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Rachel Barton Pine

Rachel's Musical Adventures: Obama on the Arts, lots more

February 5, 2008 at 12:03 AM

Hi and Happy Belated New Year! There’s so much to catch up on, I’ll have to save some interesting items for the next e-zine so this one doesn’t get too long. I hope you’re staying warm!

Presidential candidates describe their arts policies (or not)

Before going to the voting booth tomorrow, please be sure to visit to read the arts policy statements of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Mike Huckabee. (John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Ron Paul have not submitted arts policy statements.)

Be sure to read both of Barack Obama’s documents – the first one discusses his voting record on the arts, and the second one details his ideas, including:
expanding public/private partnerships between schools and arts organizations,
creating an Artists Corps,
reinvesting in arts education,
supporting increased funding for the NEA,
promoting cultural diplomacy,
attracting foreign talent,
providing health care to artists,
and ensuring tax fairness for artists.

Just added! Me, Mark O’Connor and Liz Carroll together in concert

March 25, 2008: Mark your calendars for a very special evening when I will be joined by two amazing violinists in a benefit concert for the International Music Foundation ( Violinist/fiddler/composer extraordinaire Mark O’Connor (, Irish fiddle great Liz Carroll ( and I will combine for solos, duets, and trios in beautiful Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center. More details about this exciting event will be coming soon.

new YouTube videos

“William Tell Overture by Rossini for Violin and Accordion”
Violinist Rachel Barton Pine performs Rossini's William Tell Overture with accordionist Rodger French in Ghana's National Theatre for the Ghana@50! Jubilee Music Festival, August 18, 2007

“Rachel Barton Pine performs Perkinson’s Blue/s Forms”
Rachel Barton Pine introduces and performs the first movement (Plain Blues) and second movement (Just Blues) from Blue/s Forms by Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson (1932-2004), February 18, 2006

Black History Month videos

In honor of Black History Month, I have created a special playlist on my YouTube channel highlighting the history and repertoire of important violinists and composers of African descent: Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, William Grant Still, David Baker, George Bridgetower, and J. Rosamond Johnson. Check it out at

Classical Entertainer of the Year – again!

On January 27, 2008, I was honored to be named Best Classical Entertainer by the 27th Annual Chicago Music Awards. I have previously received this award in 2003, 2004, and 2007. The other nominees were the Chicago Symphony, the Chicago Sinfonietta, James Conlon, and Sir Andrew Davis. “This is the only awards program of its kind in Chicago to pay tribute to Chicago born and bred artists and entertainers," said CMA founder & producer Ephraim Martin. "Reggae, Jazz & Blues, Rap & Hip Hop, Classical, Country & Western and even Polka, we have music for nearly every possible taste." Many thanks to the Chicago Music Awards for celebrating Chicago as one of the greatest music cities in the world, and special thanks to you for voting for me!

Montreal Top 10 – twice!

The classical music critics from both major Montreal newspapers (Christophe Huss from Le Devoir and Claude Gingras from La Presse) each chose my performance of the Bach Six Sonatas and Partitas at the Festival de Musique de Chambre de Montreal in May 2007 as one of the Top Ten Classical Concerts of 2007. Christophe Huss wrote: “Rachel Barton Pine performed these works on the same evening, combining an acute awareness of the Baroque style with a uniquely radiant sound. The American violinist played each of the pieces with ease, without any expressive concession or coquetry, with uprightness, humility and an impeccable sense of pulse and rhythm.” Claude Gingras described the concert as reaching “the highest summits of both technique and inspiration.”

Music for Life Alliance award

In December, the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation ( received an award for “Making a Difference in the lives of Children Through Music” from the Music for Life Alliance. The plaque states: “In recognition of your outstanding efforts and dedication to supporting music education and supplying instruments for children who may not otherwise experience the joy of making music.” The Music for Life Alliance, a non-for-profit foundation, seeks to unite individuals and organizations actively supporting music education for children who may not otherwise be able to experience the educational, psychological, and social benefits of making music; and to create and maintain a national database that enables the sharing of information, combining of resources, and speaking in a common and more effective voice. For more information, please visit

Wendy’s online – check it out!

My childhood friend and lifelong chamber music partner, cellist Wendy Warner, launched her web site last week. I hope that you will take a few minutes to visit, and be sure to say hi to Wendy when you drop by!

MusicFIRST Coalition fights for artist royalties

The MusicFIRST (Fairness in Radio Starting Today) Coalition has begun the campaign to secure a terrestrial radio performance right for sound recordings. Over-the-air radio stations can play any record on the air without paying the artist who created it. In every other developed country in the world (and domestically on cable, satellite radio and the Internet), artists are compensated for the playing of their records. Currently, royalties collected abroad for airplay of American artists are not shared with those artists since the United States does not have a reciprocal right.

Here is an excerpt from a speech by singer/songwriter Alice Peacock, President of the Chicago Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which she gave before the U.S. Senate:

“AM and FM radio—the platforms I grew up with and grew to love—do not compensate me when they broadcast my recordings. There are people more qualified than I to address the legal, historic and economic background of this issue. I'm not an expert in copyright law, but I do understand the concept of basic fairness. If a business uses recorded music to earn advertising revenue, then it should compensate those who created that recorded music. It's that simple.

Now I understand that this concept nearly always turns into a discussion about promotion. Broadcasters say radio promotes record sales, so they shouldn't have to pay a royalty. I just don’t get that. Every performance has the potential to be promotional, but why should that make a difference? I just got back from a gig in Grand Rapids, MI. Imagine if the club owner used the same logic about promotion. What if at the end of the night, after I had filled his club with paying customers, he told me he didn’t have to pay me because my performance helped promote my record sales. Such a scenario would be unacceptable by any standard. Frankly, the promotion argument sounds a little silly. Last week I bought a pair of Nike shoes. I wear them everywhere—well, except to Senate hearings. With the Nike logo on my feet, I am probably promoting their brand wherever I go. Can you imagine if I decided not to pay for the shoes on the grounds that my promoting Nike should excuse me from payment? My refusal to pay would be called "shoplifting." But radio's refusal to pay artists is called "business as usual."”

To learn more about this important issue which affects so many professional musicians, please visit

Follow what I’m up to all day long…

Have you ever wondered, “What has Rachel been doing for the last few hours?” Well, now you can find out! Just visit For example, I just “tweeted” that I’m busy writing my e-zine…

other upcoming shows

February 10 - performance at gala benefit for Keshet, Chicago

February 23 - chamber music concert at the Music Institute of Chicago featuring Bach, Vivaldi, and Brahms

February 24 - special fundraising performance for the Kenosha Orchestra Boosters, Wisconsin (FREE TO THE PUBLIC!)

March 3 - two performances with the Jupiter Chamber Players in New York City featuring Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Spohr

March 7&8 - Sarasate Carmen Fantasy and the Roque Cordero Violin Concerto with the Dayton Philharmonic in Ohio

For more details, please visit

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on February 5, 2008 at 2:50 AM
The Keshet benefit gig is a benefit for individuals with special needs, not the music camp.
From Corwin Slack
Posted on February 5, 2008 at 3:17 PM
I have always preferred a politics-free
From Cathy Strauss
Posted on February 5, 2008 at 4:07 PM
Thanks for suppling links to the presidential candidate's arts policies. It's something that I had not researched yet because I feel much more strongly about some of the other pivotal issues in this campaign, but this is an interesting piece of the puzzle I had not had time to look up. I appreciate you dropping it in my lap.
From Holly Garver
Posted on February 5, 2008 at 4:45 PM
Thank you Rachel, for sending the link to all the candidates' stances on the arts. I've been looking for that! We as artists and musicians very much need to know this information so that we can be active, not passive, participants in the system that should include us in their funding and support. What a serious mistake to exclude this information to other artists - why would we choose to be ignorant? Thanks again...
From Odin Rathnam
Posted on February 6, 2008 at 6:06 PM
Politics- free----hmmmm.. I believe our music is always politically free, yet I feel as world citizens, we have the right to our bias, as much as any other lobbying group. Furthermore, to not use our collective voices in a proactive manner seems a cop out, and is NOT in keeping with common sense democratic philosophies dating back to Plato...(was he an artist, a philosopher or a polititian, I forget) I, personally, would applaud Rachel for taking time out of a busy schedule to stay abreast of how national and international policies affect the arts.

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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