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 20th 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 2006, at the invitation of acclaimed American soprano, Jessye Norman, Ms. Worby conducted both the China Philharmonic Orchestra in Beijing and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra accompanying Ms. Norman in her first appearances in mainland China. The programs presented Ms. Norman’s signature arias to sold-out houses. The musical relationship between Ms. Norman and Ms. Worby continues to flourish. They appear together at music festivals and concert halls throughout the world.
During her tenure as Music Director of the Pasadena Pops from 2000-2010 Rachael Worby was instrumental in the expansion of 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 since 2001 and brought the orchestra to the Rose Bowl July 4th celebrations. She expanded the institution’s outreach programs to underserved communities, securing significant ongoing funding for programs in South Central Los Angeles and in Pasadena.
Starting in 2011-12 Ms. Worby will create new and diverse community-based programming at the Broad Theatre in Santa Monica, California and will also appear at the Asheville BRAVO Festival. A season highlight will include an orchestral concert in Washington D.C. in celebration of International Women’s Day.
In her years as a conductor, Worby has constructed an enviable record as both an outstanding program creator and an audience builder. As leader of her Orchestras she is responsible for enticing renowned celebrity personalities to collaborate with her in performance. These include U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, singer Jubilant Sykes, astronaut Sally Ride, Tony winner Rene Auberjonois, Emmy winners Carl Reiner, Valerie Harper and Holland Taylor, and singers Andrea Marcovicci, Oscar-nominated Lainie Kazan and Golden Globe-nominated Joely Fisher to join her performances. She delights her sold-out audiences with eclectic and memorable concerts crossing a multitude of musical genres and styles.
In 2009 at the request of the Festival’s curator, Jessye Norman, Ms. Worby served on the Honorary Committee of Carnegie Hall’s HONOR! Festival for which she served as artistic advisor for numerous events and served as 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 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.