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Prodigious violinist Rachel Barton Pine at the top of ‘String Summit’

Courtesy of Andrew Eccles

The Columbus Symphony Orchestra will be performing “String Summit” this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Southern Theatre. The concert will consist of three 20th-century masterpieces.

World-famous violinist Rachel Barton Pine will perform with the orchestra for part of the concert. She will be showcased on Leonard Bernstein’s “Serenade,” which is a solo piece for the violin.

Berstein is best known for his musical work in “West Side Story.” His music tends to contain elements of pop and jazz.

“It kind of blends the best of both worlds,” Pine said. “You have a serious classical piece that also has some really catchy rhythms and melodies.”

“Serenade” was inspired by Plato’s “Symposium,” a philosophical text which discusses different aspects of love.

“It’s quite interesting to see how Bernstein captures it in the music,” Pine said.

What is unusual about “Serenade” is the arrangement. Musical pieces are usually arranged for a standard orchestra, which contains string, brass, woodwind and percussion instruments, or a chamber orchestra, which usually contains just strings and some woodwinds. However, “Serenade” is written for the solo violin along with string, harp and percussion sections.

Pine explained that it’s a wonderful piece, but does not get performed very often for this reason.

Having played violin since she was 3 years old, Pine was considered a musical prodigy. Her love for music is what drives her enthusiasm.

“Playing the violin is satisfying on so many different levels,” she said, explaining the thrill of getting to know the composer through the music they have written.

“What you’re really doing on stage is telling a story, portraying all the emotions of the music, and sharing those with the listeners.”

Pine has released 18 albums, all of which have received critical acclaim. According to a press release, she has also been featured on Performance Today, “The Today Show” and “CBS Sunday Morning.”

Pine’s virtuosic abilities allow her to perform with passion.

“In the moment of performance, I don’t think about any of the analytical side,” she said. “I just think about what I’m feeling with the music and do my best to try to reach out to the audience and get them caught up so they can all feel those feelings too.”

Pine’s violin is almost as illustrious as its player. It was made in 1742 by Joseph Guarneri del Gesu.

Though she has played violins made by each of the three most famous violin makers of all time, Stradivari, Guarneri and Amati, Pine said this is her favorite.

“A good violin and a good violinist are not necessarily always a good match for each other,” she said. “Each violinist has their own personality, and each violin has its own voice. This particular instrument is really my ideal partner. It has everything that I always imagined in the perfect violin.”

Jim Samilson, a fourth-year in physics, said that the price of admission is too high for what the show will provide.

“I wouldn’t pay $30 to see an orchestra,” he said. “I’d rather go to another concert.”

Tickets for “String Summit” range from  $28 to $68. They can be purchased from Ticketmaster or at the Ohio Theatre Ticket Office located at 39 E. State St.

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