischer, and Vladimir Jurowski, performing with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, European Voices, Collegium Musicum 90, Le Concerts d’Astre, Birmingham Symphony Orchestra , The Schutz Choir, London Voices and The Academy of Ancient Music.
Rachel Stott lives and works in London, UK. She attended Wells Cathedral School and read music at Churchill College, Cambridge, taking composition classes with Hugh Wood and Robin Holloway. She then pursued postgraduate studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, studying viola with David Takeno and Michaela Comberti, but also managing to infiltrate classes in composition, ethnomusicology, jazz and early music, thus gaining a broader education than was perhaps intended by the establishment.
Rachel has pursued a career as violist and composer, performing with both contemporary and early music ensembles and writing for a diverse range of instruments, including viols, cornetts and sackbuts, lutes, ocarinas, viola d’amore and baryton, as well as the more conventional instruments of the modern orchestra. She has composed song cycles, string quartets, (No. 1 for the Fitzwilliam Quartet, No. 2 for the Dante Quartet and No.3 for the Callino Quartet), chamber music works, orchestral works and an opera for children, The Cuckoo Tree, based on the book by Joan Aiken. Her music has been performed at the London South Bank, Wigmore Hall, St John’s Smith Square, festivals across the UK, and in continental Europe, North America and Japan. A record-breaking work, Odysseus in Ogygia, for an ensemble of six violas d’amore, was presented at the 2012 Viola d’amore Congress in Innsbruck, and in the same year Several World, for massed saxophones, was performed at the World Saxophone Congress in St Andrews, Scotland.
Ideas for Rachel’s compositions have come from a wide range of sources: historical, artistic, literary, scientific and medical, including a music theatre piece about the Jewish East End, a vocal and instrumental work which connects the Queen’s accession with the history of the Great Western Railway, and an instrumental piece describing the procedure of Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio Pancreatography. In 2003 she held a residency as a composer at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, funded by the Performing Right Society Foundation, which led to Gulliver’s Ear for string trio, inspired by watching an operation on the ear.
Rachel is the viola player of the Revolutionary Drawing Room, the Bach Players, the duo Sopriola (soprano and viola d’amore) and Trio Notturno (flute, viola, guitar). She also plays regularly with Ludus Baroque.
Aside from her professional work Rachel enjoys walking, swimming, baking and reading. She attends an adult education class in Ancient Greek and recently learned how to pluck a goose.