A 12-year-old girl practices four hours a day and dreams of becoming a professional violinist. Her father works multiple jobs and attends school while her mother raises six children. Every Saturday, the girl goes to a nearby shopping mall, opens up her violin case and plays for the passersby. Where can she turn if she doesn’t collect enough money to be able to buy the sheet music for the next repertoire that her teacher assigns?
A 15-year-old boy, admitted into the studio of one of the country’s best violin teachers, relocated to a new state with his entire family to accept this opportunity. When his father lost his job, both their new house and their house back home were foreclosed. Meanwhile, a poor violin is holding back the boy’s development. How can his family afford to give him a better instrument?
A 14-year-old violinist is accepted into one of the most renowned pre-college conservatories, but her single mother can’t afford the gas and tolls to drive her into the city every week. How can she commute to her lessons?
A 16-year-old violist is among only a handful of young artists in the finals of prestigious national and international competitions. Currently, his family survives on his father’s hourly wage. How will he be able to pay for his travel expenses and a piano accompanist?
A teenage brother and sister from Poland are living in the U.S. to further their studies. Their mother lives with them but does not have the necessary documentation to get a job, and their father in Poland sends them most of his salary, $200 a month. How can they buy the bow rehairs and new strings that they need to play their concerts?
A 17-year-old violinist from Scandinavia needs to travel to the U.S. for her college auditions, but her life savings have just evaporated in the collapse of her country’s banks. How can she pay for airfare and hotel rooms?
Answers: the Rachel Barton Pine (RBP) Foundation.
This year has been one of extraordinary growth for the RBP Foundation. Last year, our Grants for Education and Career supported seven young artists with $4,500 in assistance. In 2009, we have awarded $22,000 to eighteen young artists. In addition, ten young artists, 12-29 years old, are recipients of our Instrument Loan Program.
The RBP Foundation begins where traditional scholarships end. Most of our young artists receive financial aid from their music schools. Yet, as the stories above illustrate, there are so many additional expenses beyond the costs of lessons that families in struggling circumstances simply cannot cover. It would be a tragedy to have to turn away any deserving young artist in need; with your help, they will all be able to continue pursuing their musical dreams.
Young artists in other corners of the world are in need as well. Global HeartStrings is hoping to expand its reach into a region truly in need of the healing power of music – the Middle East.
A group of enthusiastic and accomplished young players from Northern Iraq recently formed the Kurdish String Orchestra. Searching for help, their concertmaster, Nabaz Abubakir, wrote the following to the RBP Foundation. “We do not have good quality instruments or bows. We lack good quality strings for violin, viola, cello, or bass. All of the strings in the local store have expired. The most important thing that we do not have is sheet music. Even though there is a good music library in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, they do not help us because they are Arabic and we are Kurdish!”
Music truly is a universal language, transcending all of the barriers that often divide us. The voices of composers of African descent, long silenced or forgotten, are finally being brought back to life and into the hands of students of all races and ethnicities. Our collaboration with the University of Michigan has been very fruitful; and our curricular project, Music by Black Composers, is entering its next stage: evaluation of the repertoire by leading pedagogues. Funding is still needed to complete the remaining research.
The future of classical music depends on supporting talented students and young professional musicians during the early, formative years of their development. With your help, these young artists will inspire the next generations as they provide the world with many years of beautiful music. Your gift is truly the gift of a lifetime.