Rachel Barton Pine, violin

“An exciting, boundary-defying performer – Pine displays a power and confidence that puts her in the top echelon.”  – The Washington Post

In both art and life, violinist Rachel Barton Pine has an extraordinary ability to connect with people. Her performances exude passion and conviction, and her honesty in communicating the core emotions of great works moves listeners worldwide. Pine’s scholarly fascination with history enables her to bring informed interpretations to her extensive repertoire, while her innate ability to understand and perform music of many diverse genres captivates music lovers of all backgrounds. Audiences are thrilled and uplifted by her dazzling technique, lustrous tone, and infectious joy in music-making.

During her 2011-2012 season she will perform with Brazil’s Orquesta Filarmonica de Minas Gerais, Poland’s Beethoven Academy Orchestra, the Calgary and Las Vegas Philharmonics, and the Columbus and Tallahassee Symphonies among others. Throughout the season she will play works by Bernstein, Brahms, Bruch, Corigliano, Glazunov, Korngold, Ravel, Sarasate, Vaughan Williams and Vivaldi. She will also perform the five Mozart Violin Concertos with the New York Chamber Soloists in Florida, Texas and California.

This season Pine will play the complete Paganini 24 Caprices in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City as well as offer recitals at Wolf Trap and New York City’s Rubin Museum. Past recital performances have included all six Bach Sonatas and Partitas as well as the complete Brahms Sonatas in single evenings. In 2009 she gave the world premiere of the last movement of Samuel Barber’s long-lost 1928 Violin Sonata.

During 2011-2012, Pine will celebrate four CD releases. Her June, 2011, Capricho Latino on Cedille, is a stunning collection of 14 unaccompanied virtuoso pieces with a Latin flair, for which eight make their recording debut, including her own arrangement of Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz’s celebrated Asturias, which draws on both Francisco Tárrega’s familiar guitar transcription and Albéniz’s original but less-known score for piano. The CD also features a unique duet, Pine performing Alan Ridout’s Ferdinand the Bull score with the words of the beloved children’s story delivered by actor Héctor Elizondo (Pretty Woman, Grey’s Anatomy). In fall 2011, Pine’s period instrument ensemble Trio Settecento will release its album A French Soirée with works by Lully, Couperin, Marais, Forqueray, Rebel, Rameau and Leclair also on Cedille. Pine’s performance of Xavier Montsalvatge’s Poema Concertante for violin and orchestra recorded with the NDR-Symphony-Orchestra Hamburg conducted by Maestro Celso Antunes will be released in November 2011 by Hänssler Classics as part of an album of Montsalvatge symphonic works. She will also be featured on an album of works by renowned Ghanian composer J.H. Kwabena Nketia, performing his violin and piano repertoire with pianist George Francois.

Pine has appeared as a soloist with many of North America’s most prestigious orchestras, including the Chicago, Montreal, Atlanta, San Diego, Baltimore, St. Louis and Dallas Symphonies; Buffalo and Rochester Philharmonics, and the Philadelphia and Louisville Orchestras. Overseas, she has performed with the Vienna, New Zealand, Iceland and Budapest Symphonies; the Royal Scottish and Belgian National Orchestras; the Mozarteum, Scottish and Israel Chamber Orchestras; the Royal and Russian Philharmonics, and the Netherlands Radio Kamer Filharmonie. She has worked with such renowned conductors as Charles Dutoit, Zubin Mehta, Erich Leinsdorf, Neeme Järvi, Marin Alsop, Placido Domingo and Semyon Bychkov. Her festival appearances have included Marlboro, Ravinia and Salzburg. She has collaborated with many living composers including Augusta Read Thomas, John Corigliano and Mohammed Fairouz and with such leading artists as Daniel Barenboim, Christoph Eschenbach, William Warfield, Christopher O’Riley and Mark O’Connor. She has played for the President of Ghana and the President of Singapore as well as for the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Pine is an avid performer of baroque, renaissance and medieval music on baroque violin, viola d’amore, renaissance violin, and rebec. She regularly performs and records with John Mark Rozendaal and David Schrader as the period instrument ensemble Trio Settecento. Trio Settecento’s A French Soirée (fall, 2011) and An English Fancy (fall, 2012) are respectively the third and fourth in a series of albums illustrating the character and complexion of Baroque Era music as it developed in various regions of Europe. Each disc presents the same type of program the Trio plays in concert; previous installments include An Italian Sojourn and A German Bouquet. Trio Settecento’s performances this season include appearances at Sheldon Friends of Chamber Music and Houston Early Music; the group has previously played at The Frick Collection, the Miller Theatre at Columbia University and the Boston Early Music Festival. Also this season, Pine will again appear as a guest artist with the Newberry Consort.

Pine writes her own cadenzas to many of the works she performs including concertos by Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, and Paganini. In 2009, Carl Fischer published The Rachel Barton Pine Collection, a collection of original compositions, arrangements, cadenzas and editions penned or arranged by Pine, which earned her the distinction of being the only living artist and first woman to join great musicians like Fritz Kreisler and Jascha Heifetz in Carl Fischer’s Masters Collection series. Pine is also music advisor and editor of Maud Powell Favorites, the only published compilation of Powell’s transcriptions, Powell’s cadenza for the Brahms Violin Concerto, and the music dedicated to, commissioned by, or closely associated with Powell, the first native-born American violinist to achieve international recognition. Pine collaborated with Carl Fischer for its new fall, 2011 edition of Franz Wohlfahrt Foundation Studies for the Violin, Book 1. The edition contains an accompanying DVD featuring Pine playing all 60 etudes.

Pine’s prolific discography on the Cedille, Warner Classics and Dorian labels reflects her love of the classical warhorses, as well as her interest in promoting contemporary composers and exploring music that has been unjustifiably neglected. For Beethoven & Clement Violin Concertos, recorded with The Royal Philharmonic conducted by José Serebrier, Pine offered the world premiere recording of Clement’s D Major Violin Concerto, plucked from two centuries of obscurity, which she coupled with the well-known Beethoven Concerto. The cadenzas for the recording were written by Pine. Pine was hand-picked by Serebrier to perform the Glazunov Violin Concerto, joining a number of prestigious artists on the Warner Classics recording of Glazunov Complete Concertos with the Russian National Orchestra. She intensely researched the musical relationship between Johannes Brahms and violinist Joseph Joachim for Brahms and Joachim Violin Concertos recorded in collaboration with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor Carlos Kalmar which showcases performances of both Joachim’s and Pine’s own cadenzas for the Brahms Concerto. Her American Virtuosa: Tribute to Maud Powell features rarely-heard Victorian-era gems arranged by America’s first internationally acclaimed violinist. Her Violin Concertos by Black Composers of the 18th and 19th Centuries sheds light on four gifted musicians of mixed African and European descent who made significant contributions to Western classical music and was nominated for a National Public Radio Heritage Award. Pine’s Solo Baroque album puts two of Bach’s masterpieces for unaccompanied violin in context by including the German Baroque repertoire for violin that inspired the composer. Her Scottish Fantasies for Violin and Orchestra features Pine with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, conductor Alexander Platt and famed Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser performing evocative works by Bruch, Mackenzie and others based on traditional Scottish melodies. In preparation Pine thoroughly researched each work, discovering the original, mostly 18th-century fiddle tunes that inspired them. Pine’s numerous other recordings include works by Liszt, Sarasate, Handel and others.

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, at age 17, the youngest person to ever win this honor. Other top awards have come from the Queen Elisabeth (Brussels, 1993), Kreisler (Vienna, 1992), Szigeti (Budapest, 1992) and Montreal (1991) International Violin 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.

A fan of rock and heavy metal since her pre-teens, Pine’s ability to see the connecting threads between classical and rock music makes her the perfect bridge between generations of music fans. Hailed as an artistic ambassador, she often visits rock radio stations and rock clubs to perform her own arrangements of rock and metal songs followed by classical pieces to illustrate how the two genres share a similar intensity and compositional complexity, and help her to draw new listeners to classical music. In 2009 she acquired a custom-made extended range flying V electric violin and formed the six-piece doom/thrash metal band Earthen Grave. The group frequently performs and recently released a critically-acclaimed five-song EP called Dismal Times.

Pine is committed to encouraging the next generation to experience the transformative power of the arts. Her Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation assists young artists through various projects including the Instrument Loan Program, Grants for Education and Career, Global HeartStrings (supporting classical musicians in developing countries), and a curricular series developed in conjunction with the University of Michigan: The String Student’s Library of Music by Black Composers. She is a Life Trustee of the Music Institute of Chicago which named the “Rachel Barton Pine Violin Chair” in her honor. Pine coaches chamber music, leads sectionals for youth orchestras, and gives master classes. Along with touring activities, she enjoys giving special programs and demonstrations for children and often incorporates spoken program notes or pre-concert conversations into her appearances. She is a frequent instructor at Mark O’Connor’s Fiddle Camp and the Mark Wood Rock Orchestra Camp. She received the prestigious 2006 Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award for her work in music education.

She was a torchbearer in the 1996 Olympic torch relay and appeared as soloist for the opening ceremonies of the Paralympic Games in Atlanta. She performed her own arrangement of the national anthem at 1995 and 1996 Chicago Bulls playoff games, and at the 1996 Democratic National Convention. She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, appeared five times on NBC’s Today Show, and frequently has been a guest on nationally-syndicated radio shows including Performance Today, Saint Paul Sunday and From the Top. Recent cover stories include Strad, Strings and International Musician.

A Chicago native, Pine began violin studies at age three and made her professional debut four years later at age seven with the Chicago String Ensemble. Her earliest appearances with the Chicago Symphony (at ages ten and fifteen) were broadcast on television. Her principal teachers were Roland and Almita Vamos and she has also studied with Ruben Gonzalez, Werner Scholz, Elmira Darvarova and several early music specialists. Pine resides in Chicago with her husband. Her blog, podcast, and video channel may be accessed through her website She performs on the Joseph Guarnerius del Gesu (Cremona 1742), known as the “ex-Soldat,” on generous loan from her patron.


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