Rachel Barton Pine (born Rachel Elizabeth Barton, October 11, 1974) is an American violinist. She debuted with the Chicago Symphony at age 10, and was the first American and youngest ever gold medal winner of the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition. The Washington Post wrote that she "displays a power and confidence that puts her in the top echelon."
Pine tours worldwide as a soloist with prestigious orchestras, has an active recording career, and has run the Rachel Barton Pine Foundation since 2001, which provides services and funding to promote classical music education and performances.
Pine was born in Chicago, and began playing the violin at age 3 after being inspired by the example of older girls playing at her church. She debuted with the Chicago String Ensemble at age 7, and with the Chicago Symphony under the baton of Erich Leinsdorf at age 10. Her passion for violin compelled her to practice 4 or 5 hours a day as a second grader, prompting her elementary school principal to encourage her parents to begin home schooling, which allowed her to focus on her music, practicing 8 hours a day. Her principal teachers were Roland and Almita Vamos of the Music Institute of Chicago. At age 14, she began taking paid gigs playing at weddings and in orchestras, which allowed her to contribute significantly to her family's income as they experienced financial difficulties. Explaining how she managed, she says, "I put on a lot of makeup and pretended I was older than I was."
She attained notable success in a number of violin competitions, including winning the 1992 Johann Sebastian Bach International Competition in Leipzig, Germany. She also earned 2nd prizes in the József Szigeti Violin Competition (1992) and the International Fritz Kreisler Competition (1992), as well as awards from the Montreal International Musical Competition (1991), the Paganini Competition (1993), and the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition (1993).
Pine has appeared as a soloist with orchestras around the world including the Chicago, Montreal, Atlanta, Budapest, San Diego, Baltimore, St. Louis, Vienna, New Zealand, Iceland and Dallas symphonies; the Buffalo, Rochester, Royal, Calgary, Russian and New Mexico philharmonics, the Philadelphia, Louisville, Royal Scottish and Belgian National orchestras; the Mozarteum, Scottish and Israel chamber orchestras, and the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic. She has performed under conductors such as Charles Dutoit, John Nelson, Zubin Mehta, Erich Leinsdorf, Neeme Järvi, Marin Alsop, Semyon Bychkov, Plácido Domingo, and José Serebrier, and with artists including Daniel Barenboim, Christoph Eschenbach, Christopher O'Reilly, Mark O'Connor, and William Warfield.
Her festival appearances include Marlboro, Ravinia, Montreal, Wolf Trap, Vail, Davos, and Salzburg's Mozartwoche at the invitation of Franz Welser-Möst.
Her premieres of pieces by living composers include “Rush” for solo violin by Augusta Read Thomas, Mohammed Fairouz's “Native Informant” Sonata for Solo Violin and “Al-Andalus” Violin Concerto, and the Panamanian premiere of Panamanian composer Roque Cordero's 1962 Violin Concerto. In April, 2017, Pine performed solo violin with the Phoenix Symphony under the baton of Tito Munoz debuting the Violin Concerto, "Dependent Arising" by Earl Maneein (b. 1976). Her "American Partitas" is a recital program of suites of dance movements composed for Pine by Bruce Molsky, Darol Anger, Billy Childs, and Daniel Bernard Roumain written in response to the Bach Partitas for solo violin paired with their Bach counterparts.
In addition to her mixed recital programs, Pine has regularly given single evening performances of the six Bach Sonatas and Partitas, the 24 Paganini Caprices, and the complete Brahms Sonatas.
In 2015, Pine released her debut Avie Records recording Mozart: Complete Violin Concertos with one of her “musical heroes” conductor Sir Neville Marriner and The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Pine grew up listening to Sir Neville and The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields’ recordings and their performance on the Amadeus movie soundtrack. Studying Mozart's operas she gained an appreciation for the drama, playfulness and flirtation of his violin concertos featured on the new album. The recording also contains Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante, recorded with violist Matthew Lipman, a 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient.
Pine started exploring esteemed violin concertos and the concertos that inspired them with Brahms and Joachim Violin Concertos, recorded with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor Carlos Kalmar in 2002. Her 2008 Beethoven & Clement Violin Concertos, recorded with The Royal Philharmonic and conducted by Serebrier, offered the world premiere recording of Clement's D Major Violin Concerto.
Her 2013 recording with pianist Matthew Hagle, Violin Lullabies, debuted at number one on the Billboard classical chart. Pine's recording of Violin Concertos by Black Composers of the 18th and 19th Centuries was nominated for a National Public Radio Heritage Award.
Carl Fischer Music recently published a sheet music book of cadenzas
and virtuosic encore pieces composed by Pine, as well as her arrangements
of other works for violin and piano, as part of its Masters Collection.
Pine became the first living composer and first woman to be so honored.
Pine has also edited a 4-volume collection of compositions associated with
America's pioneering female solo violinist Maud Powell, many of which she
has also recorded [CD shown below]. In 2014. Pine helped to accept
a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award on behalf of Maud Powell,
after successfully campaigning the Recording Academy for the honor.
Her musical interests extend well beyond classical to baroque, folk, Celtic, rock, and jazz. She regularly instructs at Mark O'Connor's annual summer fiddle camp, and in 2004 she released a CD in collaboration with Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser.
Pine performs chamber music as part of Trio Settecento with David Schrader and John Mark Rozendaal, and with the Jupiter Chamber Players. In 2015, Trio Settecento released Veracini's Complete Sonate Accademiche for Violin and Continuo. The Trio's Grand Tour collection of four CDs on Cedille Records takes listeners on a country-by-country of the European Baroque.
Her current principal instrument is the 1742 'ex-Bazzini, Soldat' violin of Guarneri del Gesu. For seventeenth- and eighteenth-century pieces, she has often used an unaltered 1770 instrument of Nicolò Gagliano I.
Her taste in rock runs to heavy metal, with AC/DC, Anthrax, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Megadeth, Metallica, Motörhead, Pantera, Slayer, and Van Halen being among her favorites. She has met and played with a number of these. In 1997, she released a heavy-metal-inspired recordings. “In practicing and preparing those songs, I discovered that a lot of the heavy metal I’d been listening to was some of the most sophisticated compositionally of all rock music, and very inspired by classical music,” Pine has said, “Then all these people in ripped jeans started coming to my concerts.”
In February 2009, she joined the thrash/doom metal band Earthen Grave, where she performs on a 6-string Viper electric violin. The band has shared the stage with metal bands such as Pentagram, Black Label Society, Mayhem, and Nachtmystium. The group released an EP, Dismal Times. Doommantia.com proclaimed that Earthen Grave has "all the songwriting capabilities to make one of the best albums ever." and HellrideMusic.com said "If the doom gods are with us, this band will stay around and continue to produce the kind of unique, powerful and thoughtful music contained on Dismal Times." Pine credits her experience playing in a rock band with improving her emotional rapport with her audiences.
Pine often brings a new twist to her coaching sessions with chamber music and youth orchestras, by incorporating orchestral versions of rock pieces into her sessions. For example, Pine offered the world premiere of her own arrangement of Metallica's "Master of Puppets" with the McHenry County Youth Symphony (Crystal Lake, IL) in November 2009. In May 2015 she premiered her “Shredding with the Symphony” program with the Lafayette Symphony, which features music from Shostakovich, Bruch, Beethoven, Vivaldi, Sibelius, and Paganini as well as Van Halen, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Rush, Nirvana, Metallica and Led Zeppelin.
Bill McGlaughlin called her a "musical Pac-Man" for her ability to take in and perform so many different kinds of music. She has often performed at schools and on rock music radio stations in an effort to interest younger audiences in classical music.
Pine was inducted as an honorary member of Sigma Alpha Iota in 2003 She performed at the music fraternity's 45th national convention during summer 2009 in Chicago.
On July 11, 2010, Pine gave a three-part performance at Chicago's Millennium Park as part of the Great Performers of Illinois celebration. After initially performing on baroque violin with Trio Settecento, she soloed in the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and then switched gears again to perform in black leather on her electric violin with Earthen Grave. In conjunction with the event, she received the 2010 Great Performer of Illinois award.
In 2010, Pine participated in a tribute album titled Mister Bolin's Late Night Revival, a compilation of 17 previously unreleased tracks written by guitar legend Tommy Bolin prior to his death in 1976. The CD includes other artists such as HiFi Superstar, Doogie White, Eric Martin, Troy Luccketta, Jeff Pilson, Randy Jackson, Rex Carroll, Derek St. Holmes, Kimberley Dahme, and The 77's. A percentage of the proceeds from this project will benefit the Jackson Recovery Centers.
Pine started a foundation in 2001 to promote the study and appreciation of classical music, including string music by black composers such as Jessie Montgomery, Edward W. Hardy, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson and Wynton Marsalis. It prepares music curricula on black composers, loans high-quality instruments to deserving young musicians, and provides grants to cover incidental expenses (such as for supplemental lessons, accompanists, sheet music, travel, competition entrance fees, instrument repair, and audition recordings) of students and young professional musicians. Another program, Global HeartStrings, is dedicated to supporting aspiring classical musicians from developing countries. In this effort, Pine has been aided by a younger sister, Hannah Barton, also a violinist.
In 2006, after being nominated by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, Pine received the Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award for her work through the foundation. She has also been given the 2012 Karl Haas Prize for Music Education for this work and her other education-related efforts.
A Stradivarius violin, the 'Arkwright Lady Rebecca Sylvan', was
donated to the foundation by Joseph Sylvan in 2015.
In 2004, Barton married Greg Pine, a health care consulting firm
CEO and former minor league baseball pitcher. They have one daughter.
== Names which are links in this box and below refer to my interviews elsewhere on my website. BD
|Founded in 1985 by the late Geoffrey
Fushi and Mary Galvin with the encouragement of the legendary pedagogue
Dorothy DeLay, The Stradivari Society is dedicated to the preservation
and pursuit of excellence in classical music by identifying the world’s
most promising young artists and uniting them with the superb
rare, antique Italian instruments they need to help begin and sustain their
professional careers thanks to generous patrons. The organization has
assisted leading teachers, foundations, and ensembles with loans
of great Italian antique instruments.
Besides Rachel Barton Pine, the Stradivari Society has helped launch the careers of some of today’s most brilliant and successful artists including Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham, Vadim Repin, Midori, Sarah Chang, Frank Almond, David Geringas, Maxim Vengerov, Leila Josephowicz, Jennifer Koh, and Kyoko Takezawa, among many others. [Those listed have all been my interview guests, and the ones without links will eventually be transcribed and posted. BD]
With the leadership and vision of Mary Galvin, Geoffrey Fushi, and Executive Director Suzanne Fushi, the wholehearted support of Robert Bein, and the contributions of generous patrons, what began with the loan of the “David” Guarneri del Gesù of 1735 to Midori in 1985 has grown to become the largest and most prestigious great antique instrument loan program in the world, and a valued resource to the classical music community.
© 1997 Bruce Duffie
This conversation was recorded Chicago on April 27, 1997. Portions were broadcast on WNIB the following week. This transcription was made in 2023, and posted on this website at that time. My thanks to British soprano Una Barry for her help in preparing this website presentation.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here. To read my thoughts on editing these interviews for print, as well as a few other interesting observations, click here.
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Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.