Wesley Baldwin, Cellist

Cellist Wesley Baldwin is a co-director of the Knoxville Suzuki Academy. Initially taught cello classes in the Suzuki method as a child, Dr. Baldwin has been active teaching his own cello classes for more than three decades. His Suzuki teacher training has been with Melissa Kraut. Wesley holds a BA, cum laude, from Yale College, a Master of Music degree (with honors) from the New England Conservatory, and a DMA in cello performance from the University of Maryland.

A passionate teacher, Wesley has taught at the University of Maryland and Florida International University, where he was artist-in-residence with the Plymouth Quartet. He serves now as the Professor of Cello at the University of Tennessee, where he received the Chancellor’s Award for Professional Promise. His former students play and teach throughout the United States.

Dr. Baldwin founded and directs the Tennessee Cello Workshop, an annual three-day gathering of more than 170 cellists of all ages from throughout the United States held each February. His interest in education has also led him to serve as Conductor of the Knoxville Youth Chamber Orchestra from 2006 to 2018.

He performs throughout the United States and Europe as soloist and chamber musician. As a soloist he has appeared with the Laredo Philharmonic, the Oregon Mozart Players, the Symphony of the Mountains, and the Aberdeen, Bemidji, Bryan, Chattanooga, Florence, Johnson City, Hot Springs, Knoxville, La Porte, Oak Ridge, Manchester, New River Valley, Salisbury, Wintergreen, and Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestras, among others. His passionate and charismatic performances have garnered much critical acclaim.

An advocate for great music from all eras, Mr. Baldwin is one of the only performers of several little known and new concerti for cello, including recently those by Wagenseil, Jacob T.V., Behzad Ranjbaran, and Alan Shulman. His recording of music for cello by Alan Shulman, released by Albany records in 2010, enjoyed widespread critical acclaim. He has also recorded for the Naxos, Zyode, and Innova labels. His most recent CD release, his fourth on the Centaur label, features the chamber music of Arthur Honegger.

Wesley was the founder of the Plymouth String Quartet, with whom he was a top prize-winner in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and a finalist in the Paolo Borciani International String Quartet Competition. He was also cellist of the James Piano Quartet for five years, with residencies at both Sweet Briar College and the Wintergreen Festival. Solo and chamber music performing honors Baldwin has received include the Prix Mercure, Homer Ulrich Awards, and a Tennessee Arts Commission Individual Performing Artist Fellowship.

As a member and principal cellist of the New World Symphony, Baldwin performed with many of the world’s great conductors and toured Japan, Scotland, England, Argentina, and Brazil. His orchestral colleagues there selected him as the recipient of the New World Symphony’s Community Board Award for artistic integrity and leadership. Wesley now serves on New World Symphony regional audition committee panels most years in different cities in the U.S.

Dr. Baldwin has performed chamber music at the Aspen, Cazenovia, Hot Springs, Ojai, Sandpoint, Mainly Mozart, May in Miami, Skaneateles, and Sub-tropics Music Festivals, and internationally in Italy, France, Monte Carlo, Spain, Austria, Brazil, Argentina, the United Kingdom and Costa Rica. His most recent international concert activity saw him performing as a recitalist in cities throughout China.

In the summers he performs and teaches at the Michigan City Chamber Music Festival, the ARIA International Academy, the Cincinnati Young Artists Cello Workshop, and at the Wintergreen Festival, where he holds the Leonard Rose Memorial chair as principal cellist of the Wintergreen Festival Orchestra, and serves on the cello and chamber music faculty and serves as the Chair of Strings of the Wintergreen Summer Music Academy.

Wesley lives in Knoxville with his wife (soprano Melisa Barrick Baldwin), and four wonderful children.