Rachel Barton Pine

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Pine, Rachel Barton
Rachel Barton Pine from Earthen Grave.jpg
Barton Pine performing on her 5-string Viper electric violin with heavy metal group Earthen Grave
Background information
Birth name Rachel Elizabeth Barton
Born (1974-10-11) October 11, 1974 (age 40)
Origin Chicago, Illinois, USA
Genres Classical
Heavy metal
Occupation(s) Violinist
NPO administrator
Instruments Violin
Electric violin
Baroque violin
Viola d'amore[1]
Renaissance violin
Years active 1981-present
Labels Cedille Records
Associated acts Trio Settecento
Earthen Grave
Website rachelbartonpine.com

Rachel Barton Pine (born Rachel Elizabeth Barton, October 11, 1974) is a violinist from Chicago. She started playing at the age of 3 and a half, debuted with the Chicago Symphony at age 10 and performed at many other renowned venues as a child and teenager. Currently she tours worldwide as a soloist with prestigious orchestras, plays in a baroque chamber music group and a heavy metal band, and has an active recording career. She is married to Greg Pine, a health care consulting firm CEO and former minor league baseball pitcher.[2] They have one daughter.

Early life[edit]

Barton Pine began playing the violin after being inspired by the example of older girls playing at her church. Because she was homeschooled her entire life, her mother started to take her to a local violin teacher for lessons.[3] She debuted with the Chicago String Ensemble at age 7, and with the Chicago Symphony under the baton of Erich Leinsdorf at age 10. Her principal teachers were Roland and Almita Vamos of the Music Institute of Chicago. Home schooling allowed her to practice 8 hours a day. At age 14, she was forced by circumstances to contribute significantly to her family's expenses by taking jobs playing at weddings and in orchestras. Explaining how she managed, she says, "I put on a lot of makeup and pretended I was older than I was."[4]

She attained notable success in a number of violin competitions, for example in 1992 becoming the youngest (at age 17) and the first American gold medal winner at the Johann Sebastian Bach International Competition in Leipzig, Germany.[5] She also earned 2nd prizes in the József Szigeti Violin Competition (1992) and the International Fritz Kreisler Competition (1992), as well as awards from the Montreal International Musical Competition (1991), the Paganini Competition (1993), and the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition (1993).[6][7]

Metra accident[edit]

On January 16, 1995, Barton Pine was severely injured in a train accident in the suburb of Winnetka, where she taught violin lessons.[5][3][8][9][10] As she was exiting a Metra commuter train with her violin over her shoulder, the doors closed on the strap to her case, pinning her left shoulder to the train. The doors, which were controlled remotely and had no safety sensors, failed to reopen, and she was dragged 366 feet by the train before being pulled underneath and run over, severing one leg and mangling the other. Barton Pine was saved by the prompt application of tourniquets by several passengers who disembarked from the train after pulling its emergency brake handles.[3]

She sued Metra and Chicago NorthWestern Railroad for compensation for her injuries and legal and medical expenses, eventually winning a jury verdict in her favor.[8] Metra changed its conductor safety procedures following the accident and made other changes to the trains themselves.


The esteem in which she was held by the classical music community was highlighted when the conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra organized a benefit concert and raised over $75,000 after her accident.[3] After a two-year hiatus to allow for recovery from her injuries, aided by numerous surgeries and physical therapy, Pine resumed her career.[5] Pine has appeared as a soloist with orchestras around the world under conductors such as Charles Dutoit, Zubin Mehta, Neeme Järvi, Marin Alsop, Semyon Bychkov, Plácido Domingo, and José Serebrier. She has also appeared with Daniel Barenboim, Christoph Eschenbach, and William Warfield. Her festival appearances include Marlboro, Ravinia, Montreal, Salzburg, and Salzburg's Mozartwoche at the invitation of Franz Welser-Möst.

Her musical interests extend well beyond classical to baroque, folk, Celtic, rock, and jazz. She regularly instructs at Mark O'Connor's annual summer fiddle camp, and in 2004 she released a CD in collaboration with Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser. A number of living composers have written works for her, including Augusta Read Thomas and Mohammed Fairouz.

Pine performs chamber music as part of Trio Settecento with David Schrader and John Mark Rozendaal, and with the Jupiter Chamber Players. In September 2009, Cedille Records released Trio Settecento's album, A German Bouquet, a selection of German baroque era works with popular pieces by Bach and Buxtehude as well as rarely heard repertoire by artists including Johann Schop, Georg Muffat, and Johann Georg Pisendel. Featuring Pine on baroque violin, Rozendaal on viola da gamba and 'cello, and Schrader on harpsichord and organ, A German Bouquet followed up the group's 2007 album An Italian Sojourn. The trio continued to explore the character and complexion of Baroque music as it developed in various regions of Europe in later albums, focusing on music from France (A French Soirée, 2011) and the British Isles (An English Fancy, 2012[11] ).

Her current principal instrument is the 1742 "ex-Soldat" violin of Guarneri del Gesu. For seventeenth- and eighteenth-century pieces, she prefers to use an unaltered 1770 instrument of Nicolò Gagliano I.[12]

Her taste in rock runs to heavy metal, with AC/DC, Anthrax, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Megadeth, Metallica, Motörhead, Pantera, Slayer, and Van Halen being among her favorites.[6][13] She has met and jammed with a number of these; in 1997, she released a heavy-metal-inspired CD. In February 2009, she joined the thrash/doom metal band Earthen Grave, where she performs on a 6-string Viper electric violin. The band has shared the stage with such metal luminaries as Pentagram, Black Label Society, Mayhem, and Nachtmystium. The group released an EP, Dismal Times.[14] Doommantia.com proclaimed that Earthen Grave has "all the songwriting capabilities to make one of the best albums ever."[15] and HellrideMusic.com said "If the doom gods are with us, this band will stay around and continue to produce the kind of unique, powerful and thoughtful music contained on Dismal Times."[16] Pine credits her experience playing in a rock band with improving her emotional rapport with her audiences.[17]

Pine often brings a new twist to her coaching sessions with chamber music and youth orchestras, by incorporating orchestral versions of rock pieces into her sessions. For example, Pine offered the world premiere of her own arrangement of Metallica's "Master of Puppets" with the McHenry County Youth Symphony (Crystal Lake, IL) in November 2009.

Bill McGlaughlin called her a "musical Pac-Man" for her ability to take in and perform so many different kinds of music.[18] She has often performed at schools and on rock music radio stations in an effort to interest younger audiences in classical music.

Pine was inducted as an honorary member of Sigma Alpha Iota in 2003.[7] She performed at the music fraternity's 45th national convention during summer 2009 in Chicago.

Carl Fischer Music recently published a sheet music book of cadenzas and virtuosic encore pieces composed by Pine, as well as her arrangements of other works for violin and piano, as part of its Masters Collection. Pine became the first living composer and first woman to be so honored.[19] Pine has also edited a 4-volume collection of compositions associated with America's pioneering female solo violinist Maud Powell,[20][21] many of which she has also recorded.[22]

On July 11, 2010, Pine gave a three-part performance at Chicago's Millennium Park as part of the Great Performers of Illinois celebration. After initially performing on baroque violin with Trio Settecento, she soloed in the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and then switched gears again to perform in black leather on her electric violin with Earthen Grave. In conjunction with the event, she received the 2010 Great Performer of Illinois award.[23][24]

In 2010, Pine participated in a tribute album titled Mister Bolin's Late Night Revival, a compilation of 17 previously unreleased tracks written by guitar legend Tommy Bolin prior to his death in 1976. The CD includes other artists such as HiFi Superstar, Doogie White, Eric Martin, Troy Luccketta, Jeff Pilson, Randy Jackson, Rex Carroll, Derek St. Holmes, Kimberley Dahme, and The 77's. A percentage of the proceeds from this project will benefit the Jackson Recovery Centers.[25]

Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation[edit]

Barton Pine started a foundation (rebf.org) bearing her maiden name in 2001 to promote the study and appreciation of classical music, including string music by black composers. It prepares music curricula on black composers, loans high-quality instruments to deserving young musicians, and provides grants to cover incidental expenses (such as for supplemental lessons, accompanists, sheet music, travel, competition entrance fees, instrument repair, and audition recordings) of students and young professional musicians. Another program, Global HeartStrings, is dedicated to supporting aspiring classical musicians from developing countries.[26] In this effort, Barton Pine has been aided by a younger sister, Hannah Barton, also a violinist.[27]

In 2006, after being nominated by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, Barton Pine received the Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award for her work through the foundation.[28] She has also been given the 2012 Karl Haas Prize for Music Education for this work and her other education-related efforts.[29]



  1. ^ Pine, Rachel Barton (2010-05-05). "A Violin Virtuoso Falls in Love with the Humble Viola d'Amore". Strings Magazine web site. String Letter Publishing, Inc. Retrieved 2010-05-09. 
  2. ^ Schmelz, L. M. (2010-11-10). "The baton is up for Lake Geneva Symphony". Walworth County Today. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  3. ^ a b c d Plummer, William; Breu, Giovanna (1995-07-24). "A Violinist's Brave Encore". People Magazine 44 (4). Retrieved 2010-10-08. 
  4. ^ "Rachel Barton Pine". ViolinStudent.Com biographies. Retrieved 2012-12-22. 
  5. ^ a b c Rosenberg, D. (2012-10-13). "Violinist Rachel Barton Pine, indomitable in face of injury, savors classical and heavy-metal journeys". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2012-12-22. 
  6. ^ a b Pine, Rachel Barton. "Rachel's Story". http://classical.rachelbartonpine.com. Retrieved 2009-02-11. 
  7. ^ a b Pine, Rachel Barton. "Awards and Honors". http://classical.rachelbartonpine.com. Retrieved 2009-09-06. 
  8. ^ a b Valente, Judy (2008-09-26). "Violinist Rachel Barton Pine". Religion and Ethics Newsweekly. PBS. Retrieved 2012-12-22. 
  9. ^ O'Shaughnessy, T. L. (2013-04-02). "Chicago celebrity violinist on parenting and lullabies". Chicago Parent. Archived from the original on 2014-05-22. Retrieved 2015-01-28. 
  10. ^ Werb, J. (2013-12-18). "Rachel Barton Pine is a violinist for all Four Seasons". Straight.Com. Archived from the original on 2013-12-25. Retrieved 2015-01-28. 
  11. ^ a b Puccio, J. J. (2012-10-30). "An English Fancy (CD review)". Classical Candor blog. Retrieved 2013-01-13. 
  12. ^ Pine, Rachel Barton. "My Violins". http://classical.rachelbartonpine.com. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  13. ^ Newgren, A.; Fein, A. (2011-08-08). "Rachel Barton Pine. Violin Soloist. Head Banger.". Chamber Musician Today. Retrieved 2012-12-22. 
  14. ^ a b "Liner Notes for Dismal Times". RBP discography. 
  15. ^ Barnard, Ed (2009-11-17). "Review of Dismal Times". Doommantia.Com. Retrieved 2010-05-29. 
  16. ^ Ballue, Mike (2009-10-31). "Review of Dismal Times". HellrideMusic.Com. Retrieved 2010-05-29. [dead link]
  17. ^ "Violin Superstar Rachel Barton Pine Introduces Metalheads to Mozart". International Musician. American Federation of Musicians. April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-16. 
  18. ^ McGlaughlin, Bill (2005-04-17). "Gem of Chicago: Rachel Barton Pine, violin; Matthew Hagle, piano". Saint Paul Sunday. American Public Media. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  19. ^ "Carl Fischer Music Publishes The Rachel Barton Pine Collection of Original Compositions, Arrangements, Cadenzas and Editions". Carl Fischer Music press release. Carl Fischer Music. December 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  20. ^ "Maud Powell Favorites". Maud Powell Society web site. The Maud Powell Society for Women in Music. 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  21. ^ Niles, Laurie (2010-05-10). "Rachel Barton Pine's Maud Powell Favorites". Violinist.com blogs. Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  22. ^ a b Shaffer, Karen A. "Liner Notes Essay for American Virtuosa: Tribute to Maud Powell". RBP discography. 
  23. ^ "World Renowned Chicago Violin Virtuoso Rachel Barton Pine Headlines Free Concert in Millennium Park During Great Performers of Illinois". Explore Chicago web site. Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  24. ^ Kalsnes, Lynette (2010-07-08). "Famous Classical Violinist's Side Project Full of 'Doom'". WBEZ91.5 City Room. Retrieved 2010-07-08. 
  25. ^ Mister Bolin's Late Night Revival, 2010
  26. ^ Pine, Rachel Barton (2007-10-10). "Episode 14: Rachel and her sister Hannah Barton talk about the R.E.B. Foundation's newest initiative, Global Heartstrings". Rachel Barton Pine's podcast. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  27. ^ "Hannah Barton: Violin, Viola, Viper". Hannah Barton's web site. Retrieved 2012-12-06. 
  28. ^ "Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award for Rachel Barton Pine". The Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award - 2006 web site. Illinois Humanities Council. 2007. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  29. ^ "Haas Award Goes to Rachel Barton Pine". Missouri Southern State University web site. 2012-11-26. Retrieved 2012-12-06. 
  30. ^ Ollo, Fernando Perez. "Liner Notes Essay for Homage to Pablo de Sarasate". RBP discography. 
  31. ^ Rozendaal, John Mark. "Liner Notes Essay for George Frideric Handel: The Sonatas for Violin & Continuo". RBP discography. 
  32. ^ Howard, Leslie. "Liner Notes Essay for Liszt: Works for Violin and Piano". RBP discography. 
  33. ^ Clague, Mark. "Liner Notes Essay for Violin Concertos by Black Composers of the 18th and 19th Centuries". RBP discography. 
  34. ^ Pine, Greg. "Liner Notes Essay for Stringendo: Storming the Citadel". RBP discography. 
  35. ^ Sullivan, Todd E. "Liner Notes Essay for Instrument of the Devil". RBP discography. 
  36. ^ Sullivan, Todd E. "Liner Notes Essay for Double Play: Twentieth Century Duos for Violin and Cello". RBP discography. 
  37. ^ Pine, Rachel Barton. "Liner Notes Essay for Brahms and Joachim Violin Concertos". RBP discography. 
  38. ^ "Liner Notes for Introduction, Theme, and Variations on "God Defend New Zealand"". RBP discography. 
  39. ^ Pine, Rachel Barton. "Liner Notes Essay for Solo Baroque". RBP discography. 
  40. ^ Pine, Rachel Barton. "Liner Notes Essay for Scottish Fantasies for Violin and Orchestra". RBP discography. 
  41. ^ "Pianist Matthew Hagle Bio". RBP industry web site. Retrieved 2012-03-22. 
  42. ^ Rozendaal, John Mark. "Liner Notes Essay for An Italian Sojourn". RBP discography. 
  43. ^ Brown, Clive. "Liner Notes Essay for Beethoven & Clement Violin Concertos". RBP discography. 
  44. ^ Rozendaal, John Mark. "Liner Notes Essay for A German Bouquet". RBP discography. 
  45. ^ Serebrier, José. "Liner Notes Essay for Glazunov: Complete Concertos". RBP discography. 
  46. ^ Barilari, Elbio. "Liner Notes Essay for Capricho Latino". RBP discography. 
  47. ^ Rozendaal, John Mark. "Liner Notes Essay for A French Soirée". Archived from the original on 2012-04-25. 
  48. ^ "Xavier Montsalvatge, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Celso Antunes – Canciones und Conciertos". Hänssler Classic web site. 
  49. ^ "Earthen Grave's New CD and 4/22 Chicago Show ...". Doommantia.Com. 2012-04-09. Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  50. ^ "Earthen Grave Signs With Ripple Music, Re-Releasing Self-Titled Album". Metalunderground.com. 2013-03-14. Retrieved 2013-09-27. 
  51. ^ Rozendaal, John Mark. "Liner Notes Essay for An English Fancy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-23. 
  52. ^ Blevins, Pamela. "The Berceuse (Liner Notes Essay for Violin Lullabies)". 
  53. ^ "Lullabies in the Key of Violin, from Rachel Barton Pine". Album of the Week. WQXR-FM. 2013-04-14. Retrieved 2013-04-21. 
  54. ^ Vernier, David (May 2013). "A Charm of Lullabies". ClassicsToday.com. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  55. ^ Barton Pine, Rachel. "Liner Notes Essay for Mendelssohn & Schumann Violin Concertos, Beethoven Romances". 
  56. ^ Nockin, M. (2013-09-26). "Rachel Barton Pine Discusses Her Interpretations of the Mendelssohn and Schumann Concertos". Fanfare Magazine. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  57. ^ "Reviews for Grand Tour". Naxos album reviews. February 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  58. ^ Barton Pine, Rachel. "Program Notes for Mozart Violin Concertos". 
  59. ^ Norris, G. (2015-01-18). "Mozart: Complete Violin Concertos; Sinfonia Concertante, review: 'endlessly fascinating and appealing'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2015-01-18. 

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