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Rachel Barton Pine. Violin Soloist. Head Banger.

Written by Angela Newgren and Andy Fein

Rachel Barton Pine. Concert violin soloist. Metal head. Head Banger. Baroque violinist. Electric violinist. The gal does it all.

Rachel Barton Pine


Talented on her instrument, playing solo performances, writing music and traveling across the globe to perform, Rachel Barton Pine's off-stage life remains just as accomplished. Whether she is teaching lessons, working at a summer camp for young musicians, promoting music education, or jammin' back stage with metal junkies, Rachel Barton Pine uses her talents to give back to the community.

Rachel Barton Pine started violin lessons at three years old. At age seven she performed with the Chicago String Ensemble, and at ten with the Chicago Symphony. Rachel was home schooled so she could spend more time practicing. At age fourteen, she began taking jobs for weddings and orchestras to help her family out with expenses. In 1992 (age 17) she won first place at the Johann Sebastian Bach International Competition in Leipzig, Germany. She was the first American and the youngest person to win this prestigious award.


Three years later Rachel exited a train and stepped in to a tragedy. With her violin case over her shoulders, packback style, the doors of the train shut with her on the outside and the case on the inside, pinning her to the train. She was dragged 366 feet, then pulled underneath and run over. Thankfully, the incident was not fatal, although nearly so. Her injuries were severe enough that it took two long years to recover. 


After her recovery Rachel Barton Pine continued her career in performance. She performs as a soloist with many orchestras from around the world, and has 18 CDs released with various record companies. She composes music, and in 2009 released the book Rachel Barton Pine Collection on various pieces she plays.


Apart from her studies of classical music, Rachel Barton Pine also enjoys metal and rock. She plays in a group- Earthen Grave, on her custom made electric violin. They have released one EP and perform frequently. Her favorite bands include  AC/DCAnthraxBlack SabbathLed ZeppelinMegadethMetallicaMotörheadPanteraSlayer and Van Halen. She has met many of the musicians in these groups as well as jammed with them.


Being the rock fan she is, Rachel Barton Pine continuously connects the classical music to the rock music.  She has arranged pieces such as "Master of the Puppets" by Metallica for orchestral music, debuting that piece by the McHenry County Youth Symphony. She often performs at schools and on rock music radio stations in an effort to interest younger audiences in classical music. Rachel Barton Pine is also a faculty member at Mark Wood's Rock Orchestra Camp.
Rachel with her 1742 Guarnerius del Gesu violin, the ex-Soldat
See more photos of "ex-Soldat."


Rachel is associated with American String Teachers Association conference as well as being a member of the Board of Trustees of the Music Institute of Chicago. She has also developed "Shredding with the Symphony," an innovative orchestral initiative (of rock music) aimed at drawing new audience members to symphony concerts around the world. 


She founded and remains president of the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation. It helps young musicians get grants, scholarships, etc. It is also associated with groups such as Instrument Loan Program, Grants for Education and Career, Global HeartStrings (supporting classical musicians in developing countries).


I love the many worlds Rachel Bafton Pine brings together. She is opening doors for young string players, and awes us with her performances. She is active on her Twitter and Facebook and often replies to fans' questions and comments. Go ahead, ask her something. You might be surprised at how quickly she responds. 
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