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January 2014
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Chicagoan Heads to Grammys

Rachel Barton Pine

Rachel Barton Pine

Early in her career Rachel Barton Pine looked at the prescribed life of a violin virtuoso and decided to take a hard left. Though she does play the standards as soloist with orchestra, in recital and so-forth, her musical exploits routinely take her into uncharted territory. For instance, she is a devoted metal head, headlining a band called Earthen Grave—but even that imposes too many boundaries; her band mates have come to expect a little Paganini in their shows. Basically, Rachel is a musical 642px-Maud_Powellpolyglot; she will play anything she deems musically worthy, because hers is a spirit that has to discover. She’ll dig through unpublished stacks in libraries and estates; she’ll worm her way into the presence of reclusive collectors (even they can’t say no to a redhead wielding a Guarneri del Gesu). Rachel even went to Scotland to learn fiddle techniques from the highlands’ best.

It was one such journey that led Ms. Pine to work that has come to the attention of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Rachel began looking into the legacy of nineteenth century virtuoso Maud Powell. What Rachel discovered was not only a phenomenal player, but piles and piles of manuscripts: violin arrangements, compositions. The collection not only revealed a gifted artist, but offered a window into early American music, one that had been closed. From that project, Rachel has issued recordings and sheet music of works by Maud Powell.

On Sunday, January 26, Maud Powell will be awarded (posthumously) a lifetime achievement award—a Grammy which will be accepted by Rachel Barton Pine.

Tune into WFMT on Sunday morning for music with Candice Agree who will feature Grammy-nominated recordings, as well as selections from Rachel Barton Pine’s Maud Powell collection.

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