Rachel Panitch is a Boston-based violinist, improviser, composer, and teaching artist. She has been an artist-in-residence in neighborhoods, in schools, and in Zion National Park. Rachel uses her violin and voice to tell and translate stories. Her playing has been called “fearless” and brings together aural and written musical traditions.
Rachel performs Classical music with the Cardamom Quartet, is a dance fiddler with French Roast, and weaves stories with Thread Ensemble (an improvisatory trio of violins, voices and vibraphone) and with Grammy award-winner Bill Harley. Rachel’s fiddling can be heard on a PBS Utah Bucket List episode, and The Mosque in Morgantown, an Emmy-nominated PBS documentary soundtrack.
Rachel specializes in teaching improvisation and fiddling, and works regularly with a number of music education organizations and schools around Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In 2009, Rachel founded Rhode Island Fiddle Project, a free music program teaching traditional fiddle and dance music to students ages 7-17. Rachel continues to work with nationally-recognized Community MusicWorks in Providence, RI, where she completed a Fellowship that inspired and incubated RI Fiddle Project. She was chosen as a 2015-2017 Jubilation Fellow, a national award recognizing “individuals with an exceptional talent for helping young people feel fully alive through rhythm."
Rachel received her Masters of Music in Contemporary Improvisation from New England Conservatory, and holds a BA in Anthropology from Vassar College. She has studied with Carla Kihlstedt, Hankus Netsky, Nicholas Kitchen, Peter Row, and Tanya Kalmanovitch.
“Rachel is a beast.” - Tony Woodcock, past President of New England Conservatory
“Rachel has that ‘thing' -- spirit, energy, love. She has great talent but combined with heart and enthusiasm.” - Ned Boyer, musician
"I had the pleasure of attending one of Rachel's performances. In addition to her music being beautiful to listen to, the program was varied, interesting, and entertaining. She...tailor[ed] her program to her audience, and she was delightful, warm, and inviting….anyone who has the privilege of hearing her is in for a big treat!" -Carol Ehrlich, audience member
"I am excited for the lesson time we spend together and I see improvements every week… Rachel’s patience and attention to detail brings fiddle music to life for me." - John DeBaie, student