Rachel Smith is one of the very finest producers I have worked with during the course of an extensive recording career. She has an excellent and quick ear – one of the most important attributes for a producer – and she is warm, decisive, authoritative and calm in her management of sessions. Her editing is first class and, all in all, I can recommend her without any hesitation or reservation.
Howard Shelley, CBE
I am delighted to write a letter of recommendation for Rachel Smith. She is a superb record producer – calm, collected, concentrated, thorough, and, it seems, tireless. My experience recording a CD with her was wholly positive in every way, and I would recommend her to anyone without the slightest hesitation.
Stephen Hough, CBE
I have worked with Rachel Smith on a number of occasions and it has always been a great pleasure. She is calm and reassuring, unfazed by all the small annoyances that come with the territory when we record in historic churches; she has excellent ears, such that as a performer I know I can trust her to let me live in the moment, giving my musical instincts full rein, without the inhibition that can come from too much self-inspection; any problems she will find, and tactfully help to resolve! She has a sense of humour and a good sense of proportion; in short, all the qualities that are vital to this work.
Dame Emma Kirkby
I’m always delighted when I hear that Rachel Smith will be producing one of my recordings. Together we have collaborated in very different recording projects for Chandos: an opera (Dido and Aeneas), a Lieder recital with Eugene Asti and a Handel duets album with Rosemary Joshua and the English Concert.
In all situations, Rachel made herself familiar with the music in advance of the recording sessions and I was particularly impressed that she made it her business to understand the German for the Schumann Lieder disc, Songs of Love and Loss. Her hard work and dedication to the editing process and superb ‘ears’ makes me feel confident to recommend her to anyone.
During the crucial recording process, Rachel never chivvies or offers insensitive criticism. Instead she is an oasis of calm control, ready to respond to the artist’s creativity. She is also easy to get along with and everyone I have collaborated with on the above recordings likes and respects her.
Sarah Connolly, CBE
Rachel Smith is one of the best producers I have ever worked with. She has a superb ability to hear detail and a wonderful sense of musicianship. She always ensures that my musical ideas are represented, as well as making sure that ensemble and technique in takes and in the editing process are of the highest standard. She is always calm and positive during sessions and is a delight to work with.
Tasmin Little, OBE
Rachel Smith is my go-to producer. Whether recording solo pieces, concertos, or chamber works, I find her consistently the best: she has a discriminating musical ear, is sensitive and patient in stressful situations, maintains concentrated focus over long periods of time, is a joy to spend time with, and is a superb editor. What more can one ask?
Piers Lane, AO
Rachel is first and foremost an excellent musician. Her skills as a producer are as good as I have ever come across. She is brilliantly organised, wonderfully fastidious and an excellent communicator. She allows the performers to give their best in an atmosphere which is both intense and relaxing.
David Temple, conductor, Crouch End Festival Chorus
In all my time for Chandos, and previously for EMI, Decca, Virgin, etc, I can honestly say that Rachel has been the most thorough and talented editor with whom I’ve had the pleasure to work.
Richard Hickox, CBE
I have worked on several recordings with Rachel, and find her an ideal combination of sensitivity, precision, tact and encouragement. She is very thorough but also refreshingly respectful of interpretations long honed - I personally do not react well to interpretative suggestions in the course of a recording, just really appreciate being reminded, as one always must be, of what is written in the score and should not be overlooked. Rachel is also a really lovely person, and our recent sessions had much laughter in them too; not always a given! She certainly makes this demanding task as easy as it can be. Thanks Rachel, and may we soon be doing more together!
Imogen Cooper, CBE
Our collaboration has been extremely positive, particularly with respect to Rachel’s excellent critical ear combined with a sensitive understanding of the needs of performers in such a testing environment. She is a fine musician and has a calm and practical approach to the art of making recordings. She senses when more takes are needed and immediately identifies the versions which would provide the basis of the edited performance.
I am very grateful for her invaluable role in producing CDs of often complex music with such professionalism and accuracy. The other members of the Quartet join me in praising her work and in our appreciation of the high standards she sets.
Levon Chilingirian, OBE
I Fagiolini worked with Rachel Smith for several years on their series for Chandos Chaconne. She has an unfailing ear for detail yet a very easy manner, allowing a good atmosphere in sessions, which is so important. Her editing skills are fantastic and her patience endless. When we came to record the soundtrack to The Full Monteverdi (a non-Chandos production), I asked her to produce and edit as I knew she would understand the rather unusual circumstances of what we were trying to achieve.
After recording the complete Shostakovich quartet cycle with Rachel, I have nothing but praise for her extreme professionalism, fabulous ear, unfailing sense of humour and expert diplomacy, which kept our sessions relaxed and stress-free.
Gina McCormack, leader, Sorrel Quartet
As I like to say, Rachel makes me perfect (at least on CD!)! It is so agreeable to work with her and to be able to rely on her musical judgement. Also, during recording sessions, sometimes one forgets that the artistic director and the sound engineer are most of the time the only people for whom you play. Thanks to her calm, attentive and co-operative presence, the whole recording process is a real creative musical experience.
Many, many thanks, Rachel!
Rachel has produced and edited a number of recordings in which I have participated – most notably Bach cantatas with The Purcell Quartet and Britten’s opera Death in Venice with Richard Hickox and the City of London Sinfonia. We have had a relaxed and therefore productive atmosphere under her guidance.
She has a very keen ear to spot moments of waywardness or lack of balance and is flexible with changing conditions and personnel to achieve a natural and exciting sound.
Michael Chance, CBE