After years of refusing to even mention, let alone discuss, the notorious El accident that mutilated her legs, violinist Rachel Barton Pine has recently been opening up about this and everything else, including her longtime estrangement from her family, the tensions leading up to the breakup being something that I experienced firsthand. Back when her mother was still managing Rachel’s career but post-accident, Mom became hysterical and belligerent, then threatened to sue all involved and pulled the plug on an interview because the publication I worked for at the time refused the “pre-condition” that the accident could not even be mentioned in the article. All of these manic media gymnastics should not take away from the fact that Barton Pine was a fine—even if relatively unknown—violinist before the accident, and that the playing is still what really matters. Since she won’t be engaged by the Chicago Symphony, you have to drive out to Glen Ellyn to hear her play the mighty Beethoven Violin Concerto, but the results should be well worth the trip. (Besides, ticket prices are cheaper and there is free parking.) Barton Pine recently recorded the work in Europe, which is due out in September, and all involved suggest that the performance is a knockout. The accompanying orchestra for this rare live area appearance, the New Philharmonic Orchestra under its superb music director Kirk Muspratt, is a first-rate orchestra more than up to the challenge. The all-Beethoven program will also include the “King Stephen” Overture and the mighty Seventh Symphony. (Dennis Polkow)
Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26 at College of DuPage’s McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, (630)942-4000. 8pm. $23-$33.