Violin soloist Rachel Barton Pine announced on Tuesday that she will perform from a seated position for the foreseeable future, as her medical team has advised that she will be non-ambulatory for at least the next few years.
“These are medical setbacks," Pine said, "my ability to fulfill my life’s purpose as an artist remains unaffected. I’m sharing this information so the focus will stay on my music-making."
At age 20, Pine sustained serious damage to her lower limbs when her right foot was crushed and her left leg severed above the knee in a near-fatal Metra train accident.
Despite these injuries, Pine's violin playing was not affected and Pine has remained tireless in her activities not only as a performer but also as an advocate for the arts and educator. Her career as a concerto soloist has included performances with prominent orchestras around the world, as well as 40 commercial recordings, appearances on CBS Sunday Morning and NPR’s Tiny Desk, and features in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.
To date, she has undergone more than 50 surgeries. Following an intense regimen of physical therapy, she had been performing standing for all of her solo appearances prior to December 2018, when she was unexpectedly hospitalized with a joint infection while on tour in France.
In July, Pine received acclaim for substituting with just three and a half hours notice for Midori as soloist in Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor Marin Alsop. This season, she has already appeared with Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, and on a recital tour with harpsichordist Jory Vinikour. Her plans for the rest of the season include touring extensively throughout North America, including engagements with the Pacific Symphony and the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra.
Pine stayed busy during the COVID lockdown. From January through June 2021, she presented a weekly series entitled “24 in 24: Concertos from the Inside” during which, each week, she discussed a different great violin concerto and performed its entire solo part, live and unaccompanied.
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