The department is excited to welcome Rachel Niketopoulos as Lecturer of Horn. Professor Niketopoulos is currently the fourth horn for the North Carolina Symphony and has been since 2003. She has performed with the North Carolina Symphony Woodwind Quintet since 2006. In addition to performances with numerous ensembles throughout the country, she has performed at a number of summer music festivals including Indiana University Natural Horn summer workshops, Aspen Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, and Sarasota Music Festival. Get to know Professor Niketopoulos a bit better and see what she had to say about joining the music department faculty!
What is your position on faculty and what courses are you teaching this year?
My position is Lecturer of Horn. I’m teaching private lessons and a horn studio class.
What is your favorite part of teaching?
When I teach horn, my favorite part is figuring out how best to teach to the individual student. I’ve been teaching for a long time, and it’s a bit like solving a puzzle. Every student responds differently, learns differently, and has different interests. What motivates one student may not another, and it’s a challenge to discover the path each student may want to follow.
What is your favorite part of research and performance with the horn?
I am immensely interested in the early horn. I started learning the natural or “hand” horn when I was a student, and it has fascinated me ever since. I love history and it’s exciting to think about what the horn players sounded like 200 and 300 years ago. It’s also an incredible teaching tool for getting students to move their air through the open pathways of the early horn tubing! No valves to get in the way!
What is the project that you’re most excited about currently?
I’m excited about getting my students together to play orchestral excerpts, duos, trios, and quartets. There is a lot of great music written for horns in small groups and I want my students to have the thrill of playing it.
What are some of your non-musical hobbies?
My non-musical hobby is Breath Work and Alexander Technique. I am a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique and yoga. I am extremely interested in helping people learn how to breathe to release stress and improve functioning – both physical and mental.
If your students could learn one thing from you, what do you hope it will be?
If my students could learn ONE thing from me, it would be to learn how to breathe better both with the horn and away from the horn.
What music are you currently listening to?
I am currently listening to Baroque double horn concertos in preparation for a concert I’ll play with my husband Christopher and the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra.
Anything else you’d like students to know about you or your teaching?
I would want my students to know that I love cats and dogs, and I have some of each! Also, that my approach to music and horn has always been to find the joy in it.