John was born and raised in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. He began studying the piano at the age of five and trumpet in the fifth grade. In high school he became principal trumpet of the MMEA All-State Orchestra and a featured soloist at the MMEA All-State Recital. He attended St. Olaf College, Northfield and Concordia College, Moorhead and pursued graduate studies at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. While in college he was principal trumpet of the Concordia College Band and Orchestra and was selected as a first cornet in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Honor Band. His teachers have included Tom Rolfs (principal trumpet, Boston Symphony), David Baldwin (University of Minnesota), Ron Hasselmann (assistant principal trumpet, Minnesota Orchestra), J. Robert Hanson (Concordia College, Moorhead) and Russell Pesola (Concordia College).Currently he is principal trumpet of the Minnesota Opera Orchestra, a position he has held since the opera’s 1998 season. He has also performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, North Star Opera, American Ballet Theater, Vocal Essence Music Series, the Metropolitan Symphony (Minneapolis), the Bloomington (Minnesota) Symphony, the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony, Ameriikan Poijat (a traditional Finnish brass septet), Michael W. Smith and the rock group Kansas. He has appeared on stage with notable performers such as Nigel Kennedy, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes, Billy Taylor and James Earl Jones.
In addition to performing, John has spent much of his professional life and energy as an educator. He has taught private brass lessons to students in the twin cities area, Pelican Rapids, Staples Motley and Concordia College, Moorhead. He was a fifth through ninth grade band director in Shakopee, Minnesota for several years and is currently director of the orchestra program and beginning band at Staples Motley Public Schools. He makes his home in Motley, Minnesota with his wife, Cynthia; two daughters, Sarah and Anna; a dog, Ivy; two horses, Hercules and Tex; and a cat, Maria.
Lakes Area Music Festival
715 Laurel Street
Brainerd MN 56401
Hours: M, W, F 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.