Growing up in Eugene, Oregon, John Baldwin found his way to music when he heard the Guarneri String Quartet as a 5 year old and asked his parents for a violin. He attended the Oberlin Conservatory where he studied violin with Gregory Fulkerson, baroque violin with Marilyn McDonald, and chamber music with Richard Kapuschinski. As the violinist of a group that won the Oberlin Chamber Music Competition, John performed on tour across the United States.
Following Oberlin, John spent a year studying with Joseph Genualdi and playing with the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra. He then enrolled in the Master of Music program at Indiana University where he studied with Franco Gulli and also Stanley Ritchie in the baroque music program.
After graduate school, life took him to Chicago, Germany, Boston, and finally to St. Paul, Minnesota, where he currently resides. In Chicago, he played in the Ravinia Festival Orchestra, the Chicago String Ensemble, live radio broadcasts with Peter Van De Graaff, and toured with Frank Sinatra. In Germany, he spent two seasons with the Staatstheater Kassel.
In Boston, John taught violin at Tufts University and chamber music at the New England Conservatory and the Longy School of Music. He performed with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Composers in Red Sneakers, the Boston Pops, and Emmanuel Music. He also enjoyed teaching and performing at the Point Counterpoint chamber music camp in Vermont.
When he landed in Minnesota, he freelanced in the Twin Cities and taught at the MacPhail Center for Music and Saint Catherine University. He was also helping his musical friends with their instrument searches, a sideline he found engaging, satisfying, and fun.
In fact, John was launched on this pursuit years earlier in Indiana when he asked Franco Gulli to help him acquire a better violin.
“Save your money, buy a Stradivarius,” Gulli said. While this was excellent advice, it was not terribly practical. So John began to visit violin shops to develop the perspective and experience necessary to find the best Stradivarius substitute he could afford.
Reuning & Son Violins was one of the shops that helped John expand his knowledge and indulge his passion for the finest instruments and bows. When he had the chance to join the shop’s sales team, he knew it would an unparalleled opportunity to broaden his gift for musical matchmaking and to help musicians who need a sensitive and skilled adviser during the critical moment in their careers when finding the perfect instrument can help unleash their musical, creative and human potential.
While living in Minnesota and working for a Boston-based firm might seem unwieldy, it has its advantages. For one, it allows John to serve as a unique resource for Midwest musicians. For another, St. Paul is a convenient central location from which to travel to clients around the country.