Rachel Barton Pine is a remarkable young violinist who has overcome some difficult obstacles to become one of the bright stars in the music world today.

Rachel Barton was born October 11, 1974 in Chicago, IL.  She was drawn to the violin very early.  At age 3 she heard a group of "older girls in beautiful dresses" play violin at church.  She was so struck by the beauty of the music that she immediately asked her parents if she could take up the violin.
Rachel
Barton Pine
As you see, Rachel got both the violin and the beautiful dress. 

Her family was rather poor, so Rachel began learning to play on a rented violin.  Her parents believed that it was possible that violin would be a short term interest, and that Rachel would set the instrument aside by the time she entered kindergarten.  Instead, at age 5 Rachel was signing her name "Rachel Violinist."  She says that by then she knew that the violin was what her life would be about. 


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Storming the Citadel (1999) Rush “The Spirit of Radio,”

The Spirit of Radio  
Recital at Age 4. Look at that Smile!
Click the Picture to go to Rachel Barton Pine's Web Site
While she was still very young it was obvious that Rachel's talent was enormous.  When she was 10, Rachel made her solo debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. under the baton of conductor Erich Leinsdorf.

Rachel attended parochial school, with its heavy study load, and also spent enormous amounts of time in practice.  She loved practice, and says that she remembers being asked "Don't you want to put that thing (her violin) down and ride your bike?"  (Rachel told me that from her very first lesson until she turned 18 she never missed one single day of practice!  And starting at age 11 she practiced 8 hours a day!)  Recognizing the problems created by too much work and too little time, her school principal suggested that she be home schooled.  This suited Rachel perfectly.  Anxious to get on with her practice, Rachel made the best possible use of her time.  She was able to complete her daily studies much more quickly than she would have in a regular class, then move on to the violin, allowing her to make the best use of her time. And it even allowed her time to be with her friends!

Rachel's friends were very suppportive of her studies.  Since most of her acquaintances were also musicians, the amount of practice and the dedication to the instrument were quite normal.  Rachel played with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, which is the training arm of the Chicago Symphony.  She was receiving the equivalent of a Graduate level education at the same time that most of her peers were still in junior high school.  By the time she was 14 she was named concertmaster.

While Rachel was still quite young, her father encountered difficulties at work.  As a result Rachel became the major income producer for the family.

"I put on a lot of makeup and pretended I was older than I was.  I was responsible for the mortgage, the utilities, the groceries, and there was so much pressure, growing up like that. ... When I was 17 or 18, even if I had gotten a full scholarship, I certainly wouldn't have been able to be in school and continue to work enough to ... support the family."

That kind of responsibility is hard enough for an adult, but it is even moreso for a teen.  The money that she earned went mostly to support the family, so Rachel had to rely on scholarships to continue her violin studies.  This would play an important part in her life in years to come.
Listen to heavy metal music
started when she was about 12
AC/DC, Metallica
CEDILLE RECORDS 
CDR 90000 083 Scottish Fantasies for Violin and Orchestra
(Alasdair Fraser, fiddle; Scottish Chamber Orchestra;
Alexander Platt, conductor)


CDR 90000 078 Solo Baroque
CDR 90000 068 Brahms & Joachim Violin Concertos
(Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Carlos Kalmar, conductor)
  
CDR 90000 047 Double Play: Twentieth Century Duos for Violin and Cello (Wendy Warner, cello)
  
CDR 90000 041 Instrument of the Devil (David Schrader, harpsichord; John Mark Rozendaal, cello; John Bruce Yeh, clarinet)
  
CDR 90000 035 Violin Concertos by Black Composers of the 18th and 19th Centuries (Encore Chamber Orchestra; Daniel Hege, conductor)
  
CDR 90000 032 George Frideric Handel: The Sonatas for Violin and Continuo (David Schrader, harpsichord; John Mark Rozendaal, cello)
  
DORIAN RECORDINGS
DOR-90251 Liszt: Works for Violin and Piano (Thomas Labé, piano)
  
DOR-90183 Homage to Pablo de Sarasate (Samuel Sanders, piano)
  
CACOPHONY RECORDS
  Introduction, Theme, and Variations on
“God Defend New Zealand” 
 
  Stringendo: Storming the Citadel (Edgar Gabriel, violin; Brandon Vamos, cello)
Instrument of the Devil
Instrument of the Devil
Instrument of the Devil
Instrument of the Devil
Instrument of the Devil
Instrument of the Devil
Some of Rachel Barton Pine's Recordings
Click Each Cover to See More Information
Pictures are courtesy of Rachel Barton Pine's web site at http://www.rachelbartonpine.com.
Rachel and Mark Wood have something in common besides the love of rock n roll.  Both are dedicated to the education of young musicians.  I've written about Wood's Electrify Your Strings project in which he travels to schools teaching strings students to improvise via workshops which result in rock concerts in middle and high schools across the country.  Rachel spends a great deal of time in schools as well enthralling students with her playing and showing them just how cool the violin can be.

They have worked someplace else together as well.  Both Rachel and Wood have been teachers at the Mark O'Connor Fiddle Camps for several years.

Ms. Pine holds prizes from several of the world's leading competitions, including a gold medal at the 1992 J.S. Bach International Violin Competition in Leipzig, Germany. She was the first American and youngest person to ever win this honor. Other top awards came from the Queen Elisabeth (Brussels, 1993), Kreisler (Vienna, 1992), Szigeti (Budapest, 1992) and Montreal (1991) International Violin Competitions, and many national and regional competitions. She won prizes for her interpretation of the Paganini Caprices at both the Szigeti Competition and the 1993 Paganini International Violin Competition in Genoa.


The Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation
Rachel Barton founded the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation in 2001.   

The foundation is Rachel's response to the needs of young violinists!  The foundation works in three main areas.
1. An instrument loan program.  Rachel recognizes that it is very difficult for many young artists which loans string instruments and bows to young artists so they can play on instruments of a quality they wouldn't otherwise have access to.
2. The foundation has a scholarship program to assist aspiring professional violinists with expenses often not covered by other programs.  While the cost of lessons are not covered, the foundation can help with such expenses as  accompanists’ fees, purchase of sheet music, travel expenses to competitions, and costs of recordings for audition.  Grants are given to musicians between the ages of 10 and 30 on the basis of great musical talent and accomplishment, artistic aspirations, and serious financial need.
3. The String Students Library of Music by Black Composers, which will be the first "anthology of music by black composers from throughout the centuries and throughout the world graded by skill level so that students from the very beginning all the way through the advanced levels will be able to supplement their repertoire with this wonderful music."

rhythmic, melodically, harmoncally 
suggested that



Writes her own liner notes. 


Mark O'Connor

Things You May Not Know About Rachel:

1.  She writes her own liner notes.  To Rachel playing a piece of music is not just the technical problem of making your fingers dance the right jig on the fingerboard.  Rachel studies the music itself.  She studies the composer and his life.  In the case of recent and contemporary composers she talks with people who knew him/her.  She approaches the music as a whole.  And then she communicates the music to the audience.  One method is certainly her mastery of the instrument, but the second is in writing the notes for the concert program or the CD cover.

2.  One of the things that Rachel dislikes about the life of a concert violinist is her inability to keep "multiple cats." 


But the picture of the young classical musician that I have presented until now is only a part of Rachel Barton's musical universe.  When she was about 12 Rachel encountered a genre of music that changed her life.

Enter Heavy Metal Music.

While what we usually think of as "classical" music is still a very big part of her life, listening to the music of such groups as Metallica has definitely changed Rachels thoughts on music.  Not only is she a fan of heavy metal, she has allowed her views of what kind of music is played on the violin to be influenced by this.  The violin has become a much more versatile instrument and her musical tastes have broadened immensely.
Violinist Rachel Barton Pine
Ms. Pine holds prizes from several of the world's leading competitions, including a gold medal at the 1992 J.S. Bach International Violin Competition in Leipzig, Germany. She was the first American and youngest person to ever win this honor. Other top awards came from the Queen Elisabeth (Brussels, 1993), Kreisler (Vienna, 1992), Szigeti (Budapest, 1992) and Montreal (1991) International Violin Competitions, and many national and regional competitions. She won prizes for her interpretation of the Paganini Caprices at both the Szigeti Competition and the 1993 Paganini International Violin Competition in Genoa.



The Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation
Rachel Barton founded the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation in   
insert date   

The foundation is Rachel's response to the needs of young violinists!  The foundation works in three main areas.
1. An instrument loan program.  Rachel recognizes that it is very difficult for many young artists which loans string instruments and bows to young artists so they can play on instruments of a quality they wouldn't otherwise have access to. We also have a scholarship program, which is a nontraditional type of scholarship. It doesn't cover lessons, but it covers anything except lessons like sheet music purchases, accompanist fees, air fare to a competition -- all that expensive stuff that really adds up. The thing we're actually devoting the most energy to right now is our curriculum project, The String Students Library of Music by Black Composers, which is going to be the first ever anthology of music by black composers from throughout the centuries and throughout the world graded by skill level so that students from the very beginning all the way through the advanced levels will be able to supplement their repertoire with this wonderful music.

rhythmic, melodically, harmoncally 
suggested that



Writes her own liner notes. 


Mark O'Connor

Things You May Not Know About Rachel:

1.  She writes her own liner notes.  To Rachel playing a piece of music is not just the technical problem of making your fingers dance the right jig on the fingerboard.  Rachel studies the music itself.  She studies the composer and his life.  In the case of recent and contemporary composers she talks with people who knew him/her.  She approaches the music as a whole.  And then she communicates the music to the audience.  One method is certainly her mastery of the instrument, but the second is in writing the notes for the concert program or the CD cover.

2.  One of the things that Rachel dislikes about the life of a concert violinist is her inability to keep "multiple cats." 


Now not only will you find Rachel in the dressing rooms of some of the great concert halls in the world waiting to perform with large symphony orchestras, you will find her hanging out with members of rock bands and jamming with them.  She even counts rock violinist Mark Wood (our artist of the month in June) as one of her musical heroes.