In both art and life, violinist 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.
“An exciting, boundary-defying performer – Pine displays a power and confidence that puts her in the top echelon.”
– The Washington Post
“Striking and charismatic…she demonstrated a bravura technique and soulful musicianship”
– The New York Times
Pine’s 2016-2017 season includes performances of concertos by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Bruch, Dvorak, Elgar, Korngold, Locatelli, Mozart, Prokofiev, Saint-Saens, Shostakovich and Vivaldi, with orchestras including the Columbus Symphony (as leader), the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (also as leader) and the West Virginia and Wichita Symphony Orchestras. In April 2017 she will offer the world premiere of the Maneein Violin Concerto with the Phoenix Symphony, conducted by Tito Muñoz.
Her various recital programs include single evening concerts of all six Bach Sonatas and Partitas, the complete Brahms Sonatas and the 24 Paganini Caprices. This season Pine premieres “American Partitas,” a recital program of newly commissioned works by Bruce Molsky, Darol Anger, Billy Childs and Daniel Bernard Roumain partnered with the Bach Partitas for solo violin. Like Bach’s works, the new compositions will be suites of dance movements: Molsky’s and Anger’s works will be associated with traditional American fiddle music, Childs’ will be influenced by jazz, and Roumain’s will be inspired by modern styles including hip-hop.
In May 2017, Avie Records will release Pine’s Paganini a capella, which includes her performance of all 24 Paganini Caprices as well as other Paganini unaccompanied works. Paganini was considered by many to be the first rock star, and his 24 Caprices require tremendous technical skill. However, it is Paganini’s inherent musicality that has always been at the heart of Pine’s relationship to this artist and his works. Paganini was a product of the bel canto (“beautiful singing”) era in Italy in which the human voice was the most revered of instruments and great singers were worshiped. Bel canto, at its core, is about beauty and expression, and Pine’s performance honors how Paganini captured this in both his playing and his compositions.
Pine has offered her single evening performances of all 24 Paganini Caprices in cities including Los Angeles, 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 lament-like No. 6.” The Strad noted her “secure technical control and an attractively hearty tone,” and praised her interpretation saying, “Each Caprice was effectively characterized.”
In August 2016, Pine had the pleasure of spending time with legendary conductor Sir Neville Marriner to discuss their scheduled January 2017 recording of the Elgar and Bruch violin concertos with the BBC Symphony. The album will now be released as a tribute to late conductor in January 2018 on Avie. Pine will also dedicate her Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra performance to Sir Neville as he served as the original music director of the group. Pine and Sir Neville previously collaborated on Mozart: Complete Violin Concertos with The Academy of St Martin in the Fields, which charted at number three on the Billboard classical charts in 2015.
Pine has appeared as a soloist with many of North America’s most prestigious ensembles, including the Chicago, Montreal, Atlanta, San Diego, Baltimore, St. Louis and Dallas Symphonies; the Buffalo, Calgary, and Rochester Philharmonics, and the Philadelphia and Louisville Orchestras. Overseas, she has performed with the Vienna, New Zealand, Iceland and Budapest Symphonies; the Royal Scottish Philharmonic, the Belgian and Russian National Orchestras; the Mozarteum, Scottish and Israel Chamber Orchestras; the Royal Philharmonic, and, and the Netherlands Radio Kamer Filharmonie. She traveled to West Africa to play for the President of the Republic of Ghana, and to Southeast Asia to perform for the President of the Republic of Singapore. Stateside she has played for the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Pine has worked with such renowned conductors as Charles Dutoit, John Nelson, Zubin Mehta, Erich Leinsdorf, Neeme Järvi, Marin Alsop, Placido Domingo and Semyon Bychkov and with such leading artists as Daniel Barenboim, Christoph Eschenbach, William Warfield, Christopher O’Riley and Mark O’Connor.
Pine has collaborated with many contemporary composers including Augusta Read Thomas, John Corigliano, Luis Jorge González, Mohammed Fairouz, Earl Maneein and José Serebrier. Her numerous premieres include “Rush” for solo violin by Thomas, “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.
Pine’s 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 Beethoven in 2005.
Pine is an avid performer of baroque, renaissance and medieval music on baroque violin, viola d’amore, renaissance violin, and rebec. In 2015 Cedille Records released her recording of Vivaldi: The Complete Viola D’Amore Concertos with Ars Antigua. 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 albums on Cedille Records takes listeners on a country-by-country tour of the European Baroque.
Pine writes her own cadenzas to many of the works she performs including concertos by Beethoven, Brahms, 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.
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 Brahms Violin Concerto, and the music dedicated to, commissioned by, or closely associated with Powell. Pine and Karen Shaffer, founder of the Maud Powell Society for Music and Education, successfully campaigned the Recording Academy to award a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award to Maud Powell. Pine joined Shaffer to accept the award on the late violinist’s behalf in 2014.
Pine’s Violin Lullabies published by Carl Fischer features her editions of the music from her chart-topping recording of classical cradle songs, complete with downloadable piano accompaniment parts and music-minus-one tracks performed by the album’s pianist Matthew Hagle. 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.
Upcoming sheet music publications include her editions of the Bach Six Sonatas and Partitas and the Paganini 24 Caprices. Pine has also been invited by leading site The Violin Channel to publish a video series on the complete Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin by J.S. Bach.
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.
Pine began an exploration of beloved violin concertos and the concertos that inspired them with Brahms and Joachim Violin Concertos, recorded with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor Carlos Kalmar. Her Beethoven & Clement Violin Concertos, recorded with The Royal Philharmonic and conducted by Serebrier, offered the world premiere recording of Clement’s D Major Violin Concerto.
Pine’s most recent album Testament: Complete Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin by Johann Sebastian Bach released on Avie in 2016 and her Violin Lullabies, with pianist Matthew Hagle, on Cedille in 2013 both charted at number one on the Billboard classical chart. Pine’s 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 Mendelssohn and Schumann Violin Concertos and the Beethoven 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-Symphony-Orchestra 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. Her Scottish Fantasies for Violin and Orchestra features Pine with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, conductor Alexander Platt and famed Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser performing evocative works by Bruch, Mackenzie and others based on traditional Scottish melodies. In preparation Pine thoroughly researched each work, discovering the original, mostly 18th-century fiddle tunes that inspired them. Pine’s numerous other recordings include works by Liszt, Sarasate, Handel and others.
Pine 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.
A fan of rock and heavy metal since her pre-teens, 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 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. 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, Vivaldi, Sibelius, and Shostakovich. In 2016, Pine and Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante filmed a widely released Grammy PRO video in which the musicians discussed their shared love of classical and rock.
Pine is committed to encouraging the next generation to experience the transformative power of the arts. Her Rachel Barton Pine Foundation assists young artists. In 2015, the RBP Foundation received the donation of the Arkwright Lady Rebecca Sylvan Stradivarius of 1732 from Dr. Joseph Sylvan. The instrument will be paired with a worthy recipient through the RBP Foundation’s Instrument Loan Program, which allows young artists to benefit from the use of high-quality instruments that otherwise would not be available to them. Other RBP Foundation projects include 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.
Pine is a Life Trustee of the Music Institute of Chicago, which named the “Rachel Barton Pine Violin Chair” in her honor. Along with touring activities, Pine frequently gives master classes and coaches chamber music, gives special programs and demonstrations for children, and 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.
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, PBS Newshour, 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, as well as National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and Tiny Desk. Recent cover stories include Strad and Strings.
A Chicago native, Pine 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 (at ages ten and fifteen) 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. Pine 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.