December 2007

$12 a CD til 12/16!, REB Foundation update

December 6, 2007 04:01

Special 10-day sale on my CDs – 5 for the price of 4

Until December 16, buy 4 of my CDs at the regular price of $15 per CD and get a 5th CD completely free! Order the 4 CDs through my web site and then send an email with the title of the extra CD you want to This is the equivalent of just $12 a CD! If you order by December 16, your CDs will ship by December 18, just in time for the holidays.

Please remember the REB Foundation for your year-end giving

Click here for a printable donation form.

Dear Friends,

Six years ago, when the Rachel Elizabeth Barton (REB) Foundation was established, our goals were set high – not simply to distribute an instrument or two to talented young musicians, but to create an organization that would be far-reaching in scope and diversity.

With the help of many generous friends, we have built four programs designed to do just that. Our efforts support music education and young artists close to home and around the world. You can help ensure that this important work continues.

Last year, we announced a new REB Foundation initiative, Global Heartstrings, to benefit aspiring classical musicians in developing countries. These musicians face significant obstacles obtaining basic musical supplies such as rosin, strings, reeds, and sheet music.

Last August, I traveled to West Africa to work with the Ghana National Symphony (GNS) in Accra. I observed first-hand the conditions that these full-time, professional musicians live with every day. Barely existing on their wages, they don’t own their instruments and can’t afford basic supplies and maintenance. Instruments are held together with packing tape; unraveled strings and old reeds are only changed if broken. Despite these challenges, their enthusiasm for classical music and love of performing are remarkable.

One member of the GNS orchestra recently wrote, “… I do teach some children in my area how to play some of the classical instruments, and I also provide them with things including food for them to become more interested with the instruments. But like I told you, I only have one violin, viola and a trumpet, so if any assistance could reach me to help these children, I would be much grateful. It’s my desire to live such a legacy that I have trained some children.”

Our supply-gathering efforts to date permitted me to give the GNS a number of strings and a brand-new trumpet (to replace one full of rust). Also, thanks to a generous donation, I was able to bring six violins, two violas and a cello to help start a new youth orchestra in the Ghanian town of Winneba. We look forward to sending more instruments and supplies to Ghana in the next few months.

The REB Foundation’s Instrument Loan Program is currently providing two violas, four violins, and five bows to talented young artists ranging in age from 10 to 27. Following are just a few of our “success stories” that our generous donors are helping to make happen.

In February, two of our Chicago recipients, 10-year-old Adé Williams and 14-year-old Joshua Greer, appeared as soloists with the Highland Park Strings at Ravinia. Following their successful performances, Josh and Adé became the first African-American students accepted into the prestigious Academy program at the Music Institute of Chicago.

On December 19, Yang Xu, a student of Midori and the recipient of a fine French bow, will perform works by Brahms, Kreisler, and Saint-Saëns for the Dame Myra Hess concert series at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Without the help of the REB Foundation, none of these deserving young artists would have access to instruments of the quality necessary to inspire their growth as musicians. We have a waiting list of many other gifted players, and we are actively seeking loans or gifts of additional instruments.

There are many other lives that have been touched by the generosity of our donors. We were able to give our 2007 vCareer Grants to two extraordinary young women. Jennifer Stumm and Joanna Marie Frankel each used their REB Foundation grant to help with their Carnegie Hall debut.

Jennifer Stumm, one of today’s most exciting young violists, recently won first prize in three major international competitions: William Primrose, Geneva, and Concert Artists Guild (where she was the first solo violist in the nearly 60-year history of the competition to win). Her upcoming recital debuts include the Kennedy Center, London’s Wigmore Hall, and Ravinia’s “Rising Stars” series.

Violinist Joanna Marie Frankel, winner of the Juilliard School's 2007 William Schuman Prize for outstanding artistic excellence and leadership, is making her mark as an innovative performer. Upcoming recital engagements include Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, performing a program that combines spoken literary texts, contemporary works, and traditional repertoire.

Our curricular project, The String Student's Library of Music by Black Composers, is continuing to progress. The String Student’s Library recently received its very first piece of music written expressly for our anthology. Dr. Gregory Walker, renowned violinist and composer, contributed “Duet for Two Violins.” This delightful piece, incorporating hip-hop rhythms and catchy melodies, is sure to become a student favorite.

Our team of researchers is busy gathering historic repertoire from around the world, collecting works by living composers, editing the music, and writing composer biographies. There is much work yet to be done before we can publish our series. Nevertheless, our music is already being enjoyed by many young players. We are especially pleased that the Sphinx Competition (for Black and Latino youth up to age 26) has expanded its repertoire to include works from the String Student’s Library.

As you consider you year-end charitable giving, please remember the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation, which is enhancing the lives of so many young musicians. Your gift will demonstrate your commitment to the future of classical music and will be an ideal way to give the gift of music to future generations. We cannot deny bringing music to the many children who are longing for it to become a part of their lives. They are depending upon your generosity.


Rachel Barton Pine, President

P.S. You may direct your gift either to our general fund or to one of our specific programs. But please let us hear from you by December 31st. Thank you.

The Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) Not-for-Profit organization. Your donation is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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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