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The Mind Over Finger Podcast

Feb 11, 2022

Today’s episode is packed with wisdom from the wonderful Rachel Barton Pine. As a violinist, Rachel performs with the world's leading orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, Vienna Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic, and Camerata Salzburg.

Rachel is also the founder of the RBP Foundation, which assists young artists through its instrument loan program, as well as providing scholarships and grants for education and career development. Through the RPB Foundation, Rachel also leads the groundbreaking organization Music by Black Composers which she started in 2001 to spread awareness of work by Black composers and make that music available to all through online and printed collections.

Rachel holds prizes from several of the world’s leading competitions, including a gold medal at the 1992 J.S. Bach International Violin Competition in Leipzig, Germany.

This is an impactful conversation that I’m sure you’ll want to revisit often! Here’s what we discussed:

  • How Rachel’s artistic path has unfolded (04:00)
  • Advice for handling large amounts of repertoire, and her own process for scheduling piece preparation, practice and performance (05:50)
  • Rachel’s experience with last-minute replacements, specifically when she performed with the Chicago Symphony with 4-hour notice (15:30)
  • The element of facial expressions in conjunction with musical expression (23:50)
  • Her journey with teaching and practicing parents, both as one herself and practicing with her own mother growing up (32:20)
  • How and why Rachel began the RBP Foundation, their mission, and some ways they support young, aspiring musicians (35:20)
  • How and why she founded the organization Music by Black Composers, and how their resources have developed over the years (38:41)
  • A series of rapid-fire questions, including habits that have contributed to her success (48:00), nurturing creativity in young musicians (49:07), and the importance of weekly planning (53:00)
  • How valuable it is to allow yourself the time and space you need to improve, without comparing yourself to others (56:55)
  • Rachel’s upcoming projects (59:25)




Link to Rachel’s CD, Violin Concertos by Black Composers of the 18th and 19th Centuries:

YouTube Channel:


Instagram: @RBPviolinist

RBP Foundation website:

Music by Black Composers website:



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A HUGE thank you to my fantastic producer, Bella Kelly, who works really hard to make this podcast as pleasant to listen to as possible for you.

Most sincere thank you to composer Jim Stephenson who graciously provided the show’s musical theme.  Concerto #1 for Trumpet and Chamber Orchestra – Movement 2: Allegro con Brio, performed by Jeffrey Work, trumpet, and the Lake Forest Symphony, conducted by Jim Stephenson.

Thank you to pianist-singer-song-writer Louise Kelly for the introduction!  You can find out more about Kelly and her creative work by visiting