Rachel Barton Pine
United States of America, °1974
Rachel Barton Pine's classical music biography leads with the cities whose orchestras she's soloed with, including Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, St. Louis, Dallas, Montreal, Vienna, New Zealand and Budapest, among others. We also learn she was a child prodigy who made her solo debut at age seven and has worked with numerous famous conductors - Zubin Mehta, Erich Leinsdorf, Placido Domingo and Charles Dutoit to name a few. She plays the “ex-Soldat” violin made in 1742 by Guarneri del Gesu.

Yet like any young woman who came of age in the Nineties, violinist Rachel Barton Pine is equally inclined to talk about the musical loves of her life far from the sonatas and concertos she practices and which constitute her current professional life. She may have intensely researched the musical relationship between Johannes Brahms and violinist Joseph Joachim for her GRAMMY-nominated 2003 Cedille recording "Brahms & Joachim Violin Concertos," but when she says, "They jammed together all the time," we can see her rock sensibility shine through.

Her ability to see the connecting threads in these very disparate musical forms makes her the perfect bridge between generations of music fans. She sees herself as an artistic ambassador, introducing the pleasures of classical music to legions of new listeners. In the process, she has broken through every possible stereotype people may have of a modern classical musician.

Her passion for guiding the future of music has led her to create the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation, a charitable organization founded in 2001 to expand awareness of and appreciation for classical music. Current projects include an instrument loan program, grants for education and career, and the String Student’s Library of Music by Black Composers, a supplemental curriculum featuring music by composers of African decent from around the world. Rachel gives master classes everywhere she travels and serves on the boards of various schools including the Music Institute of Chicago. She recently received the prestigious Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award for her work in music education.

Rachel Barton Pine grew up in a financially struggling household and by age 14, she was helping her family pay for the rent, groceries, and utilities. Home schooling gave her time to devote 8 hours a day to practice yet leave room for a social life. She made her earliest appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 10 and 15 and won numerous national and international competitions while still in her teens. The youngest person (at age 17) and first American to win a gold medal at the prestigious 1992 J.S. Bach International Competition in Leipzig, Germany, she also won top prizes in the Szigeti (Budapest), Paganini (Genoa), Queen Elisabeth (Brussels), Kreisler (Vienna), and Montreal international violin competitions. Closer to home, she has been awarded "Best Classical Entertainer" three times at the Chicago Music Awards, and has been named a "Chicagoan of the Year" by both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Magazine.

In June 1994, Rachel Barton Pine released her much-heralded debut recording "Homage to Sarasate" with pianist Samuel Sanders on the Dorian label, featuring Sarasate's complete Spanish Dances and Carmen Fantasy. Her growing catalog includes eight acclaimed recordings on the Chicago based Cedille label, with many more in the pipeline. 2007’s “American Virtuosa: Tribute to Maud Powell” showcases the beautiful Victorian-era repertoire of America’s first internationally acclaimed violin virtuoso, and 2005's "Scottish Fantasies" with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra includes a duet with famed Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser. A very popular CD on Cacophony Records, "Stringendo: Storming the Citadel," features her original arrangements of rock and metal classics, from "Stairway to Heaven" to "Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Metallica’s “One." Another Cedille album, "Instrument of the Devil," is a classical follow-up to "Stringendo." Rachel heavily researches the repertoire that she records, often writing her own liner notes. One of her most celebrated projects is the groundbreaking "Violin Concertos by Black Composers from the 18th and 19th Centuries." Her next CD (schedule for release in September 2008) will feature the Beethoven and Clement Concertos with London’s Royal Philharmonic and conductor Jose Serebrier.

Her festival appearances have included Marlboro, Ravinia, Salzburg and Montreal (where she recently performed the entire Paganini 24 Caprices in a single evening). She's enjoyed numerous high profile collaborations over the years, including pairings with rock band Kansas, pianists Daniel Barenboim, Christopher O’Riley, and Christoph Eschenbach, baritone William Warfield, and violinist/fiddler Mark O’Connor.
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