Violinist Rachel Barton Pine was supposed to open the last season for the Boise Philharmonic but canceled to have her baby. Now, she will fulfill her committent to the Boise Philharmonic and perform the Sibelius violin concerto with baby Sylvia in tow.
Sylvia started traveling with her mom and dad, who also accompanies Pine on her travels, when she was 3 weeks old. Sylvia already has eight stamps in her passport.
Though the family lives in Chicago, they travel together on Pines busy concert schedule, and her husband, Gregory, runs his healthcare consulting firm from the road.
Wherever we go, thats our home, she says. We all just go around like were a little gypsy family and have all kinds of adventures together.
Their adventures continued in Boise this week as Pine taught master classes, visited schools and rehearsed. She will perform the magical Sibelius concerto with the Boise Philharmonic this weekend.
Pine is a rare and unconventional artist. A true virtuoso, she can soar on a concerto with a symphony orchestra and shred with her heavy metal band Earthen Grave. She recently performed all 24 Paganini Caprices, a feat accomplished by only a handful of artists in a generation who are crazy enough to undertake it, she says.
Now Pine is breaking new ground as a classical mom, bringing her family and a full-time nanny on the road, taking time on her breaks to play with Sylvia and breast-feed, and getting the sense she can have it all.
Im so lucky because I dont ever have to feel that I have to choose between my career and our family, she says.
Its a good time now but luck hasnt always been on Pines side.
In 1995, the doors of a Chicago Metra Rail commuter train caught her violin bag as she stepped onto the platform, trapping her and dragging her for several hundred feet. The accident took her left leg and smashed up her right.
She endured dozens of surgeries to repair her body. It temporarily upended her life and stalled her career, but it did not quash her spirit.
I always wanted to grow up to be a violinist, and I did. Im just having a great time, she says.
This marks Pines fourth performance in Boise over the past 18 years, and her fourth collaboration with Boise Philharmonic musical director Robert Franz twice in Boise and twice when he was with the Louisville Orchestra.
Few performers have Pines flexibility of style and talent, Franz says.
Shes amazing. She works in these two different camps where she is equally comfortable, he says. I think she brings a real sophistication to metal and a primordial, earthy quality to classical. For an example: The last movement of the Sibelius is a real romp, a folk dance grounded in the earth. Her ability to play heavy metal will inform that pulse and sense of rhythm. Its very much a piece to be felt rather than played.
And Pine loves the feeling, she says. Its something she picked up on a trip to Finland, Sibelius homeland.
There is something otherworldly about the musics somewhat icy soundscape, and you totally get a sense of where he was coming from when youre in Finland in January, she says.
The Sibelius is a challenge to play from its ethereal beginning through its sublime interludes to its dramatic conclusion, she says.
Sibelius was a frustrated violinist, she says. That tension comes through in the music, as he struggles with the idea of writing a great violin concerto that he couldnt actually play.
Maybe its a little bit of, OK if I cant play this, lets see if you can, she says.
And she definitely can. Pine, 37, first learned the piece when she was 13 and keeps it fresh in her repertoire.
Who knows how many times Ive played it, she says. But I never get bored with it because every time is different.
Every opportunity to play it comes with a different conductor, group of musicians, concert hall and audience all elements that inspire and color a performance.
You have to be prepared but perfection is just the beginning, she says. Its not just about hitting every note in tune. You have to open up to the spontaneity of the moment. You have an interpretation that youve crafted, but in performance you might decide to have the vibrato be just a little bit different, or change the ebb and flow of the phrase. All of that is very much the inspiration of the moment.
Dana Oland: 377-6442