John Bartholomew comes from a musical family—both his parents are horn players, who are now retired and living in Asheville, North Carolina.
Bartholomew attended the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Abraham Skernick. Before being appointed to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 1980, he was a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1976 to 1980, under the direction of both Zubin Mehta (two years) and Carlo Maria Giulini (two years).
Tina, his wife of 29 years, is a violinist who teaches music in the Evanston public schools and freelances in the Chicago area. In his spare time, Bartholomew enjoys caring for his cats and working around the house.