Rachael Beesley is an internationally renowned Australian violinist, director and concertmaster.
She graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne – Bachelor of Arts in Music (1989), Graduate Diploma of Arts in Music (1991) studying with Spiros Rantos and from The Royal Conservatoire, The Hague, The Netherlands – Master of Music (1999) studying with Sigiswald Kuijken, Elizabeth Wallfisch and Vera Beths.
Rachael is a talented and versatile violinist and musician who has devoted her life to performing, teaching, and researching and has become one of the world leaders in the field of historically informed performance (HIP). She is well known throughout the world, a regular member of some of Europe’s finest ensembles, including as guest concertmaster with Anima Eterna Brugge, Les Muffatti, La Petite Bande, Il Complesso Barocco, Bach Concentus, Restoration Company and the New Dutch Academy as well as performing regularly with Les Arts Florissants, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Combattimento Consort.
Based in Australia since 2009, Rachael is a guest concertmaster of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Pinchgut Opera, Opera Australia and Victorian Opera for performances on period instruments, as well as concerts of the St John and St Matthew Passions presented by the Melbourne Recital Centre. She co-founded the ensemble Ironwood in 2006 and regularly leads the chamber music ensembles Ludovico’s Band, Salut! Baroque and Accademia Arcadia.
Rachael is a wonderful director who has the expertise to present fascinating and colourful programs that will delight and educate audiences. She has therefore been invited to direct from the violin the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra (core member), Adelaide Chamber Players and NZBarok. Most recently, Rachael has co-launched orchestra seventeen88, specialising in Classical and Romantic repertoire on period instruments. She also has performed in Australia with Orchestra Victoria, Melbourne and Tasmanian Symphonies and the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
As a highly regarded and much sought after teacher and mentor, Rachael teaches at the Sydney and Melbourne Conservatoriums of Music, the School of Music Monash University, is the Kate Buchdahl Distinguished Artist in Residence, Adjunct Academic at the ANU School of Music, Canberra and guest director at the Australian National Academy of Music. She has inspired a new generation of Australian graduates who are forging successful careers in Europe, the US and in Australia. In the field of Historical Performance Practice and the unique area of Practising in Flow, she has been invited to speak at conferences in Australia, New Zealand and The Netherlands where she has taught at Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, The Netherlands since 2000.
Rachael is much in demand as a chamber musician and soloist, regularly collaborating with contemporary Australian composers as well as exploring repertoire from the 17th- to 20th-centuries on period instruments. Rachael performs in festivals throughout the world, notably winning prizes at both the Van Wassenaer Concours (1998) and the Festival van Vlaanderen Brugge Concours (1999). In 2000 she was awarded an Ian Potter Cultural Trust grant and since 2011 is listed in the Who’s Who of Australian Women. She has performed on broadcasts for the radio and television and on over 50 CDs for Harmonia Mundi, SONY, BIS, Accent, Pentatone, Et’Cetera, Centaur and ABC Classics.