Violin Lullabies, a twenty-five song collection, is now
available from Cedille
Records. Rachel Barton Pine tracked down the music herself,
gathering and playing all the songs herself for the CD.
Rachel Barton Pine will perform a children's concert at
Old Town School of Music, Gary and Laura Maurer Concert Hall,
4544 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, 11 a.m., Sunday, May 19. Young
violinists are encouraged to bring their violins. Pine will lead
them in one simple tune.
Tickets are $12.
Virtuoso violinist Rachel Barton Pine is known worldwide for the
powerful music she coaxes from strings, but these days, she plays
especially for an audience of one.
"When I'm thinking about performing and playing music, it's not
that I want Sylvia to be proud of my career success-I do hope that
she'll be proud of me and what I've done with my life-but I want
her to enjoy the music that I am playing. I want her to be able to
share that with me because the violin is who I am. I want to give
all of myself to Sylvia and that includes the violin," Pine says as
she snuggles her 17-month-old daughter on a brief stopover at their
Sylvia is a dream-come-true for Pine and her husband, Greg.
These days the family-Pine, Greg and Sylvia, along with a
nanny-travel the globe on an adventure few can imagine. Pine's
intense schedule rarely prevents her from seeing her baby, who she
is nursing, so Sylvia has 13 stamps in her passport already.
"I actually feel like wherever we are, that's our home that week
because I am bringing my family with me. Home is my family. We
share the same adventures," Pine says.
"Having a baby is a whole different kind of an adventure," Pine
She hopes her own mom thinks she's a happy, loving, devoted
parent. Her youngest sister, Hannah, tells Rachel and Greg they are
too calm to be first-time parents. Pine laughs.
"My lifestyle is full of stress. It's happy stress, but there's
always surprises, always intensity. We've just really learned to
take life as it comes," says Pine, 38. "...Whatever happens, we're
just going to go with it, do our best, not let it get us
She and Greg have teamwork down. They are on the same page about
raising Sylvia-with one notable exception early on.
Pine is a vegan since birth. Greg is meat-and-potatoes.
She wanted to raise Sylvia as a vegan.
"Greg and I made a deal. He said, 'OK, I won't feed her anything
that you don't approve of if you don't dress her in any clothes
that I don't approve of.' Therefore there were no matching
mom-and-baby metal T-shirts," Pine says.
And she had so looked forward to the Pantera and AC/DC
"If that's the biggest disagreement as parents, we're pretty
lucky," she says.
As Sylvia grows, can she and Greg keep up their intense
schedule? "We'll just have to play it by ear," Pine says.
A lot will depend on what Sylvia wants. She could be into
academics or athletics-Greg was a minor league pitcher and holds a
double major in math and economics-music, or something she'd never
Whatever it is, she says they will support her.
Just like her family did for her.
Music was not a world her parents knew. Her mom anticipated
Rachel would take an academic path, into math and science. But the
violin enthralled her. By 5, the violin became her identity, with
her red hair being her second defining feature, she says.
"Luckily they recognized that I was who I said I was so they
supported me. It wasn't easy."
Whether or not Sylvia picks up an instrument-she already has a
tiny violin-isn't the point. Pine believes every child should be
given an opportunity to play music.
"Who knows, she's a Chicago baby, she might be a blues
musician," Pine quips.
No stranger to headlines heralding her music and talent, Pine
captured the nation's sympathy in 1995 when her violin case became
trapped in the doors of a Metra train and she was dragged and
pulled under the train.
"I think to the outside world my injuries seem like a very
dramatic episode in my life, but everybody has had challenges," she
says when asked how she'll explain her injuries to Sylvia one
"There's the element of my trauma that I'll have to explain to
her in such a way that hopefully it won't give her nightmares and
then there's the element of my injuries," Pine says.
But there are many difficult things a parent must explain to
their child, she adds, among them death, divorce and the facts of
"For me the more challenging aspect to my life history was the
financial circumstances of my childhood, that my father wasn't able
to support us and all of the difficulties because of that," she
"Sometimes we didn't know how we were going to pay for groceries
and fill the tank to drive to lessons that week. The phone and
electricity were always getting cut off. We were always one payment
away from losing the roof over our heads," she says.
At 14, Pine was working to support her mother and sisters.
"In order for my daughter to know me, some day I am going to
have to tell her about that in such a way that she will still love
and respect grandma and grandpa and understand what they went
She's already strategizing ways to help Sylvia grow up with a
"healthy understanding of human sexuality and family diversity."
It's important she grows up also understanding and supporting
marriage equality, she says.
She also wants her daughter to learn generosity, something she
so admires in her husband.
She wants to teach Sylvia to "treat life's twists and turns with
calmness and perspective. Always looking on the bright side of
Along the way, Pine says she and Greg will be raising her with
their values and faith, with tolerance and respect for differences
"I want her to have a relationship with music, whatever that
ends up meaning for her. I want her to have a relationship with
God, whatever that ends up meaning for her. I want to do my best to
help guide her towards both of those things in a way that I'm
teaching her what I know and believe, but also helping her try and
find herself," Pine says.
She'll definitely grow up knowing a diversity of people from
this life's adventures.
"She's going to hang out with my heavy metal friends who work
construction and she's going to hang out with members of the
aristocracy in Europe and she's going to hang out with everybody in
Watching Pine play on the floor with Sylvia after just
performing a stunning version of Brahm's Lullaby, there's no doubt
she's a really good mom.
She smiles at that thought.
"I'm also realistic enough to realize that no matter how hard I
try that there are going to be things that I get wrong or that my
daughter decides that I've gotten wrong," Pine says. "I'm already
steeling myself for living with that. Hopefully she'll forgive me
my flaws and I'll forgive her her flaws and we'll be friends till
Of course, music always is present in their lives.
Just moments after Sylvia was born, Pine sang her a lullaby,
"Summertime," which is featured on her new CD of never-before
collected lullabies, Violin Lullabies.
An avid collector of sheet music, Pine noticed long ago that
many composers had written lullabies. She filed that knowledge away
until she had a baby.
Tracking down the music became a treasure hunt since many of the
lullabies were long out of print. After Sylvia was born, she would
nurse while Pine searched the web. Pine gathered and played them
all, ending up with more than 150.
Twenty-five made the cut for the CD, with a 2-week-old Sylvia
cradled in her daddy's arms on the cover.
Tamara is the editor of Chicago Parent and mom of three.
See more of Tamara's stories here.
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