Rachel Walker started playing the piano when she was seven and then began oboe lessons at the age of ten in England. At just 14, she passed ABRSM Grade 8 with Distinction on both instruments and also won a place at Chetham's School of Music for joint first study.
At Chetham's, she soon discovered her love of orchestral playing and changed to first study in oboe. By the age of 18 she had performed the Strauss Concerto at RNCM, given numerous recitals throughout Britain, engaged her own agent, and won the Lakewood/Colorado competition entitling her to six recitals and a concerto performance in Colorado USA, as well as a place at Cambridge University and a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Rachel Walker first completed her degree in Music at Cambridge and after winning a second scholarship, went on to postgraduate oboe studies at the RAM with Celia Nicklin and Douglas Boyd. She began working professionally with orchestras in London as soon as she left the RAM and played regularly with ECO, English National Ballet and RPO. She was also Principal Oboe of ECYO from 1994-1995 and of Athens Camerata in 1996.
In 1997 she moved to Germany, where she played as Principal with Philharmonia of the Nations until she was appointed Principal Oboe of SSO in 2001.
Since then, she has also performed as guest Principal with RSNO and has performed chamber music on various tours throughout Asia with Yo-Yo Ma.
Rachel Walker teaches the oboe at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music.