Bemidji Symphony Orchestra with 17-year-old violinist in concert on May 15 – The Bemidji Pioneer | Start Classified

BEMIDJI — When Timothy Pinkerton was 3 years old, he asked his parents for a violin and a pony.

Finally he got the violin. He didn’t get the pony. Now 17 years old and a high school junior, Pinkerton has blossomed into an accomplished violinist with a bright future. He will star in Max Bruch’s beloved “Violin Concerto No. 1” at the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra’s season-ending concert on Sunday 15 May.

Pinkerton, the youngest of Steven and Tess Pinkerton’s three sons, has been working on the Bruch play for about three years.

“I heard it on the radio and thought it sounded really cool,” he said. “It’s like the first real concert I learned. It’s one of the standard pieces in the repertoire played by all professional violinists, and it’s very well known.”

Timothy joined the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra at the age of 10 after about four years of private tutoring. His mother, Tess, contacted BSO conductor Beverly Everett and asked if her son could audition.

“I sent her a reply that I’m sure I would be embarrassed to read right now,” Everett recalled. “Something like, ‘We allow younger people, but they have to be at a certain level, and we can’t just let anyone play.'”

So they arranged for Timothy to sit in on a rehearsal with the second violin section. Everett could barely see the boy sitting in the back row, but she heard enough to know he needed to join the orchestra.

“Probably about five minutes into this rehearsal, as I stood on the podium and looked back and watched him, I knew right away that he had a special talent,” Everett said.

Two years later, at the ripe old age of 12, Pinkerton was elected first second violinist to head the section.

“It’s a critical role in our orchestra,” Everett said. “The concertmaster is the one everyone notices. But the lead second is responsible for their section, and often that role is harder to play because they don’t have the melody.

“So they’re sitting there with first fiddles right next to them and they kind of get all the credit, and it makes all the difference in the world to have a wonderful lead in that section. Timothy was technically the best qualified for it, even at the age of 12.”

Pinkerton accepted the role, and more importantly, his fellow musicians embraced him.

“Everyone was very friendly,” he said. “When Beverly asked me to step up as principal second, that put me in the front row. I wasn’t very tall, so the people sitting behind me complained that they couldn’t see my bow because of the bow changes.”

One of the other BSO musicians is Eric Olson, Assistant Professor of Music at Bemidji State University. He plays with Pinkerton in the Bemidji String Quartet and is also Timothy’s violin teacher.

“Timothy is a huge talent and he’s also a very hard worker,” Olson shared. “And to have a career in music, you need both. talent gets a foot in the door; it is hard work over a long period of time that gives you a lasting career.”

Pinkerton hopes to make that career a reality. He plans to audition for several prestigious college music programs over the next year.

“I’m planning a career as a violinist and playing in a professional orchestra,” he said. “I’ll see where I get accepted and then choose a school.”

Timothy began taking violin lessons at the age of 6 with Ashley Hodapp at Bemidji Music Studio. During a Christmas break that first year, he set about writing his book on his own.

“Then he just took off,” said his mother, Tess Pinkerton. “He had a passion for it. When we sat in the car, we listened to classical music. It’s just wired into him.”

Music is not Timothy’s only passion. He loves to bake (cakes are his speciality) and he raises chickens, about 40 at the moment.

Timothy Pinkerton says he learned baking skills from watching YouTube videos.

Post / Tess Pinkerton

“I started baking when I was 10 or 11,” he says. “People always say they learned to bake from their mother or grandma. I learned mostly by watching YouTube videos.”

The Pinkertons got their first chickens in 2014. Timothy came to 4-H and began exhibiting them at the Beltrami County Fair.

“You have to get new chickens for the fair every year,” he said. “So we just kept adding and now there are about 40 birds in the yard. We name most of them, but once you get past a certain number it’s hard to keep track of them.”


Timothy Pinkerton keeps Loretta, one of the family chickens. He has been showing chickens at the Beltrami County Fair for several years.

Post / Tess Pinkerton

Everett looks forward to presenting Timothy at the BSO concert on Sunday. He follows in the footsteps of talented young musicians who have also played with the orchestra, such as Eric Haugen, Sadie Hamrin and Sarah Hamrin.

“I love that we’re including people of all ages, and especially these really young kids who play with us,” Everett said. “We all love the kids who play with us, but there are some who have done really wonderful things in music and have promising careers. It’s so much fun when they can come back as soloists.

“I have no doubt that Tim will continue and make a name for himself in the world but hopefully always be willing to come back and perform with us too.”

What: Concert by the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra

When: 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 15

Where: Bemidji High School auditorium

Tickets: Adults $25, Seniors 62+ $20, College students with ID $10. Students in grades K-12 free. Available by cash or check at the door, in advance at Lueken’s Village Foods North and South or online at


Some of the nearly 40 chickens at Pinkerton Farm follow Timothy Pinkerton at lunchtime.

Post / Tess Pinkerton

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