Young Austin Cellist, Rachel Rivera, joins the ACGYO as Soloist

Rachel RiveraRachel Rivera, from Anderson High School, will join the Austin Classical Guitar Youth Orchestra this Sunday in a performance of selections from Musica notturna delle strade di Madrid (Night Music of the Streets of Madrid) by Luigi Boccherini. Originally written for string quintet, this will be the premiere performance of an arrangement by Dr. Chris Lee for guitar orchestra and solo cello.

Rachel wrote the following article to share her thoughts on the piece and playing with the ACGYO: 

It was such an honor to be asked to be a cello soloist with the Austin Classical Guitar Youth Orchestra! I was immediately excited to get started once I saw we would be performing an arrangement of three movements from Boccherini’s Musica nocturne delle strade di Madrid. This would be more than a chance to learn a wonderful piece of music. The opportunity to perform with such a unique ensemble would be special, too.

I first met with the orchestra director, Dr. Joe Williams, to go over the music. He is a very kind person and immediately put me at ease. In addition, he had wonderful thoughts and inspiring insights about the music. As much as I enjoyed working with Dr. Williams, the best part of this experience by far was actually playing with the orchestra.

I’ve only had one experience playing with a classical guitarist before and really had no idea what to expect. When I walked into our first rehearsal together and heard them playing, I was absolutely amazed! The guitarists in the ACGYO range in age, but all of them sound so lovely together. They blend their sounds so well and I could tell that they all enjoyed being there and making music. Everyone was so eager to give their own input as well, which is extremely important in a musical group. As a student myself, it always makes me happy playing in a group with musicians who are able to articulate their own ideas on ways to improve a piece.

Not only are the people wonderful but the music is as well. This is a fantastic arrangement and the writing does much to incorporate the guitar sound along with my cello part. I have greatly enjoyed my time working with Dr. Williams and the ACGYO. This has been such a memorable experience and I’m looking forward to performing with these fabulous musicians on Sunday!


As both a cellist and pianist, 17 year old Rachel Rivera has a deep love of music. She started piano at age 7 and added cello 3 years later. Rachel’s passion for chamber music was born from playing with Austin Chamber Music Center (ACMC) ensembles. She continues to perform with the ACMC in addition to Salon Concert’s CHAMPS program. Rachel is the cellist for the award winning Clementine Trio, which was featured on KMFA radio’s Kids Producing Kids program. The Clementine Trio was awarded the ACMC Merit Scholarship in 2011 and 2013. Rachel was also recently awarded the Felicity Coltman Scholarship Award. She is principal cellist in the Anderson High School orchestra. Her love of playing music with others extends to piano where Rachel and her duo partner were winners in the United States International Piano Duo Competition in 2008, 2009, and 2013. She has attended the Interlochen Center for the Arts Summer Program and the Killington Music Festival, Meadowmount School of Music, and Castleman Quartet Program. Rachel currently studies piano with Buffy Currens and cello with Amy Levine-Tsang. She loves spending time with her dog, Ivy and performing with her friends from the Clementine Trio, Saskia and Sofia.


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