Jenny Oaks Baker: America's Violinist

05/13/2016 04:45 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

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PINBALL WIZARD (The Who) BY JENNY OAKS BAKER

When we listen to the music of Jenny Oaks Baker it reminds us of sunshine, fresh mown grass on a summers evening, the smell of a newborn baby and watching the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico. Her music suggests intellectual passion, coupled with tranquility.

Grammy Nominee Jenny Oaks Baker is one of America's most accomplished classical violinists. She's is known fondly as "America's Violinist," an expression that was actually coined by the Director of most of her videos- Danny Drysdale because he felt as if it fit her brand of being a violinist who performs music that everyone throughout America can enjoy, while trying to be a role model of family centered American living.

Her journey started young when she began playing violin at age 4. She made her solo orchestral debut at 8 years old, and subsequently won several competition awards in her youth. Her father, Elder Dallin Oaks is a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, past Justice of the Utah State Supreme Court and former President of Brigham Young University. Her mother June (nee Dixon) whom Jenny credits with being "very instrumental in my musical development," earned her Bachelor of Science degree at BYU and served for eight years (by Governor appointment) on the Utah Arts Council. She also served as a board member of the Utah Symphony Guild, and as co-chair of the Utah Symphony's Outreach program in the public schools.
Jenny was the youngest of six children.

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YESTERDAY by THE BEATLES performed by JENNY OAKS BAKER

A deeply religious person, we've known Jenny for a number of years, when she was living in Washington DC and playing in The National Symphony Orchestra. She's self-effacing about her profound talent, and always meets you with a huge smile that inevitably lights up the room when she enters. The music she plays conveys that smile admirably, adding passion and huge amounts of emotion, that is invariably transferred to the listener in every song she plays.

She earned her Bachelor's Degree in "Violin Performance" at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Curtis is a small music conservatory with a large impact. Its mission is to educate and train exceptionally gifted young musicians for careers as performing artists on the highest professional level. And that's exactly what they did with Jenny Oaks Baker.

Jenny then went on to earn her Master of Music Degree from the renowned Juilliard School in New York City, earning several prestigious awards along the way.

In 1998 Jenny released her first album On Wings of Song, with Shadow Mountain Records. Over the course of the next 18 years Jenny Oaks Baker released 13 more albums, selling over half a million copies, and collaborating with artists such as Lexi Walker, Alexandria Sharpe of Celtic Woman, Kurt Bestor and the former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. These albums have consistently charted on the National Billboard Charts, her album Then Sings My Soul garnering the No 1 spot for multiple weeks, and Jenny's Disney album, Wish Upon A Star earned her a GRAMMY NOMINATION in Pop Instrumental in the 54th Annual Grammy Awards.

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"IT'S A HARD KNOCK LIFE" PERFORMED BY JENNY OAKS BAKER

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In 2000, at age 25, Jenny Oaks Baker joined the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC as a first violinist. She performed there for seven years but resigned in 2007 in order to devote more time to her young family. Jenny is married to Matt Baker. They have four children, Laura, Hannah, Sarah and Matthew and live presently in Salt Lake City, Utah.

After leaving the NSO, Jenny embarked on a successful solo career. She has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony. Utah Symphony, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir as well as The National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of the late Marvin Hamlisch. Jenny has also performed as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, The Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress, Strathmore Hall, The Kennedy Center and The Lincoln Center.

In 2014 Jenny launched the Jenny Oaks Baker YouTube Channel to enable more people throughout the world to experience the beauty and passion of her music performance. This channel features music videos such as her Amazing Grace with Condoleezza Rice accompanying her on piano, as well as other Inspirational, Classic rock, Film, Disney, Classical and Holiday favorites. This year Jenny launched her new video blogging YouTube channel- America's Violinist where she discusses the topics she is passionate about- faith, miracles, music, family, and motherhood.
All of her videos and video blogs, as well as her recordings, sheet music and tour dates can also be found on her website - WWW.JENNYOAKSBAKER.COM

On April 29th 2016 Jenny Oaks Baker released her latest album AWAKENING In Jenny's own words "I love all of my albums but Awakening is really special. It is my most spiritual, emotional and 2016-05-07-1462654482-8002943-Awakening_JennyOaksBaker_cdpage001.jpgepic album yet, and I think fans of my music will be thrilled with it. The album features soul-filling and uplifting arrangements of such hymns as "Nearer My God to Thee," "Abide with Me," "I Know That My Redeemer Lives," and Classical favorites such as "Ode to Joy," "Nessun Dorma" and "O Fortuna."
The album also features Condoleezza Rice joining me on Amazing Grace, GENTRI on Come Thou Font and Lexi Walker on The Prayer. Emmy-Award winning composer Kurt Bestor, whom I have been working with for over twenty years, produced and arranged the album, and I am so grateful for his lush and gorgeous writing. "
Kurt Bestor, Jenny's longtime producer, interjects. "Once again I am honored to produce this album for Jenny Oaks Baker. Probably more than any other collaboration we've done, Awakening pushed me to a deeper place emotionally and spiritually." To purchase a copy of Awakening please visit iTunes

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"AMAZING GRACE."JENNY WITH CONDOLEEZZA RICE ON PIANO

In a series of recent interviews, we had with Jenny Oaks Baker, she had the opportunity to explain about her passion for performance, about her PATREON video sponsors, and how she manages to juggle her career while being the mom of 4 young children.

BD. How has your faith helped you in your career and family life?

J.O.B. My violin life and my family life are completely intertwined with my Faith. I have always known that Heavenly Father gave me a musical gift. I have seen how God has given me tremendous teachers and opportunities to develop my musical talents, and incredible ways to share them, especially when I am sharing them in a way that build's God's Kingdom. All my musical experiences have increased my faith and helped me to know that God knows me, loves me and knows and loves all of His children. I feel this love when I perform. Having to perform which can be scary at times, also has enabled me to truly rely on the Lord to get me through each stressful performance, and then see Him truly bless me.

BD. How do you juggle family and career?

J.O.B. I work hard. Really hard. I also try and prioritize- and I don't sweat the small stuff. I always make sure that my kids get their practicing done every day, but they may not always have their hair done when they get to school- in fact, one of my good friends recently told me that her daughter, who is best friends with my 11-year-old daughter Sarah, recently refused to allow her mother to do her hair, saying that she wanted to wear it "Sarah style". I also rely a lot on my husband. He is wonderfully supportive of my music, and my children's activities, and is always willing to help out with everything when he is not traveling away on business. And lastly, I rely on the Lord. I do all I can do, and He always makes up the difference. I am so grateful for the life I have been given!

BD. You've been playing violin since you were 4 years old. How do you keep it from becoming mundane or a chore?

J.O.B. I love performing! As long as I keep performing- especially great music, it never gets old. Sometimes I do get kind of tired of specific pieces, but then I just program other pieces on my shows. I feel blessed that I am able to continue to make new albums, singles and music videos which give me lots of new music to perform. I am also grateful that this music is uplifting and and seems to touch the hearts and souls of people throughout the world.

I do get sick of practicing however. I thought that when I graduated from Juilliard with my master's degree that I wouldn't have to practice as many hours moving forward. But then when my four children each turned three or four years old, I started them each on their own instruments. Since I still practice with them, the practicing has continued to take over my life. It is not fun, but it is worth it-especially when I see their talents becoming so well-developed.
My four children, Laura, Hannah, Sarah and Matthew, are all musical and often join me on stage. We perform together nowadays under the name, "Jenny Oaks Baker & Family Four." To watch a YouTube video of Jenny Oaks & Family Four visit http://youtu.be/ilmViIElTlU

BD. Making videos is very expensive. Tell us how your fans around the world can help defray some of the costs?

J.O.B. Yes my videos are very expensive to create. I belong to a crowdfunding company called Patreon. If my fans are interested, they can go to www.patreon.com/jennyoaksbaker?ty=h and become a patron. If you join Patreon, you automatically become a part of my fan club, "The Creators Circle", and will have access to all kinds of amazing new content, behind the scenes perks, and merchandise. Every little bit helps! Thank you so much for your support!

Thank You Jenny for talking to us today, and thank you for your wonderful music.

Jenny has produced over 25 videos during her career, and has published them on YouTube, capturing over 2,325,483 plays from fans around the world. For anyone who worries that classical music won't survive the modern world, fear not. What Jenny Oaks Baker breathes into the violin, "springs eternal."

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DING DONG MERRILY ON HIGH VIDEO BY JENNY OAKS BAKER

And while we're talking about great music, let us draw your attention to:
"SIR TIM RICE LAUNCHES NEW MUSICAL IN THE US"

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Sir Tim Rice's New Musical from London's West End
Buy Tickets Now
Alternatively, you can call the box office at 315 255 1785 or toll free at 1 800 457 8897
Performances will be from June 29 - July 20 2016
Merry-Go-Round Playhouse 6877 Eastlake Rd, Auburn. NY 13021

It's 1941 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The men of G Company are restless and disgruntled. One of their own, the rebellious but soulful Private Prewitt falls for escort club girl, Lorene and his platoon sergeant embarks on a dangerous affair of forbidden love with his commander's wife. As the infamous date approaches, the claustrophobic world of the four lovers and the desperation of the soldiers of G Company splinter amidst an escalating war.
Sir Tim Rice's new musical makes its US premiere in Auburn NY. Don't miss this epic, sweeping story of love, redemption and hope set against the backdrop of a beautiful but conflicted paradise.