Stephan Baumgartner was born in Zurich. He received initial instruction on the violin at the age of six. He filled school books with compositions without the use of bar lines at the age of ten and at seventeen his desire to become a bassoonist was influenced by the hearing of Mozart's Bassoon Concert. It was to be another two years until he was accepted at the conservatory in Zurich.
In 1967 Baumgartner's teacher, Rudolf Leuzinger, sent him to Prague to prof. Jaroslav Rezác and prof. Karel Pivonka; prof. Ladislav Cerny was also an influence. Böhmen exercised a powerful influence over Stephan Baumgartner. He began a dialogue with the culture and the artists of the country, Prague became for him a cultural homeland of choice. He graduated from the Academy for the Musical Arts with a soloist's diploma for bassoon and subsequently studied bassoon for one year under the tutelage of Karel Janecek.
From 1973 until 1975 he attended the Freiburg im Breisgau School of Music and listened for a short time into the lectures of Klaus Huber. Following his studies he was incapable of composing for a period of four years. Improvisation helped him to develop his own musical language. The Central European tradition in the form of an extended tonality is, for Baumgartner, by no means exhausted. His music is borne of intuition and makes human sentiment in all ist forms visible.
In 1979 he opened the 'Galerie am Hinterberg' in Zurich with the desire to bring closer music, the visual arts, literature, artists and the public. The gallery has become, without public help, a firm and favoured institution in Zurich - over 2500 events with primarily young artists and 750 world premieres have already taken place there.
Stephan Baumgartner lives as a freelance musician in Zurich. He has appeared as a chamber musician and solo bassoonist on countless tours at home and abroad. He values most particularly the interpretation of contemporary compositions which are often dedicated to him, most notably the meditation concerts in large churches like the Closter Einsiedeln or the Mosta Cathedral (Malta) etc.
Stephan Baumgartner received the honorary prize offered by the canton of Zurich in 1999 for his tireless engagement.