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Rachel Barton Pine

Follow my adventures in real time!

November 8, 2007 at 3:08 AM

Follow my adventures in real time!

The newest hot social networking site, Twitter is a service for friends to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?

Find out what I’m doing all day long by visiting to view my posts. You don’t have to join to read my page, but you’ll probably want to - tweeting is really fun!

My photos are moving to Flickr

I’m in the process of transferring all of the photos from my web site to It will be so much easier to add new ones frequently, and you’ll be able to comment on them too. Over Christmas break, I’m planning to go through my archives and post photos from past years that you’ve never seen before. If you have any photos of yourself with me or anything else you think should be on my Flickr site, please email them to me at

November 5: Live From WFMT

On Monday, November 5, from 8:00-10:00pm Central Time, I will be performing live on radio station WFMT, 98.7 in Chicago. You can listen online at

The program will feature rarely heard chamber music by Nicolo Paganini, including the Three Duetti Concertanti for violin and bassoon with Preman Tilson and various sonatas for violin and guitar with Rene Izquierdo. Preman, Rene, and I will also chat with popular program host Kerry Frumkin.

About Preman Tilson
After studying at the conservatories in New York, Boston and Arizona, Preman Tilson began performing in such ensembles as the Grant Park Festival Orchestra, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and the Arizona Opera Company. He has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera of Chicago as well. In 1993, Mr. Tilson moved to New Zealand after being named Principal Bassoon with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

About Rene Izquierdo
Cuban classical guitarist Rene Izquierdo is on the music faculty at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. After graduating from the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory and Superior Institute of Art in Havana, Mr Izquierdo came to the U.S. and graduated from Yale with a Master of Music and an Artist Diploma. He has performed as a soloist as well as in chamber music concerts throughout North America, Cuba, Italy, Spain and France. Prior to joining UWM, he also taught at universities in New York.

new podcast episodes

My most recent podcast episodes feature conversations with friends. Please visit to listen to all of them.

Do you have a question you’d like me to answer on my podcast? Just send your question via text or as an MP3 attachment to Please also let me know if you have any comments or suggestions. If you use iTunes, be sure to subscribe!

Episode 14: Rachel and her sister Hannah Barton talk about the R.E.B. Foundation's newest initiative, Global Heartstrings.

The Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation announces its newest initiative: Global HeartStrings. Classical musicians in developing countries often cannot obtain such basic supplies as rosin, strings, reeds, and sheet music. Furthermore, they do not have access to instrument repair shops, resulting in their instruments becoming unplayable due to lack of basic maintenance. Global HeartStrings is dedicated to supporting these aspiring classical musicians.

Rachel's youngest sister, 20-year-old violinist Hannah Barton, is helping organize supply-gathering drives for Global HeartStrings.

For more information, please visit Be sure to also join the Global HeartStrings groups on Facebook and MySpace.

Episode 15: Rachel Barton Pine talks with Maestro Christoph Mueller

Rachel Barton Pine talks with Maestro Christoph Mueller, music director of the Gottingen Symphony Orchestra, about Joseph Joachim's "Hungarian" Concerto and his life as a conductor. This conversation was recorded in Gottingen on September 1, 2007, the morning after their performance together.

Episode 16: Rachel Barton Pine talks with Venezuelan violinist Jesus Florido

Rachel Barton Pine talks with her friend, Venezuelan violinist Jesus Florido, about his life as a master of many styles including baroque, classical, jazz, Latin, rock, world music, and more. Jesus also discusses his approach to music education and why he teaches his students to improvise and ... cook! In addition, he plays a short original tune inspired by Venezuelan music. For more information about Jesus Florido, please visit

REVIEW: Tchaikovsky Concerto in Youngstown on October 20

The Vindicator (Ohio)
October 22, 2007
“Fleischer, Pine shine in program”
By Robert Rollin

The concert’s high point was provided by stellar violin soloist Rachel Barton Pine’s exemplary and inspired “Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto” performance. From her very first entrance it was clear that she was totally comfortable with the music. She projected beautifully over the orchestral texture, and her rich sound seemed to pour forth effortlessly. Her trill section was charming and crystalline during the more rhythmically-differentiated second theme. The orchestra accompanied very well, except for a few ragged moments in the tutti following the trills. Pine’s energy was infectious as she dug into rapid passages with her powerful bow arm gestures. Her sound on the low G string was especially lush and vibrant. The cadenza was both intense and graceful.

The muted opening to the lyric second movement, “Canzonetta,” was simply gorgeous. The expressive exchanges between soloist and clarinet and among the orchestral upper woodwinds were charming, as was the violin re-entry accompanied by lovely low-clarinet arpeggios. Notwithstanding her exceptional technique, Pine seems most at home with lyrical musical gestures and excelled in the second movement.

The third movement, beginning without pause after a short transition, moved with almost reckless abandon. The somewhat slower alternating theme provided some of the most lyrical moments in all the violin concerto literature and Pine, Fleischer and the orchestra showed themselves up to maintaining continuity, bringing out contrast, and closing the piece with flair.

Pine’s encore was her own virtuoso solo violin composition, “Introduction, Theme, and Variations on God Defend New Zealand.” The engagingly light piece shows how well she has absorbed the virtuoso literature from Paganini to Sarasate. One particularly dazzling moment involved the lovely melody soaring over a left-hand pizzicato accompaniment. The audience was enthralled.


The Sunday Times, Singapore
September 30, 2007
By Stephanie Yap

S.T.: What are you reading now?

R.B.P.: Putting the Arts In The Picture by Nick Rabkin. It is a non-fiction book about a new movement in education in America called arts integration.

This is an approach where they use the arts to discuss other topics and, at the same time, teach artistic skills to the highest level. They have discovered that it not only improves the academic skills of children, but also make them more effective artists.

This is something I have believed for a long time. I was home-schooled since the third grade as I was already performing quite extensively. I studied a lot of history and could relate what I studied to the music I play. I do feel that this opened my eyes as an artist.

I met the author when I was invited to sit on a panel on music education for teenagers about 1 1/2 years ago. This is the second time I’m reading the book - I’m re-reading it now to highlight certain passages which I can use when I give speeches about the importance of music education.

S.T.: If your house was burning down, which book would you save?

R.B.P.: The L’Art Du Violon (The Art Of The Violin) by Jean-Baptiste Cartier. It was first published in the late 1700s and is a collection of violin repertoire from the early 1700s.

He got many of the pieces from other sources, but some of these have been lost, and for many pieces, this collection is now the earliest existing source.

There are other copies of the book, but mine belonged to Cartier himself, and it has red pencil markings and extensive paragraphs of comments by him.

I bought it at an auction of violinist Isaac Stern’s belongings when he died in 2001, for only a few hundred US dollars.

One of my plans for the book is to take it to the Newberry Library, the famous humanities library in Chicago where I am a scholar-in-residence. I would like to work with the conservation department to create some kind of electronic replica of the book so that everyone will have access to it online.

The Post-Crescent (Appleton, Wisconsin)
October 4, 2007
“Violinist to help Fox Valley Symphony usher in a new season amid growing expectations”
By Kara Patterson

Chicago-based classical violin soloist Rachel Barton Pine, whose tour stops include Singapore, Israel, Scotland and Puerto Rico, will join the Fox Valley Symphony Saturday at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton.

It’s the second time the young violinist has shared the state with the FVS, having performed here nearly a decade ago

Pine, who debuted professionally with the Chicago String Ensemble at age 7, played Max Bruch’s concerto “Scottish Fantasy” on her last time through the Fox Valley. On Saturday, the now 32-year-old will perform a Mozart concerto.

We caught up with Pine to talk about the concerto, the work she does through her foundation and what she’s listening to when she’s not on stage.

P.C.: What should your Fox Valley audience know about Mozart’s “Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Major?”

R.B.P.: One important thing to mention, actually, is that I will be using my own cadenzas for the Mozart concerto. It’s kind of like the guitar solo in a rock song - it’s the most personal way that I can interpret the concerto. Mozart wrote all the tunes, but I definitely had so much fun composing my cadenzas. It’s just been a wonderful process and I’m so excited to be able to share them with everyone.

P.C.: You’ve scheduled a master class Friday at Lawrence University. Can you offer the community’s classical music students some advice?

R.B.P.: In classical, you really do have to be a close to perfect as you can, and that takes a tremendous amount of work, just on the physical side of playing the instrument. And then of course there’s the important historic study that you have to, or that you ought to do, learning about the time and place in which the piece was written, and analyzing the score. In the end, in the moment of performance, you have to get past all of that and you have to engage the audience in the emotions of the music. You have to balance your practice session between working on all of that accuracy and also allowing yourself some degree of freedom at times to play the music, and think about how you want it to end up being dramatically.

P.C.: You are the president of the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation, which assists young classical musicians through loan and grant programs. What are some of the foundation’s goals for the coming year?

R.B.P.: We have a new project that we just started this year, Global HeartStrings. This project supports aspiring classical musicians in developing countries. One of the groups we are going to help is affiliated with Lawrence University. My understating is these children attend a particular music school down there in Haiti, which sends Lawrence students down there to teach. That group also doesn’t have access to some basic instruments and supplies. Lawrence music professor Janet Anthony put together a very comprehensive list of exactly what they’re lacking, so I’m hoping to fill as much of that wish list as I possibly can.

P.C.: Can you tell me more about the foundation’s “The String Student’s Library of Music by Black Composers” project?

R.B.P.: It’s going to be the first-ever curriculum of music by black composers from all around the world from the 1700s to the present day, in volumes for beginners through advanced students, not only their repertoire but also the history of the composers and other history such as the all-black orchestras of America of the 1800s, or the fact that Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass were very enthusiastic amateur sting players and so on.

P.C.: When you’re trying to unwind and relax, what are you listening to?

R.B.P.: Well, usually heavy metal. That’s my favorite kind of non-classical music, everything from classic heavy metal to speed metal and thrash metal.

The Daily Chronicle (DeKalb, Illinois)
October 18, 2007
“Violinist prepares to play Tchaikovsky for KSO benefit”
By Benji Feldheim

Rachel Barton Pine doesn't get nervous.

The accomplished violinist has been playing since age 3, and said she has been in front of audiences so many times that she gets excited rather than nervous before going on stage.
Since her first orchestra solo performance at age 7 with The Chicago String Ensemble, Pine has gone from winning varied musical competitions in her teens to a successful recording career and a touring schedule that has included performances around the world.

Pine will be performing famed Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D major at a benefit concert for the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra. The concert will be held Nov. 2 at Northern Illinois University.

Pine, 33, started in classical but has since adopted an array of styles - including heavy metal, African-American spirituals and folk music. Aside from playing, she started the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation in 2001 to raise awareness of and appreciation for classical music, and sits on various music advocacy boards in her hometown of Chicago and across the country.

Pine took time while on tour in Israel to speak with the Daily Chronicle about writing heavy-metal pieces for the violin, advice for parents on not interfering with their child's wish to play music and trying her hand at playing the blues and a medieval instrument.

D.C.: You have played arrangements of many different musical styles on the violin. Anything new in the works?

R.B.P.: The violin can do anything. I can't even think of a style of music that can't be reproduced on it. I want to take it farther, since classical music has incorporated almost every non-classical style - jazz, pop, folk, music from different times and places. But you would be hard-pressed to find melodies, rhythms and harmonies from heavy metal in classical performances. I'm just starting a commissioning project to ask composers with a background in hard rock and heavy metal to write metal-influenced pieces for the acoustic violin. A lot of rock artists enjoy classical music and are listening to pretty out-there stuff. Their fans should really give classical a try. For example, Marty Friedman from Megadeth is really into the (Eugene) Ysaye violin sonatas. Besides, a Tchaikovsky concerto can be every bit as intense as a rock concert.

D.C.: Do you have any advice for people looking to pursue music?

R.B.P.: I think the most important thing to tell any parent of a kid studying music is: Follow where they want to go. Some people (like me) are geeky and want to be practicing eight hours a day, but some don't enjoy the process. There's a fine line between encouraging, but not nagging them into not enjoying music. I don't envy any parent in that situation. I was kind of weird because I loved practicing. My mom would have to tell me to put the violin down and come to dinner. Many people including wonderful musicians don't like to practice. If you want to be a musician, make a commitment. Whether it's 45 minutes a day or three hours, it doesn't matter, just be sure to do it consistently. Make it fun, try playing old favorites and then new difficult pieces. Just don't be cramming it all in the night before a lesson!

D.C.: What can we expect at the Kishwaukee benefit?

R.B.P.: There's universal human emotion that everyone can relate to in the Tchaikovsky piece. He was struggling with being homosexual at a time where you could be put to death for it. He married a female student who was a troubled young woman. She threatened to commit suicide if he didn't marry her, so he agreed to take the plunge and try living life as a married man, but the situation was so traumatic for him that he tried to commit suicide. He ran off to recuperate and wrote this concerto while he spent time with a young male violinist. The nature of their relationship is not certain, but they did have a positive emotional bond which comes through in the piece. The first movement is full of angst and the second is incredibly lonely, but there are wonderful high spirits in the last movement. It's a huge transition to happiness and exuberance from a very dark place. No matter who we are, each of us has experienced angst, and it can be a struggle to be happy about life again. That's a universal theme, and historically this piece is way ahead of its time.

D.C.: What challenges are you undertaking?

R.B.P.: I definitely want to improve on my ability to play the blues. Growing up in Chicago, it's natural to want to play blues. When I think about the notes in my head, it flows, but when my fingers touch the strings, something gets clogged. I still have to put in the hours. Also, this is more of a hobby, but I recently bought a rebec. It's a threeing, pear-shaped medieval instrument that you hold on your arm. I'm starting to get better, but I still have a long way to go. There's always more to learn, no matter how much repertoire you have. You've never done it all.

November 11 & 12: performances with the Greenville Symphony

My debut appearances with the Greenville Symphony will feature Corigliano’s Red Violin Chaconne and Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy with Maestro Edvard Tchivzhel. The concerts will take on Saturday, November 10 at 8 pm and on Sunday, November 12 at 3 pm at the Peace Center Concert Hall in Greenville, South Carolina. The program also includes Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique.

Please be sure to join me one hour before each concert for a pre-concert conversation, where I will discuss my repertoire and take audience questions.

For more information, please contact Greenville Symphony Orchestra at (864) 467-3000 or visit

To watch a YouTube video of my discussion of the Carmen Fantasy and Red Violin Chaconne, please visit

November 16, 17 & 18: performances with the New Mexico Symphony

My fourth visit to the New Mexico Symphony will feature the Saint-Saens Violin Concerto No. 3 with Maestro Guillermo Figueroa. The concerts will take place on Friday, November 16 at 8pm, on Saturday, November 17 at 6pm, and on Sunday, November 18 at 2pm, in Popejoy Hall in Albuquerque. The program also includes Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture and Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast with the NMSO Chorus.

Please be sure to join me one hour before each concert for a pre-concert conversation, where I will discuss my concerto and take audience questions.

For more information, please contact the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra at (505) 881-9590 or visit

Please visit www./ to read program notes about these performances.

November 17: master class in Albuquerque

On Saturday, November 17, from 10:30am-12:30pm, I will give a master class for students of the University of New Mexico. Repertoire will include movements of concertos by Tchaikovsky, Barber, Prokofiev, and Bruch, as well as Ysaye’s “Obsession.” The master class will take place at Robertson and Sons Violin Shop,


Tour of the Tchaikovsky Concerto with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra:
December 5 in Dumfries
December 6 in Glasgow
December 7 in Edinburgh
December 8 in Aberdeen

You can find information about all of my tour dates for the 2007-2008 season by visiting

From janet griffiths
Posted on November 8, 2007 at 6:54 AM
Loved your discussion on you tube.If I lived in Greenville it would certainly draw me to the concert.
From Bilbo Prattle
Posted on November 8, 2007 at 8:31 PM
BTW, Maude Powell's work has been getting more attention on WMNR lately, including airtime for compositions of one of her favorite composers, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

I like to think you may have something to do with this.

From Bill Busen
Posted on November 9, 2007 at 5:06 PM
Let us know about the Haiti school's wishlist.

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Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine