From the San Jose Mercury News:
Rachel L. Bierach Passed away at the age of 22. She lived in Campbell, California. Rachel: intense, brilliant, and beaming. She had a Bachelor of Music in Classical Piano Performance (SFSU), the best desserts in town, and a loving devotion to the Catholic Church. She is survived by her daughter, Violet, 1, her parents, Carol and Jeff, as well as sisters, Katie and Hannah, and a large extended family.
That's Rach. When I apologized to the kids in my orchestra for being sad over the loss of a friend, one of my students said that a friend of hers took piano lessons from Rachel. Small world. Rachel played beautifully—that's her playing the Chopin Nocturne in f sharp minor, Op. 48 No. 2 above. It's a recording from December. She probably performed that more recently than the last time I saw her.
Rachel was a firecracker. She never let something go unsaid. She was completely honest all the time, and had seemingly no filter. Most people would say they would rather live the way Rachel did, and few would have the guts. She baked constantly, and would always demand that I come over on Monday nights to sample the latest. When I would arrive, she would have invariably eaten half of what she had made with her sisters. She played the guitar and sang Beatles songs and gave me an oven mitt for my birthday. We wrote on the ceiling of her bathroom with permanent marker, and I'm not sure if she ever cracked the score of the Dichterliebe I gave her last summer.
We took her daughter, Violet, to the zoo one day. Violet couldn't stand the goats eating pellets out of her hands without shreiking. We had lunch once with Violet there, and Rachel didn't get to eat because Violet was crying so much. We laughed and laughed.
I sang Strauss at her funeral. She would have hated that, but we would have laughed about it. I miss her dearly and I wish I didn't have this recording of her playing. It's just too sad.
The only real trace we leave is in the people that know how we feel. We all know how Rachel felt, and I, for one, am grateful for that.