Speaker Date Topic
Rachel Barton Pine Sep 26, 2019
Violinist and Motivational Speaker

Rachel Barton Pine (born Rachel Elizabeth Barton, October 11, 1974) is an American
violinist. Pine tours worldwide as a soloist with prestigious orchestras, has an active
recording career, and has run The Rachel Barton Pine Foundation since 2001.
She debuted with the Chicago Symphony at age 10, and was the Iirst American and
youngest gold medal winner of the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition. The
Washington Post wrote that she "displays a power and conIidence that puts her in the top
echelon."
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
beneIit 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 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.
“It takes hard work to realize your potential. The process takes time and is
rarely easy. We all face obstacles, and none of us achieve our dreams
without the generosity and support of others. As musicians, we are each
blessed with a voice that can touch and transform. It is our responsibility
to use it to make the world a better place for those around us.”
On January 16, 1995, Pine was severely injured in a train accident in the suburb of
Winnetka, where she taught violin lessons. 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 (112 meters) by the train before being
pulled underneath and run over, severing one leg and mangling the other. Pine was saved by
the prompt application of tourniquets by several passengers who disembarked from the
train after pulling its emergency brake handles.
She sued Metra and the Chicago and North Western Transportation Company for
compensation for her injuries and legal and medical expenses. The jury ruled in Pine's
favor. Metra changed its conductor safety procedures following the incident and made other
changes to the trains themselves.
After a two-year hiatus to allow for recovery from her injuries, aided by numerous
surgeries and physical therapy, Pine resumed her career.
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
chamber music classes, 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.
 

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