Virtuoso goes vegan

Virtuoso goes vegan


norman lebrecht

February 07, 2019

Violinist Rachel Barton Pine has a food string to her career.

She has come out on a radio show as radical vegan.

Raised vegetarian, she says she transitioned to vegan when her daughter was born.

Hard to please at post-concert parties.





  • brian says:

    Good for her: the mass torture-chambers of factory farming comprise one of the greatest evils in human history, both for its moral and environmental depredations. The only caution I’d have for her and vegans in general is to avoid the -ism aspect of it: anything made into an evangelistic ideology just plays on the same field as the collective from which it is attempting to rise and separate. Personal choice and shared experience are enough to vibrate with and strengthen the music of the universal — no other force of a movement or a banner is needed.

    • El Grillo says:

      and meat production (all aspects of it from depleting forest for grazing land, transportation, refrigeration) cause more ozone depletion that all transportation combined….

      this is “hard to please”


      • El Grillo says:

        that should have read: meat production causes more ozone depletion than all transportation combined, which is simply a fact that is not commonly shared

        (so it should not read that all transportation combined)

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Some of it tastes nice though.

      In any case, one can eat game.

  • Edward says:

    What’s “radical” about living without slaughtering animals for taste or fashion pleasure?

    Besides, factory farming literally uses techniques developed by nazi Germany to efficiently gas animals. That’s one the reasons why tel-Aviv is one of the vegan capitals of the world.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    A Tournedos Rossini, and a bottle (vegan) Bourdeaux, please.

  • M McAlpine says:

    Do hope she’s not using gut strings!

  • Whimbrel says:

    I know what a vegan is – some of my best friends are vegan. But what’s a ‘radical’ vegan?

  • Lord Bus Stop says:

    Good for her for being vegan, and for speaking about it. The abattoir is something I’d rather not support.

  • Doug says:

    Those with a sense of humor will watch and laugh. Those with no sense of humor Vegans and vegetarians will be indignant and downvote.

  • Lincoln says:

    Awesome! Good for her.

  • Spenser says:

    Vegans: the paramilitary wing of vegetarians (ha-ha)
    Listen, I’m all for those who want to eat whatever they like.
    I’m just saying there’s no need to preach to me about one’s likes and dislikes. I don’t preach to others about the joys of meat-eating.
    I happen to enjoy eating meat (plus two veg) – others don’t.
    I am a Buddhist, and there are many Buddhists who are vegetarian or vegan. So? To each our own.
    Let’s all try to live in acceptance and harmony.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      It’s Narcissism. I was talking to my medical specialist today about it, actually. He mentioned a young man coming into him and proudly proclaiming recently of being vegan because he wanted to ‘save the planet’. My doctor looked askance and said “that’s total narcissism; you really believe its within your purview to change the world?” When he answered yes my doctor said he roared laughing. And he’s a Gastroenterologist!!!

      • Maria Jette says:

        Well, it’s clear he’s not an environmentalist…or a geologist, or a marine biologist, or a meteorologist, or even a nice guy. I think I’d select a different gastroenterologist, pronto, as I’d prefer someone with a little more empathy for humanity to be dealing with my gastro matters.

        As for being vegan, there are lots of reasons why a person might choose that diet besides the perfectly admirable one of wanting to “save the planet,” which you find so worthy of your scorn. I’m a longtime vegetarian myself– mainly because I think eating corpses is creepy. Anyone else is welcome to consume all the cadaverous sinew, tendon, intestine (perhaps save that for your gastroenterologist, along with the tripe), cartilage, skin, fat, veins, arteries, and muscle they like, in blissful ignorance of where it came from, how it was raised and slaughtered, how long it’s been dead, how and where it was stored, and whether it’s harboring that wee soupçon of e. coli which makes meat-eating such a thrilling gamble.

        Shouldn’t you be thanking us meat-avoiders for leaving more of it for you? And gastroenterologists probably value meat-eating more than most, as it’s a factor in many illnesses of the digestive system, so you’re giving your pal’s business a boost with your burger. Bon appétit!

        • Spenser says:

          As you suggest: THANK YOU, MARIA!
          I love the vast variety of foods that people eat around the world. FYI, MJ, I eat meat dishes AND vegetarian dishes.
          The talk about “eating corpses is creepy” and “cadaverous sinew, tendon, intestine, cartilage, skin, fat, veins, arteries” is all well and good, but that porterhouse steak that is sitting in the display case at the local butcher’s is pretty darned delicious when broiled just right, with a bit of salt and pep, olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon (and two veg on the side).
          As Julia Child, James Beard, Martin Yan, Mark Bittman, and many other chefs have demonstrated and written about, there are enough different meat dishes and vegetarian dishes to satisfy everyone’s taste and anyone’s culture.
          The learning about and sampling of foods that we may not be familiar with, or even think we don’t like, is a good first step to multi-cultural awareness.
          As I wrote before, let’s all try to live in acceptance and harmony.
          And to you, Maria Jette: love and Bon appétit!

      • Harrumph says:

        Rather a stupid man, this doctor.

  • El Grillo says:

    What a lovely girl.

    She has a smile like Trouhanova

    And she brings off a Mozart concerto, the first one, and does it well giving it balance: not an easy thing to do the way so many people play it like a sugar buzz or go trickling through it like it’s trickle down politics which disproves global warming, and those thus from “above” – where one is preached to that the trickling comes from – is who “Mozart” was supposed to be working for.

    To address a few things from the video about nutrition. So people can make their own choice with free will; rather than if they are in the minority they would be considered difficult and be dissuaded from free will, or just expressing their happiness and sharing what they do be considered preaching. She does a lot on her own also. A whole array of music that would otherwise have no voice, a whole outlet for children with her foundation. But when she does her own thing rather than eat “normal” food at a post concert party she’s hard to please!? Sorry, I never read the social manual that one is obliged to eat food you don’t need, and don’t want, isn’t your own choice ,nor what you have found to maintain your health, or if you don’t you’ll be seen as difficult.

    Someone simply sharing their concepts and making informed choice possible really is only doing that.

    Milk indeed can coat the whole intestinal track, but I think yogurt is good for it, but that’s sort of fermented milk. The same I understand goes with grains. There’s phytic acid in grains and legumes that turn slowly into sugars in your mouth, something I understand is more prone to cause cavities than sugar. This also coats the intestinal track preventing absorption of nutrients. But if you ferment such grains, like when making sour dough bread, this metabolizes the phytic acid which is mostly gone then. You can also do this with rice, you first have to soak it like when making sour dough starter, which takes a few days, this while the rice is soaking in water. You then drain out that water with the micro-organisms in it that did the work metabolizing, and save that so you can use some of it for the next time. Then you add fresh water to the rice and cook it.
    I do the same with legumes like Kidney, Garbanzo or other beans. I soak them to ferment and metabolize the phytic acid, which I might do for days, then save some of the ferment for next time (that goes in the freezer) and use fresh water to cook them. They taste a lot better that way to me, and don’t have the harsh tinge that un-fermented grains and legumes have. They’re softer and feel better to digest; although they don’t have the harshness of many modern foods that people seem to associate with “energy.”
    You can research this online in reference to the Paleo Diet, or do a search for phytic acid, or whatever you do. The Paleo diet isn’t vegan at all by the way; but I don’t indulge in meat so I adjusted it.
    There’s also a book called Against the Grain which explains how many of our viruses came from being incubated in animals, some modern ones not mentioned there in you wouldn’t believe they could have.

  • Mr. Knowitall says:

    Out of curiosity, I wanted to check the idea that Ms. Pine is a “radical” vegan in that, as the blog’s proprietor says, she “preaches.” I googled “Rachel Barton Pine vegan.” There is, I think, only one mention in passing of veganism on her website, none on the Wikipedia page, and very little elsewhere. She appears willing to discuss being a vegan when asked, such as in an interview about parenting, but that appears to be the extent of it.

    She’s just an ordinary vegan, it appears.

  • Tromba in F says:

    And why exactly is this news?

  • Sibylle Luise says:

    How do you recognize a vegan? You don’t have to – he’ll tell you after three minutes.

  • Mark says:

    It’s another fine example of cheap publicity meets fashionable nonsense. Yawn yawn. Snowflakes at their best.

    • Harrumph says:

      To the backward yokels who use the word “snowflakes” as an epithet, people who are into classical music are snowflakes.

  • Simon Scott says:

    A vegan diet will not be at all good for Rachel’s brawny bow arm.
    Maybe a rethink would be in order…?