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Hochstein String Faculty – Rachel Mills

Instrument: cello

Joined Hochstein faculty in: 2019 - 2023


Rachel Mills is a Rochester-based cello teacher, performer, and artist. A native of the area, she grew up through Hochstein’s orchestral, chamber music, and lesson programs. Mills received her bachelor's degree in cello performance from Oberlin Conservatory where she studied with Amir Eldan. While at Oberlin, she was a secondary lesson teacher and taught through the string prep department. Mills went on to study with Jan Ype Nota and Michel Strauss at the Royal Conservatoire of the Hague in the Netherlands, where she was the recipient of a Holland Scholarship and Excellence Scholarship.  

Mills is passionate about finding creative ways to inspire younger audiences to engage with classical music. She has traveled to Panama three times to teach and perform in connection with La Asociación Nacional de Conciertos and was invited as a faculty member to the SA’ Oaxaca Strings International Music Festival in Mexico. 

Mills is the cello teaching artist for ROCmusic, a Rochester city music program modeled after Venezuela’s El Sistema. She is also on faculty at The Hochstein School.

As a performing and visual artist, Mills has the same goal: to bring out the depth of emotion in a piece in a way that connects with an audience. To do so, she mixes musical periods, art disciplines, and performance settings. Mills has participated in advanced and fellowship chamber programs across the United States and the Netherlands and worked with award-winning groups ranging from the Grammy-nominated Chiara Quartet to the Grammy Award-winning Punch Brothers. 


More About Rachel Mills


Hometown: Webster, NY

What inspires me: Seeing the joy and pride on students’ faces as they find success in a new skill.

Why the arts matter: The arts are a powerful means to cross bridges and connect people of different ages, backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs.

Favorite things to do in Rochester area: go walking on trails through local parks, particularly in autumn, and go out for ice cream!

When I’m not at Hochstein you can find me: playing with my adorable dog, Parker, drawing and crafting, playing board games and relaxing with friends and family (especially with ice cream!).

Favorite places to travel: Europe, Latin America – really anywhere! I love learning about and visiting new cultures and places!

Favorite movie: Inside Out

What people would be surprised to know about me: I was an Irish Dancer for 12 years and actually danced with the RPO for their St Patrick’s Day Pops Concert on a few occasions.