The interface between human experience and natural landscape drawn by Heaney, with its deliberate avoidance of the romantic in favour of unembellished wonder, resonates strongly with her. She has used his texts as points of departure in several works, including an Irish-language interpretation of The Given Note in Thar an bhfarraige gheal (Over bright sea) and references to Whinlands and Glanmore Sonnets (VII) in Around the Corner: Souvenirs of a Day on Rathlin.
Rachel has collaborated with visual artists, scientists, poets and dancers and has composed music for solo musicians, loudspeakers, ensembles and orchestras. Her work has been commissioned by RTÉ, BBC Radio 3, Moving on Music and Louth County Council (under the Percent for Art Scheme) and her music has been performed by Elizabeth Wallfisch, Gerry O'Connor, the Irish Baroque Orchestra, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra, the RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet and the Plane Dukes Rahmen Trio among others. Rachel is a Fellow of the MacDowell Colony and is represented by the Contemporary Music Centre in Dublin. Her website is at www.rachelholstead.net.