The American violinist, Rachel Barton Pine, (born Rachel Elizabeth Barton), began violin studies at age three and made her professional debut four years later at age seven with the Chicago String Ensemble. Her earliest appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (at ages 10 and 15) were broadcast on television. Her principal teachers were Roland and Almita Vamos and she has also studied with Ruben Gonzalez, Werner Scholz, Elmira Darvarova and several early music specialists. She holds prizes from several of the world’s leading competitions, including a gold medal at the 1992 J.S. Bach International Violin Competition in Leipzig, Germany. Other top awards have come from the Queen Elisabeth (Brussels, 1993), Kreisler (Vienna, 1992), Szigeti (Budapest, 1992), and Montreal (1991) International Violin Competitions. She won additional accolades for her interpretation of the Paganini Caprices at both the Szigeti Competition and the 1993 Paganini International Violin Competition in Genoa.
Rachel Barton Pine has appeared as a soloist with many of North America’s most prestigious ensembles, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and Dallas Symphony Orchestra; Buffalo Pilharmonic and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Orchestra and Louisville Orchestra. Overseas, she has performed with the Wiener Symphoniker, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Iceland Symphony Orchestra and Budapest Symphony Orchestra; Royal Scottish and Belgian National Orchestras; the Mozarteum, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Israel Chamber Orchestra; the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic and Russian Philharmonic, and the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic. She has played for the President of Ghana and the President of Singapore, as well as for the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. She has worked with such renowned conductors as Charles Dutoit, John Nelson, Zubin Mehta, Erich Leinsdorf, Neeme Järvi, Marin Alsop, Plácido Domingo and Semyon Bychkov and with such leading artists as Daniel Barenboim, Christoph Eschenbach, William Warfield, Christopher O'Riley and Mark O'Connor.
Rachel Barton Pine has collaborated with many contemporary composers including Augusta Read Thomas, John Corigliano, Luis Jorge González, José Serebrier and Mohammed Fairouz. Her numerous premieres include Rush for solo violin by Thomas, as well as the Native Informant Sonata for Solo Violin, and the Al-Andalus Violin Concerto by Fairouz, as well as the Panamanian premiere of Panamanian composer Roque Cordero’s 1962 Violin Concerto. Her past festival appearances have included Marlboro, Wolf Trap, Vail, Ravinia, Davos, and Salzburg. She gave the world premieres of the last movement of Samuel Barber's long-lost 1928 Violin Sonata in 2009, and a sonata fragment by L.v. Beethoven in 2005.
In addition to her mixed recital programs, Rachel Barton Pine has regularly given single evening performances of the six J.S. Bach's Sonatas and Partitas (BWV 1001-1006), the 24 Paganini Caprices, and the complete Johannes Brahms Sonatas. She has performed all 24 Paganini Caprices live in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, Washington D.C. and at Ravinia. The New York Times wrote of the Paganini concert, “Ms. Pine illuminated the poetic moments within the bombast of the caprices, each of which focuses on a different technical element. She played with soulful élan in No. 2 and in No. 4, with its multiple stops, and deftly conquered the frenetic arpeggios of the fiendish No. 5, which uses a bouncing ricochet bow technique. The weeping trills sounded beautiful in her expressive rendition of the lamentlike No. 6.” The Strad noted her “secure technical control and an attractively hearty tone,” and praised her interpretation saying, “Each Caprice was effectively characterized.”
Rachel Barton Pine is an avid performer of Baroque, renaissance and medieval music on Baroque violin, viola d’amore, renaissance violin, and rebec. She regularly plays and records with John Mark Rozendaal and David Schrader as the period instrument ensemble Trio Settecento. Trio Settecento has most recently released Veracini’s Complete Sonate Accademiche for Violin and Continuo; the Trio’s Grand Tour collection of four CD's on Cedille Records takes listeners on a country-by-country of the European Baroque.
Rachel Barton Pine writes her own cadenzas to many of the works she performs including concertos by L.v. Beethoven, J. Brahms, W.A. Mozart, and Paganini. In 2009, Carl Fischer published The Rachel Barton Pine Collection, a collection of original compositions, arrangements, cadenzas, and editions penned or arranged by Pine, which earned her the distinction of being the only living artist and first woman to join great musicians like Fritz Kreisler and Jascha Heifetz in Carl Fischer’s Masters Collection series.
Rachel Barton Pine is also music advisor and editor of Maud Powell Favorites. Powell was the first native-born American violinist to achieve international recognition and the collection is the only published compilation of Powell’s transcriptions, Powell’s cadenza for the J. Brahms Violin Concerto, and the music dedicated to, commissioned by, or closely associated with Powell. Pine successfully campaigned the Recording Academy to award a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award to Maud Powell. Pine helped to accept the award on the violinist’s behalf in 2014.
Pine collaborated with Carl Fischer for its edition of Franz Wohlfahrt Foundation Studies for the Violin, Book 1 as well as for its edition of Franz Wohlfahrt Foundation Studies for the Violin, Book 2. Both editions contain an accompanying DVD featuring Pine playing all of the etudes.
Rachel Barton Pine's prolific discography of 30 albums on the Avie, Cedille, Warner Classics, Hänssler Classics, Naxos and Dorian labels reflects her love of the classical warhorses, as well as her interest in promoting contemporary composers and exploring historic music that has been unjustifiably neglected. She began an exploration of beloved violin concertos and the concertos that inspired them with J. Brahms and Joachim Violin Concertos, recorded with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor Carlos Kalmar. Her L.v. Beethoven & Clement Violin Concertos, recorded with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by José Serebrier, offered the world premiere recording of Clement’s D Major Violin Concerto. Her recording of Violin Lullabies, with pianist Matthew Hagle, debuted at number one on the Billboard classical chart. Her Violin Concertos by Black Composers of the 18th and 19th Centuries, sheds light on four gifted musicians of African descent that made significant contributions to Western classical music, and was nominated for a National Public Radio Heritage Award.
Warner Classics selected Pine to record the Glazunov Violin Concerto with the Russian National Orchestra and José Serebrier, as part of its acclaimed collection of complete Glazunov orchestral works. She recorded the Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann Violin Concertos and the L.v. Beethoven's Romances with the Göttinger Symphonie Orchester, Christoph-Mathias Mueller conducting. Pine’s performance of Xavier Montsalvatge’s Poema Concertante for violin and orchestra recorded with the NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg conducted by Maestro Celso Antunes was released by Hänssler Classics as part of an album of Montsalvatge symphonic works. Her Capricho Latino on Cedille, a stunning collection of 14 unaccompanied virtuoso pieces with a Latin flair, includes her own arrangements of Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz’s celebrated Asturias and a medley of tangos by Piazzola. Her American Virtuosa: Tribute to Maud Powell features rarely-heard Victorian-era gems arranged by America’s first internationally-acclaimed violinist. Haer numerous other recordings include works by Bruch, Franz Liszt, Sarasate, George Frideric Handel and others.
A fan of rock and heavy metal since her pre-teens, Rachel Barton Pine's ability to see the connecting threads between classical and rock music makes her the perfect bridge between generations of music fans. Hailed as an artistic ambassador, she often visits rock radio stations and rock clubs to perform her own arrangements of rock and metal songs followed by classical pieces to illustrate how the two genres share a similar intensity and compositional complexity, and to help draw new listeners to classical music. The success of these experiences inspired her orchestral initiative “Shredding with the Symphony,” aimed at drawing new audience members. The program features pieces by Van Halen, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Metallica alongside pieces by Bruch, Antonio Vivaldi and Dmitri Shostakovich.
Rachel Barton Pine is committed to encouraging the next generation to experience the transformative power of the arts. Her Rachel Barton Pine Foundation assists young artists through various projects including the Instrument Loan Program, Grants for Education and Career, Global HeartStrings (supporting classical musicians in developing countries), and a curricular series in development in conjunction with the University of Michigan: Music by Black Composers. She is a Life Trustee of the Music Institute of Chicago, which named the “Rachel Barton Pine Violin Chair” in her honor. Pine coaches chamber music and gives master-classes. Along with touring activities, she enjoys giving special programs and demonstrations for children and often incorporates spoken program notes or pre-concert conversations into her appearances. She has been an instructor at the Musicorda Summer Musical Festival and Domaine-Forget, as well as Mark O'Connor’s Fiddle Camp and the Mark Wood Rock Orchestra Camp. She received the prestigious 2006 Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award for her work in music education.
Rachel Barton Pine was a torchbearer in the 1996 Olympic torch relay and that same year performed at the Democratic National Convention. She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, appeared five times on NBC’s Today Show, and frequently has been a guest on nationally-syndicated radio shows including Performance Today, A Prairie Home Companion, and National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. Recent cover stories include Strad, Strings and International Musician.
Rachel Barton Pine's 2015-2016 season includes performances of concertos by L.v. Beethoven, J. Brahms, Bruch, Dvorak, Fairouz, W.A. Mozart, Sibelius and A. Vivaldi, with orchestras including the Santa Rosa Symphony, the New Mexico Philharmonic, and the Flagstaff, Windsor, and Gainesville Symphony Orchestras. She will continue her recital tour of the six J.S. Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for Unaccompanied Violin in Gainesville, FL and Washington, D.C.
In March, 2016 Avie Records will release Pine’s performance of J.S. Bach’s Six Sonatas and Partitas for Violin, recorded in the same church in which she first heard the music of J.S. Bach live and first experienced and fell in love with the violin at age three. Pine recently celebrated the release of W.A. Mozart: Complete Violin Concertos with conductor Sir Neville Marriner and The Academy of St Martin in the Fields. The recording also contains W.A. Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, recorded with violist Matthew Lipman. The release marks Pine’s debut on Avie Records and features her own cadenzas. In September 2015, Cedille Records releases her recording of A. Vivaldi: The Complete Viola D’Amore Concertos with Ars Antigua. This season Pine will be featured on four recordings. In fall 2012, her period instrument group Trio Settecento releases An English Fancy on Cedille Records, the fourth and final CD in a series of albums illustrating the character and complexion of Baroque Era music as it developed in various regions of Europe. She performs Mohammed Fairouz’s Sonata for solo violin (written for Pine) on a March 2013 Naxos recording featuring the composer’s works. In April 2013, Cedille Records will release Violin Lullabies with pianist Matthew Hagle. This unique collection includes original lullabies for violin and piano by composers Amy Beach, Gabriel Fauré, Ravel, Sibelius, Igor Stravinsky and Ysaye alongside transcriptions of favorites by J. Brahms, Gershwin, Schubert and more. She also plays with pianist George Francois on an album of works by renowned Ghanian composer J.H. Kwabena Nketia. This season a high-definition, life size video of Pine playing and being interviewed will be the culminating installation of “Stradivarius: Origins and Legacy of the Greatest Violin Maker,” a new exhibit of treasures made by master violin makers including Andrea Amati, Guarneri del Gesù, and Antonio Stradivari debuting at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.
In both art and life, Rachel Barton Pine has an extraordinary ability to connect with people. Celebrated as a leading interpreter of great classical and contemporary works, her performances combine her innate gift for emotional communication and her scholarly fascination with historical research. She plays with passion and conviction across an extensive repertoire, thrilling audiences with her dazzling technique, lustrous tone, and infectious joy in music-making. She resides in Chicago with her husband and daughter. She performs on the Joseph Guarnerius del Gesu (Cremona 1742), known as the “ex-Bazzini, ex-Soldat” on lifetime loan from her patron.