The 22nd Chicago Humanities Festival presented "The Adventurous Violinist" featuring Chicagoan Rachel Barton Pine, internationally acclaimed violinist, accompanied by equally acclaimed Ars Antigua as her "backup band."
Rachel is a Chicagoan and as a child was a prodigy on the violin. She began playing when three and a half, and at age seven she debuted with the Chicago String Ensemble, and three years later she played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. 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. She says she managed by "putting on a lot of makeup and pretending I was older than I was."
Her interests and talent take her from classical music to heavy metal and she plays with groups from both these genres.
For 17th and 18th century pieces she prefers to use an unaltered 1770 instrument of Nicolo Gagliano, and for tonight's concert she played the rare Viola d'Amore, a 12 string instrument with a beautiful warm sound, also crafted by Gagliano as she enhanced the audience with Vivaldi concertos.
She founded and runs the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation (using her maiden name) to promote the study and appreciation of classical music, including string music by black composers.
Ars Antigua is a term that refers to the music of Europe of the late Middle Ages (1170 to 1310) and they perform music from the Renaissance through Classical eras on period instruments. They are renowned for their technical excellence, emotional impact, and historical scholarship.