Studying in London at the Guildhall School of Music, Rae became an accomplished performer, winning the Sheriff’s Piano Prize, the Victor Hoddy Memorial Prize and the Jubilee Scholarship.
After returning to New Zealand in 1977, Rae was in high demand as a soloist, accompanist and chamber musician. She recorded for radio and television, and often played with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
In 2000 Rae accepted a teaching role at the University of Auckland where she is also enrolled as a PhD student.
Rae is married to veteran broadcaster Bill McCarthy and together they have two daughters and a grand-daughter.