Russian born pianist Natalia Rachford started her music education at the age of seven in the music school of her native city Rostov-on-Don. She studied under Vera Klyachko, student of the famous Russian pianist Vladimir Sofronitsky, who was a student and friend of Alexander Scriabin.
During this time Natalia participated successfully in several competitions, and at the age of thirteen performed the Grieg piano concerto with the Rostov Philharmonic Symphony orchestra. At sixteen she became a student at the Music College at Moscow Conservatory. While in Moscow, she performed recitals in numerous concert halls as a solo and chamber music performer, and later graduated with honors in piano performance and pedagogy from the Moscow Music Academy. In 1989, she received honorable mention at the All-Russian Instrumentalist Competition held in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). She also performed as soloist and chamber musician in cities throughout Russia including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Rostov, Taganrog, and Novgorod. In 1992, she came to the United States as an exchange program specialist at Oklahoma City University. In 1993, she received honorable mention at the Bartók-Kabalevsky International Piano Competition and completed a master's degree in music in 1995.