Dr. Rachel Franklin has developed a stellar reputation as a public speaker about music throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Renowned for her wit, scholarship and ability to illuminate even the most complex concert works, her gifts for communication have led to countless lecturing engagements for major orchestras and concert organizations, colleges, adult education groups and others. She has presented frequently for such prestigious venues as the Smithsonian Institution, The Library of Congress, the Peabody Institute, and National Public Radio.

This wide range of musical expertise has brought her back repeatedly to enthusiastic audiences, including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Academy Art Museum in Easton MD, the Chesapeake Film Festival, the Annapolis Opera Company, the Cosmos Club in DC, and many others. Besides appreciating her performing artistry, her listeners rave about her warm, engaging style as she illustrates at the piano. Her great passion is provoking connections and sparking imaginative pathways for her listeners and students, so their own creativity can be inspired by extraordinary musical art.

Since 2020 she has been greatly in demand for her unique online presentations. She is one of the Smithsonian Associates’ most popular live-streaming music lecturers, and her topics explore intersections between classical and jazz music, film scores, and the fine arts

Rachel Franklin has recently joined the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as their Strathmore Music Scholar-in-Residence. She will be giving all the BSO’s pre-concert presentations at their Bethesda, MD venue, Strathmore Hall as part of their “Inside the Classics” series. In June 2023 she was one of the featured speakers at the Aspen Ideas: Health Conference in Colorado, presenting and performing on the subject of Music and the Natural World, a topic about which she’s also been interviewed by WHYY’s Maiken Scott for The Pulse. This past New Year she was invited to give the Plenary Lunchtime Performance for the prestigious Renaissance Weekend conference in Charleston, SC.

Rachel Franklin has concertized in major halls across Europe, Canada and the US. The Washington Post has praised her “cool-headed bravura and panache” and the Baltimore Sun lauded “a flawless crystalline technique, and warmth and electricity in her playing.”

She is also doubly talented as an accomplished jazz pianist, leading her own unique classical/jazz chamber ensemble SONOS.

Her recent regional concerto appearances include performances with the Washington Sinfonietta, the Piedmont Symphony, the Columbia Orchestra, the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Symphony of the Potomac, the Arlington Philharmonic, the Amadeus Orchestra and others.

For two decades she was also the Education Programs Lecturer and Online Content Advisor for the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, giving all the ASO’s pre-concert video “Chats” plus commentating for both the ASO’s live-streamed and pre-recorded concerts.

She has taught at the Royal College of Music and the Peabody Conservatory, where she received her Doctorate of Musical Arts.

Dr. Franklin is keenly aware of the need to reach out to audiences who want a “behind the scenes” experience with classical music and its great composers, history and place in the wider world of the arts. She offers many types of lecture-demonstrations, courses and lecture-recital packages. She also enjoys curating musical events and festivals, and all her presentations are designed to suit a wide variety of venues and audiences. She is always delighted to discuss possibilities with music-lovers and organizations.

“Music is not an exclusionary art. It begs involvement. I’m endlessly fascinated by the way these composers reach out to us through the centuries, asking us to engage with them, with their complicated and frequently difficult lives, their relentless drive to create music that will last and speak to us now.”

~Rachel Franklin, Baltimore Sun

For more of Rachel Franklin’s programs and videos, please click below

Recent “Speaking of Music” courses


Dr. Rachel Franklin invites you on a journey to explore the powerful social experience of the Concerto, and how it all unfolds when you bring
together composer, conductor, soloist, orchestra and the audience.


We celebrate the 130th birthday of the legendary visual artist and designer, Marc Chagall. Chagall fused his magical vision of fine arts and music with utterly unique paintings and designs for opera houses and theaters worldwide. 


Music and the visual arts have always walked hand-in-hand. For millennia, artists have obsessed about how to represent music’s invisible beauty, whereas composers have sought to render art’s vibrant colors in pure sound. Dr. Rachel Franklin delves into the intimate relationship between the visible and invisible arts.