Rachel Barton Pine, Violin




Instagram: /rbpviolinist

"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


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. 

Pine’s 2017-18 season includes performances of concertos by Brahms, Bruch, Khachaturian, Korngold, Mozart, Paganini, Prokofiev, Vivaldi, and Wieniawski, with orchestras including the Sacramento Philharmonic, the Anchorage Symphony, the Eugene Symphony, the Orquestra Sinfónica Nacional de Costa Rica, the Royal Conservatory of Music, and the Israel Tel Aviv Soloists. In January 2018 she offers the world premiere of the Marcus Goddard Violin Concerto with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in a program which features new works by Anna Clyne and Jocelyn Morlock.

This season Pine celebrates the important contributions to classical music made by musicians of African descent at the Ladies’ Morning Musical Club (LMMC) in Montreal and the Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington.  She will also perform all of Bach’s unaccompanied sonatas and partitas for Early Music Seattle. Her other recital programs include single-evening concerts of the complete Brahms Sonatas and the 24 Paganini Caprices.

In August 2016, Pine had the pleasure of spending time with legendary conductor Sir Neville Marriner to discuss their second project, the scheduled recording of the Elgar and Bruch violin concertos with the BBC Symphony. Maestro Andrew Litton and Pine will now release the album in January 2018 on the Avie label as a tribute to the late conductor. 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 May 2018, Pine joins harpsichordist Jory Vinikour on Six Sonatas for violin and obbligato harpsichord by Johann Sebastian Bach (Cedille).  In 2017, Avie Records released Pine’s Bel Canto Paganini: 24 Caprices and other works for solo violin, which includes her performance of all 24 Paganini Caprices as well as other Paganini unaccompanied works. The album charted at number three on the Billboard Classical chart. Pine’s interpretation pays tribute to how 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.  BBC Magazine raved of the recording, “for a thought-provoking take on these inscrutable miniatures, Pine has no rivals.”

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 the Netherlands Radio Kamer Filharmonie.

Her past festival appearances have included Marlboro, Wolf Trap, Vail, Ravinia, Davos, and Salzburg. 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.

The many contemporary composers with whom Pine has collaborated include  Augusta Read Thomas, John Corigliano, Luis Jorge González, Mohammed Fairouz, Earl Maneein, and José Serebrier, and her numerous premieres include “Rush” for solo violin by Thomas, “Native Informant” for Solo Violin and the “Al-Andalus” Violin Concerto by Fairouz, and the Panamanian premiere of Panamanian composer Roque Cordero's 1962 Violin Concerto.

At the beginning of 2017 Pine premiered “American Partitas,” a recital program of suites of dance movements featuring newly commissioned works by Bruce Molsky, Darol Anger, Billy Childs, and Daniel Bernard Roumain written in response to the Bach Partitas for solo violin.  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.

Notably among contemporary violinists, 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 the 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 editions of Franz Wohlfahrt Foundation Studies for the Violin, Book 1 and 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 website 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 36 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 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, released 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 fourteen 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 many of the world’s leading competitions, including a gold medal at the 1992 J.S. Bach International Violin Competition.  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 youth, 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, and to that end she founded the Rachel Barton Pine Foundation to assist 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 is being 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. 

A Life Trustee of the Music Institute of Chicago, which named the “Rachel Barton Pine Violin Chair” in her honor, aPine frequently gives master classes and coaches chamber music groups, 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 still lives there with her husband and daughter. She began violin studies at age three and made her professional debut four years later at age seven with the Chicago String Ensemble. 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 performs on the Joseph Guarnerius del Gesù (Cremona 1742), known as the “ex-Bazzini, ex-Soldat,” on lifetime loan from her patron.  For more information please visit rachelbartonpine.com.

August 2017 - Please do not edit without permission.