The seventh of eight children growing up in a house full of art, music, and bicycles in Davenport Iowa, Rachel Niketopoulos began playing the horn at age 11. She studied horn performance at the Universities of Iowa and Missouri (Kansas City). As a student, she attended the Music Academy of the West, the Sarasota Music Festival, and the Aspen Music Festival. She also toured Europe with the New World Symphony (where she met her future husband) and the North Carolina School of the Arts Orchestra. After seven seasons with the Virginia Symphony and Opera, she joined the North Carolina Symphony in 2005. She performs regularly with the NC Symphony Wind Quintet, and was a soloist with the Orchestra in performances of Schumann’s Konzertstuck for four horns.
Trained at the Alexander Alliance in Philadelphia, she has been a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique for over 10 years. She maintains a busy schedule of private lessons, and gives workshops for musicians all over North Carolina and Virginia, including the UNC School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, and recent Southeast Horn Workshops at Appalachian State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and UNC-Greensboro. She works with Yoga students at Global Breath Yoga in Durham, teaching Alexander Technique and Anatomy. She volunteers with the Jobstart program in Raleigh, where she teaches yoga and mindfulness to 10 women inmates every Monday.
She married her horn section colleague Christopher Caudill at the Outer Banks, and they love living in North Carolina. As a duo, Rachel and Chris have performed on both Baroque and Natural horns with North Carolina Baroque Orchestra and the Brussels Chamber Orchestra, playing copies of horns from 18th and early 19th-century Paris.
Together, they have rescued two extremely sweet girl dogs, and more than a few cute cats.