Mission: To seek and share inspiration


Spotlight on Rachel Charbel


For this Spotlight we feature CSO Violinist (Ida Ringling North Chair) Rachel Charbel. In coming months we’ll continue to spotlight other musicians, patrons or leaders within the CSO and Pops community.



Tell us about your background prior to your position with the CSO and Pops.

I officially started working as a member of the second violin section this past September. Prior to joining the CSO I was a member of the Dayton Philharmonic and the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra. I was also a substitute with the Detroit and Louisville orchestras.

What have been some of your personal concert highlights since you started with the CSO?

Some of my personal highlights since I started with the CSO have been getting to perform at Lincoln Center and witnessing our Music Director, Louis Langrée, receive France’s highest decoration. One of my favorite subscription concerts in Cincinnati was when I was a substituted for Shostakovich’s 11th Symphony (also under the direction of Langrée). It was one of the most emotionally charged concerts that I have had the privilege of being a part of.

Are you involved in any musical activities beyond the CSO?

I am currently a member of the Corbett Quartet, the quartet in residence at Northern Kentucky University, with fellow CSO members Christian Colberg and Ilya Finkelshteyn. I also will be joining the Apollo Music Festival in Houston, Minnesota later this summer as a performer and lecturer.

What are some of your non-musical hobbies or interests?

Some of my non-musical hobbies and interests include restoring our 1898 Victorian in Northside with my husband and baking pies from scratch.

If you could trade jobs with anyone for a week, who would it be and why?

If I could trade jobs with anyone for a week it would be my sister—she helps maintain trails and waterways for the Washington State parks system and helps construct salmon ladders.

What three pieces of music could you not live without?

The three pieces of music I could not live without are Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet Ballet, Brahms’ Fourth Symphony and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto.

Where can we find you on a day off?

On a day off you can typically find me in the Mt. Airy Forest hiking with my dog or at the Northside Tavern catching up with my neighbors.

Any favorite Cincinnati haunts?

My favorite Cincinnati haunts include (but are not limited to) Eli’s BBQ, Melt, Findlay Market, Collective Espresso, Bonomini Bakery and Senate.

Where do you seek and find inspiration?

I seek and find inspiration by attending as many live performances as possible, classical or otherwise. I try and make sure that I’m staying current by watching as many Berlin Philharmonic videos as the internet will allow me while simultaneously catching up on the latest violin competition superstars. With that being said, I also feel incredibly inspired after watching the Punch Brothers and Alabama Shakes or listening to old Led Zeppelin recordings.

Anything else you’d like to add?

The last thing I would like to add is that my favorite Cincinnati-style chili is Camp Washington Chili!