Rachel Robinson Stegeman, a native of Washington D.C., began her violin studies at age 8. As a student of then National Symphony Concertmaster, William Steck, she quickly developed her performance skills, winning the opportunity to solo with the National Symphony Orchestra with the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. While establishing herself in the D.C. area in 1984-1989, she performed with the National Symphony and Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra (as well as many other orchestras in the area), performed in a string quartet at the White House, traveled to Rome to perform for the Pope, and later won orchestral auditions that led her to California, both with the Pacific and Sacramento Symphonies. After relocating in 1989 and accepting a principal position in the Pacific Symphony in Southern California, Stegeman gradually became one of the most sought after violinists in the recording industry, performing on sessions in the motion picture industry, as well as the television and record industries. She was also hired as a substitute in the Los Angeles Philharmonic for concerts and tours. Shortly thereafter, she won the position as Assistant Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the position of Assistant Concertmaster of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. While in Los Angeles, Stegeman performed in many live broadcasts and taped television work, for shows such as Jay Leno, Craig Kilborn, various local news programs, Days of Our Lives, the American Music Awards, VH-1 Awards, E.T. 50th Anniversary Live with Steven Spielberg and John Williams, and several years of The Academy Awards as an orchestral member. As a full time employed studio violinist, she performed in over 550 major motion picture soundtracks, 80 television shows, 300 records, as well as commercials for television, live performances broadcast on the radio, and other live concerts throughout the area. She has recorded many genres of music including classical music, chamber music, jazz, pop, R&B, contemporary jazz, easy listening, rock and roll, heavy metal, and movie soundtracks for over 100 labels worldwide.
In 2002 Stegeman moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and began serving as Adjunct Professor at Duquesne University in Applied Violin, Orchestral Literature and Repertoire, and Chamber Music. Currently she holds the positions of: Concertmaster of both the Youngstown Symphony and Wheeling Symphony, Associate Concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Ballet Orchestra. She is also very involved with the Pittsburgh Symphony, performing with them on many of their season concerts and international tours since 2009. She continues to be involved in several summer music festivals, both national and international, such as Sunflower Music Festival, Buzzards Bay Musicfest and previously the St. Barts Music Festival in the French West Indies. She continues her chamber music collaborations here in Pittsburgh and at music festivals with well-known artists who live around the world.
Stegeman has sent many of her students right into jobs, both in performing and teaching positions. Some orchestras where her students are employed part time or full time are: San Antonio Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Victoria Symphony, Chicago Civic Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony (2 students being hired as substitute musicians), Westmoreland Symphony, Erie Philharmonic, North Carolina Symphony, Wheeling Symphony, Johnstown Symphony, Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra, and the Pittsburgh Ballet Orchestra. Many of her music education students are employed locally in the North Allegheny School District, Moon School District, Upper Saint Clair, and other states such as New York and West Virginia.
In the last six years along with her husband, Charles Stegeman, she has created a new music festival: Violin and Viola Boot Camp, which is dedicated to the excellence of practice and performance techniques of young violinists. Also in 2020 their corporation, Fiddlers Too Inc. is launching a brand new program entitled: “Pump Up Your Practice”, a Summer Strings Institute, through Duquesne University. She maintains a large home studio of violinists and violists, hoping to instill a system of efficient practice techniques for young players.
Her instrument is a H. Fagnola violin (Italian) of the year 1923. Her teachers include Ramona Coppage, Leslye Gartrell, Luis Haza, William Steck, Robert Lipsett, and Sidney Harth. She studied music at Catholic University (in Washington D.C.) and graduated from Duquesne University in both Undergraduate and Graduate Violin Performance Degrees.
In her free time she enjoys family life with husband Charles Stegeman, and children: Gabbi (14), Adam (13), stepsons Luke (24), Mike (20), and West Highland Terrier Duncan (5).
(photo credit: nadinephotography.net)