Rachel Hayward as been hailed as "Europe's Top Pan Woman" due to her unique achievements as a pan - player.
Rachel started playing pan in the mid-1980s with the highly successful school steel band - The Radcliffe Rollers, where she was encouraged and inspired by her teachers Richard Murphy and Neil Davison and tuner Michael "Natsy" Contant to create her first arrangements and compositions for solo and ensemble steel pans.
After leaving school she continued her classical conservatoire training at the Guildhall School of Music And Drama and she holds an MA (music performance) from the City University, London, where she is currently researching towards a doctorate in steel pan. Since 1996 she has focused exclusively on pan. Her unparalled credentials include winning the UK Soloists Competition, and performing throughout Europe and the Caribbean, most notably in Trinidad (the birthplace of steelpan) when she was the first, and to date, only, Briton to compete in the World Steelband Soloists Competition 1996 and was placed fourth overall.
She has since performed with such prestigious emsembles as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Sinfonietta. Media credits include Meridian TV's "Three Minutes", "Woman's Hour " and Dave Gorman's "Genius" (BBC Radio 4). She was a featured soloist on the contemporary music series "Hear And Now" and "Music Matters" (Radio 3). She has played with top British and Trinidadian steel orchestras, including Starlift and Hummingbirds Pan Groove, in the London and Trinidad Panoramas, and she was the first European pannist to arrange for and conduct a top Trinidadian steel orchestra - The Skiffle Bunch - in their "Feeling the Classics" concert series. She arranged for Eclipse Steel Orchestra (London) - they played her arrangement of excerpts from Khatchaturian's Masquerade Suite at the First European Steelband Festival in Paris 2000.
She is a published author and her arrangements for steelpans are available from Panyard Inc, Ohio, and Piper Publications; she runs her own music publishing company Steel-works. Her steel bands in Britain and Trinidad regularly win awards in both national and regional competitions, and perform at such prestigious venues as the Royal Albert Hall, and The Royal Festival Hall, London, England. She has run projects for TAPS (Traditional Arts Projects) and Steel Bands North, and advised the Society for the Promotion of New Music, Associated Board of The Royal Schools of Music, and the Guildhall School of Music on their steel pan projects and was guest pan tutor at the Royal College of Music.
She currently runs Euphoria Steel Band in Brighton, and teaches the Reigate Pilgrim Steel Bands, and at The Hawthorns, Bletchingley.
Rachel's latest CD, Priestess of Pan is now available to buy via this website.
She lives in Brighton with her husband, author Robert Rankin.