Associate Professor and Chair of Music; Director, Millsaps Conservatory of Music


BM, MM, The Juilliard School; DMA, Rutgers University

Rachel Heard, associate professor of music at Millsaps College, is active as performer, teacher and adjudicator for music organizations around the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Far East, and South America. She combines her experience on both the fortepiano and modern piano to present recitals, lectures and demonstrations of the application of period performance practice to interpretation today.

As an active performer who loves to teach, Heard’s primary goal is to build a community of scholarly musicians eager to share their knowledge—not only on stage, but also as future scholars and teachers. “When performing and studying the great masterpieces of the past, I have always felt it was my duty to respect the composer’s wishes as much as possible, reading the score carefully and studying its historical and social context. Otherwise, these amazing works of art will not be properly understood and, in some sense, will truly cease to exist. Likewise, I feel it is my duty to share my knowledge with the next generation of musicians in order to continue the traditions that were passed on to me. I was especially fortunate to study with some of the most important pianists and fortepianists of the 20th century.”

In recognition of her commitment to teaching and performing, Heard has received numerous grants and commendations, including the 2008–2009 Millsaps College Outstanding Young Faculty Award and the 2017 Humanities Teaching Award for Millsaps College, given by the Mississippi Humanities Council. Professionally, she has been an active member of Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) for over 25 years, and from 2008 to 2010 she served as president of the Mississippi Music Teachers Association (affiliated with MTNA). Her three solo fortepiano recordings featuring the works of Haydn and J. C. Bach can be found on the NAXOS label. See HAYDN: Piano Sonatas Nos. 43, 44 and 47 / F Minor Variations, BACH, J.C.: Keyboard Sonatas, Op. 5 (Heard), and BACH, J.C.: Keyboard Sonatas, Op. 17 (Heard).