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Rachel Whelan

b. 1992

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Composer Rachel Lanik Whelan (b. 1992) writes lyrical, honest, narrative-driven music. Much of her work is written in collaboration with living poets; she has had the pleasure of setting the words of Paul L. Thomas, Katherine Cooley, and Jehanne Dubrow. A child of English majors, she strives to honor and elevate texts through melody, gesture, and repetition. Her music has been performed by Choral Arts Initiative (California), SBO Wind Ensemble (Taiwan), KC Vitas Choir (Kansas City), and she has opened for singer-songwriter Susan Werner at the Johnny Carson Theatre in Lincoln, Nebraska. Her instrumental music is an exploration in color and character and is full of delightfully unpredictable grooves.

Passionate about arts management and administration, she has worked as an administrator or intern for the Cortona Sessions for New Music (Cortona, Italy), Savvy Arts Venture (Columbia, SC), and the Lied Center for Performing Arts (Lincoln, NE). As an undergraduate researcher, she connected writers with student composers and coordinated music in celebration of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Press annual Book Prize. She received her master of music degree from the University of South Carolina, studying composition in addition to coordinating the New Voices student composer concerts and the Southern Exposure New Music Series.

She is currently a PhD student and teaching fellow in composition at the University of North Texas in Denton, TX. Her current research and compositions involve exploring emotions and characters in music for voice. Her dedication to the performance of music by living composers is further evident in her work as Assistant Director for the non-profit concert series Treefalls: New Music in Spartanburg, South Carolina. A typical optimist, she's frequently inspired by the upsides of life: riding her bike on a sunny morning, solo travel, exceptional food, and talented, spirited friends. When not composing, she can be found in these activities. She occasionally performs on flute, piano, or voice. Her teachers in composition include Kirsten Broberg, Sungji Hong, Mandy Fang, John Fitz Rogers, and Jesse Jones. Her primary flute teachers have been Carolyn Cline Corbett and Laura Schulkind. To hear her music, purchase scores, or commission a work, please visit

Bio by Rachel Whelan


4 min 30 sec

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