Violin and Viola
Violinist/Violist Rachel Hauser has been a tenured member of the Madison Symphony Orchestra since 2007. She also plays with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the South Florida Symphony Orchestra, the Lacrosse Symphony Orchestra and the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra where she previously served as Principal 2nd Violin.
As a chamber musician, Ms. Hauser has been featured in recitals throughout the world including France, Holland, Finland and Italy. She has twice performed as a guest artist on the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s faculty recital series and is a founding member of the Willy Street Chamber Players. Additionally, she has been featured in multiple live chamber music recitals on Wisconsin Public Radio and her recordings with the Willy Street Chamber Players are broadcast regularly throughout the state.
Dividing her time between Madison and New York City, Ms. Hauser recently performed at Bargemusic’s “Here and Now” series, the Queens Library Concert Series and the Composers Voice series at the Firehouse Space. She also performs regularly with the Astoria Music Project in Queens, NY.
As a student, Ms. Hauser served as a member of the Graduate string quartet in residence at the University of Wisconsin Madison from 2009-2011 and performed regularly with the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s HeartStrings quartet offering music therapy informed concerts to individuals with special needs and long-term illnesses. From 2002-2006 she attended the Fontainebleau Schools in France performing on faculty recitals and earning awards for excellence in chamber music.
When not playing music, Ms. Hauser is an active fundraising professional. Starting as part of the development staff of the Madison Symphony Orchestra, she eventually formed her own consulting business. In addition to an international consulting career that serves extraordinary non-profit music organizations of all kinds, Ms. Hauser now serves on the Board of Directors of Musicambia, a program dedicated to designing creative musical curricula for incarcerated individuals currently housed in prisons and jails throughout the United States.
Rachel is an alumna of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, the Utrecht Conservatory of Music in the Netherlands, and The University of Wisconsin-Madison; Her primary teachers include David Perry, Masuko Ushioda, Richard Wolfe and Louise Behrend.
What is your favorite piece of chamber music?
That depends on the day, the city, and the color of my shoes. When I’m feeling light and easy walking through Capitol Square my ideal playlist revolves around Mozart late quartets and Beethoven Op.18’s. On those days I’m usually wearing subdued colors and basic heels. Other times when I’m walking through a big city like New York or Chicago and sporting my bright colored pumps, I prefer later works like the Britten Oboe Phantasy or the Hindemith Quartets. This week I’m all about the Fauré piano quartet in C minor.
When did you know you wanted to be a musician?
For me there wasn’t a specific moment where lighting struck and I realized I wanted to be a musician. It was more about hitting adulthood and realizing that I couldn’t feel good about myself doing anything else. These days it’s almost impossible to devote your entire life to performing classical music, but that doesn’t stop me from making it the thing that defines my professional identity. Every “day job” and life decision is made around whether or not I can play my viola. When I realized I couldn’t take on anything in life that kept me from playing music, I became a musician.
What is your favorite Madison restaurant and why do you like to eat there?
I’m an Atwood girl so I hit the Victory coffee shop every morning. As a native New Yorker it’s a reminder of home. The baristas always compliment my crazy outfits too, which is a huge plus. You’ll often find me eating at Green Owl, Tex Tubs or Stalzy’s, Maintaining a typical New York City existence in Madison, my house has a beautiful kitchen, but because the restaurants in my neighborhood are all so good, I rarely ever use anything other than the microwave to reheat my leftovers. #Madisonproblems
What’s playing on your iPod right now?
I mostly listen to music in the car and I really like 105.5 MMM. I was in high school from 1997-2001 and they play a lot of alternative rock from that period throughout the day. I get all nostalgic and happy when I hear 1995 Dave Matthews Band on the radio. I really like oldies too (though I realize these days ‘Dave’ probably qualifies as an oldie himself). I listen to a lot of Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye.
What would you have been if not a musician?
Is this in a magical world where I’m more than 5 feet tall? I would have gone into the fashion industry— no question. I love design and I waste a lot of time going through magazines and blogs studying trends. I have no talent for actually designing anything but I’m pretty good at shopping. Not to brag but I’m actually kind of a virtuoso shopper, I think I could pretty much do that non-stop if I didn’t have other bills to pay.
Where can you find me when I’m not at WSCP?
My favorite thing about Madison is how easy it is to walk places. I’m always walking around the lakes and in all of the cute little neighborhoods on the east side. I like to look at houses and dream about living in them. Otherwise I’m out with my friends in one of the many awesome bars and restaurants around town.
What’s your favorite part about WSCP
This group was a game-changer for me. When I was a kid I always played in chamber music groups. It was my whole life. When I graduated from UW’s graduate quartet program I suddenly found myself playing with incredible orchestras but not a single small ensemble. Don’t get me wrong, I love my orchestra work, but I missed the intimacy of small ensembles.
It’s very hard to work in chamber music because the job requires musicians to serve both as administrative staff and performers. When Paran approached me about founding this group, I knew immediately that she meant business. When Eleanor came on board as the third founder I knew we had all of the pieces in place. I couldn’t ask for a better team than these girls. It’s a lot of work, but every day I feel like I’m building something amazing with the most important friends in my life… And I get to play Shostakovich too!