It's easy to be intimidated by the sheer immensity of Rachel Barton Pine's accomplishments. The young Chicago based violinist has performed on stages all over the world in front of hundreds of thousands of people, released 13 albums, won countless prestigious awards, and played with musicians ranging from Placido Domingo to Jimmy Page. Yet throughout her career, Rachel has worked to demystify classical music and bring it to audiences for whom it has not been easily accessible. Groups as various as inner city children, sports fans, music students in developing countries, and even her fellow rock fans have been enriched by Rachel's devotion to music and the infectious enthusiasm with which she shares it. She's more than a musician she's perhaps the greatest young ambassador that classical music has today.
Ironically, it was the vision of the beautiful dresses being worn by violin students in her church that first drew Rachel's attention to the instrument at age three. As she remembers, "I was attracted to how the girls looked and totally entranced by the sound of the violin." Rachel asked her parents for a violin immediately, but was turned down; it was only after her parents discovered a violin teacher a few blocks away that they acceded to her wish to learn the instrument. From her very first lesson, it was true love. "As soon as I started lessons, that was it," she recalls. "By the time I was five, I was identifying myself as a violinist. All I wanted to do was play music. I would sit in kindergarten and plan what I was going to practice when I got home."
By age seven, Rachel was already soloing with orchestras and at age ten, she made her first appearance with the Chicago Symphony. She hit the competition circuit with full force, winning numerous national and international competitions while still in her teens. In 1992, at age 17, she became the youngest person and first American to win a gold medal at the prestigious J.S. Bach International Competition in Leipzig, Germany. Other top prizes followed in the Szigeti (Budapest), Paganini (Genoa), Queen Elisabeth (Brussels), Kreisler (Vienna), and Montreal international violin competitions.
For more information about Earthen Grave, please visit www.myspace.com/earthengrave.
For more information about Rachel Barton Pine, who performs with the Springfield Symphony February 12 and 13, visit www.rachelbartonpine.com