Mary Rae was born in Washington D.C. in 1951 and grew up in Virginia. She studied flute and voice in Boston and, at the same time, received a BA in Spanish Languages and Literature from Boston University. Mary has always been interested in composition, and devised for herself a course of self-study. Aside from writing for double bass, she particularly likes writing for voice and piano and her works have been premiered in the United States, Great Britain and elsewhere.
Mary Rae is currently involved in the revitalisation efforts for the Cherokee language, which is severely endangered, as most indigenous languages are. She has studied the language for a number of years, and recently achieved teacher certification from the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, something which is rare for second language learners. Mary has been working at writing settings for Cherokee hymns with the aim of uniting two of her great interests.