Violist to celebrate black folk roots

Rachel Barton Pine

Violinist Rachel Barton Pine, will perform in Cooperstown at 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, at The Farmers’ Museum near Cooperstown.

Pine will present a classical recital celebrating the violin’s American folk music roots, offering a program prominently featuring works by black composers. The performance, sponsored by WAMC, is presented by the Cooperstown Summer Music Festival in conjunction with the Fenimore Art Museum.

The concert is an tour of American music-making throughout history through the prism of the violin. The program will begin with a beloved Bach Partita and European dance music of the early American settlers, and will lead the audience through classical music influenced by blues, spirituals, and even hip hop before concluding with Vieuxtemps’ thrillingly virtuosic variations on “Yankee Doodle.”

Four of the featured composers are celebrated fiddlers: Mark O’Connor, Darol Anger, Bruce Molsky and David Wallace. “Each has composed infectious concert music blending classical and American traditional music, blurring the line between the violin and the fiddle,” Pine said in the media release.

In constructing this program, one of Pine’s goals was to give the audience the proper context to appreciate the massive contribution of black musicians to what we understand as American music, he release said. Throughout the concert program, the music early settlers brought from Europe “transforms into a uniquely American style thanks to the influence of African-American music-making,” Pine said. The prominent inclusion of works by black composers — among them Noel da Costa, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, and Daniel Bernard Roumain — is part of a broader series of initiatives spearheaded by Pine to place black classical composers and much of their previously overlooked music into today’s cultural consciousness, the release said.

The Fenimore Art Museum’s is featuring the exhibit “Perfect Harmony: The Musical Art and Life of William Sidney Mount.” Mount was a musician and composer who during his lifetime invented and patented his own variation on the violin.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for students for all CSMF events. Tickets can be purchased online at, by phone through Brown Paper Tickets at 800- 838-3006 and at the door if available.

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