Dr. Rachel Hockenberry is the Assistant Professor of Horn at Illinois State University. Since moving to Illinois in 2018, Rachel has performed with the Heartland Festival Orchestra, Quad Cities Symphony, Champaign-Urbana Symphony, and the Stiletto Brass Quintet. Prior to 2018, Rachel enjoyed a busy career throughout Southern California and Cincinnati, Ohio as a horn performer and music educator. She has performed with the Columbus Symphony, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Kentucky, Santa Barbara Symphony, Fresno Philharmonic, Redlands Symphony, Pacific Opera Project, Opera San Luis Obispo, Golden State Pops, Wind Orchestra of the West, Southeast Symphony, and Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay. She is principal horn of the Queen City Opera, where in October of 2015 she had the distinct pleasure of performing the infamous “Long Call” from Act II of Richard Wagner’s Siegfried.  She has also performed with artists such as Billy Idol, Pete Townshend, and Jon Batiste, and has recorded for television series. 

Before transitioning to Illinois State, Rachel was the horn professor at Pasadena City College and Los Angeles City College, and kept a large private studio of young hornists throughout Los Angeles County who successfully auditioned into the California All State and All Southern Bands and the Colburn Youth Orchestra. She incorporates elements of El Sistema - a music education philosophy based on the belief that music is a transformative and fundamental human right for all people - into every aspect of her teaching career. Rachel is a graduate of the Sistema Fellows Program at the New England Conservatory of Music, and has completed residencies with El Sistema programs in Venezuela and across the United States. Upon graduation from the Sistema Fellowship, she became the founding director of Kentucky’s first El Sistema inspired program, North Limestone MusicWorks. 

A Virginia native, Rachel received her bachelors degree in horn performance from James Madison University. She earned her masters and doctoral degrees in horn performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she also completed cognate studies in arts administration.  Primary teachers include Randy Gardner, Tom Sherwood, Liz Freimuth, Duane Dugger and Abigail Pack, with additional instruction from David Ohanian and Roger Kaza.