Violinist and fiddle player Marie Rhines has earned the distinction of bringing two formerly disparate groups into one concert hall - the hard-core classical music lover and the authentic ethnic music aficionado. Her performances include fiddle tunes, violin solos and vocal performances. I perform as a solo fiddler to classical audiences who love the fact that I play solo violin in a new way. And the music fans who love American, Scottish, Irish fiddle tunes and cowgirl ballads also come to hear me play the old songs and my new ones.
Classically trained on the violin, Rhines studied at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston as a young girl. I began lessons at the New England Conservatory of Music In Boston with my brother after he found an old violin in our attic, Rhines recalls. We both trudged of to the New England Conservatory through snow and sleet spending all day Saturday taking lessons, attending music theory classes and performing in chamber music concerts in Jordan Hall and Recital Hall. I studied with several different teachers as I grew up, starting with the Director of the Preparatory Division, Frances Lanier, a Boston icon and an extremely loving and kind teacher. To put it simply, I always thought it was sort of fun, playing the violin. I dont remember ever having to practice violin very much, but my teacher, Mrs. Lanier was always kind, saying how I was a prodigy.
By the time she had graduated from high school, Rhines had given dozens of violin recitals in large halls, like Jordan Hall in Boston and had several early television appearances on WGB-TV in Boston. I loved perfomring music and sharing it with audiences. So it was easy and fun for me to play for an audience.
After graduating from the New England Conservatory of Musics Preparatory Division, Rhines studied with the Concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Richard Burgin. l majored in history and political science at Northeaster University. After graduation, at my brother Alberts suggestion, I decided to continue my musical studies and was accepted at Yale Universitys Graduate School of Music as a violin major There she studied with Broadus Erle, concertmaster of the Tokyo Philharmonic, before retuming to Boston to conclude her studies with Joseph Silverstein, Assistant Conductor and Concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. After earning a Master of Music Degree in Violin Performance she began to perform at recitals and concerts around New England.
But a chance meeting in Denver with Arlo Guthrie would prove to open her ears to a different kind of music and she never looked back. We actually met at the Denver airport and I remember he was wearing some kind of heavy fur coat which I had never seen a man wear before, Rhines describes her first encounter with Guthrie. So naturally I sneaked a good look and immediately recognized Arlo Guthrie, who was performing at Tulagis in Boulder. It turned out we were staying at the same hotel.
After meeting John Pilla, Arlo's road manager and guitarist in the coffee shop the next morning by chance over donuts, Arlo invited me to join him and we began to jam.
I played him a classical Bach gigue and he politely suggested I listen to some fiddle music. I did, and the rest is the history of my love affair with the history of American music. I attended his show every night that week where I also met Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee.
Six months later, after spending eight to sixteen hours a day listening to Clark Kessinger and other early recordings and trying to figure out bowings by ear, Rhines played her first fiddle music at a solo violin concert at Rockefeller University in New York. I was hooked. From that moment I decided this was going to be my lifes work. I kept in touch with Arlos manager, John Pilla, for years and we would joke about our first meeting.