Rachael Worby - Artistic Director & Principal Conductor
Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “inspiring and accessible” Rachael Worby is that rare conductor who is a skilled communicator with a wide range of repertoire that appeals to audiences everywhere. Distinguished as a visionary in the orchestral world, she is celebrated internationally for her extraordinary talents and exuberant style, as well as her versatile command of all musical genres-symphonic, operatic, pops, classics, and 21st century. A dedicated orchestra builder, she is credited with the remarkable growth of organizations under her leadership. She is an unforgettable, inspiring and charismatic presence on the podium.
Rachael Worby’s dynamic energy, coupled with the highly successful results she has achieved with diverse organizations, has served to create a demand for her skills on the international level. As a guest conductor, she has led orchestras throughout Europe, South America, Australia and Asia.
In March 2011, Ms. Worby founded MUSE/IQUE in order to bring fresh perspective to live music and multidisciplinary arts. A notable facet of MUSE/IQUE’s work is Ms. Worby's style of direct communication with all audiences and an enlightening curatorial approach to mixing together an eclectic range of artists and genres. MUSE/IQUE aims to redefine the notion of civic orchestra by imagining orchestral events as ephemeral living art installations in public spaces. A vibrant and festive Summer Concert Series is presented on Caltech’s Beckman Mall and the “Uncorked Series” is presented throughout the year in iconic locales throughout the Los Angeles area. This “Uncorked Series” is a new conceptualization of the intimate and interactive “salon event” which seeks to surprise participants with unexpected and curatorial approaches to performance. The entirety of MUSE/IQUE events have featured a total "mash-up" experience with our orchestra and such exuberant artists as Miss Jessye Norman, Angela Bassett, Rickie Lee Jones, The Doric String Quartet, Arturo Sandoval, Charlie Haden, Flea, Matt Haimovitz, Wendie Malick, Michael Martin Murphey, Pattie Austin, Steven Page and more. MUSE/IQUE also embraces works of living composers such as Laura Karpman, Peter Knell, Ben Lear, Michael Brooke, etc.
During her tenure as Music Director of the Pasadena Pops Orchestra (2000-2010) Rachael Worby expanded the orchestra’s performance season, as well as its national and local profiles. She quadrupled the number of yearly concerts played, developed new programs, dramatically increased audience attendance, instituted annual free-to-the-public concerts on the steps of Pasadena City Hall, and secured dynamic corporate sponsorship. She brought national attention to the orchestra by appearing in the internationally televised Rose Bowl Parades and brought the orchestra to the Rose Bowl July 4th celebrations.
A hallmark or Ms. Worby's career has been her activist belief that education and community engagement work of American Symphony Orchestras is inseparable from and essential to main season offerings. In addition to the grand concert halls, Ms. Worby has led the world's best musicians in performances everywhere from the coal fields of West Virginia to community centers in Harlem and South Central Los Angeles.
In 2006, at the invitation of acclaimed American soprano, Miss Jessye Norman, Ms. Worby conducted both the China Philharmonic Orchestra in Beijing and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra accompanying Miss Norman in her first appearances in mainland China. The programs presented Miss Norman’s signature arias to sold-out houses. The musical relationship between Miss Norman and Ms. Worby continues to flourish. They appear together at music festivals and concert halls throughout the world.
Other guest conducting positions have included the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Barcelona Opera Orchestra, Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Israel Opera Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra, National Romanian Opera Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia, New York City Ballet, Norddeutscher Rundfunk-Hannover, Orquesta Sinfonica de Medellin, Québec Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic, Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz and Transylvania Philharmonic.
Ms. Worby first rose to prominence during her 17 year tenure as music director and conductor of the Symphony Orchestra in Wheeling, West Virginia. She also served as music director and conductor of the Young Peoples' Concerts at Carnegie Hall and as assistant conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
In 2009 at the request of the festival’s curator, Ms. Worby served on the Honorary Committee of Carnegie Hall’s HONOR! Festival, for which she served as artistic advisor for numerous events and as a guest panelist. She has been honored with many awards, including the Spirit of Achievement from Albert Einstein College and the Women of Excellence award from the YWCA, the degree of Doctor of Humanities, honorus causa from Marshall University, the degree of Doctor of Letters, honorus causa from Claremont University and the Presidential Medal of Honor for her consummate lifetime achievements from Claremont University.
Rachael Worby was honored to receive a Presidential appointment to the National Council of the Arts, on which she served for four years. In 1990, she was nominated for an ACE Award for two programs she created, narrated and conducted for the Disney Channel.
In addition, as First Lady of West Virginia (1990-1997), Worby created and hosted the nationally-acclaimed Arts and Letters Series, an admission-free, live series, broadcast on public television which presented Carl Sagan, Tom Wicker, Jesse Jackson, Andrew Young, Bob Woodward, Taylor Branch, Harry Belafonte, The American Boy Choir and dozens of other luminaries. She also led a ground breaking state wide campaign, "Thanks A Million", to raise one million dollars to eradicate illiteracy and is responsible for the creation, in perpetuity, of The Governor's School for the Arts.