John’s musical background began in his youth where music was an important part of his family’s daily life. While in high school, John studied organ, piano, french horn, and cello. He also attended advanced musical composition classes at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida before continuing his formal organ training at the Music Conservatory of Stetson University under the direction of Dr. Paul Jenkins. The decision to become an organ builder came while he was in college. This led him to begin his apprenticeship with Fritz Noack of Massachusetts in 1970. In the following decade, he worked as a journeyman builder with Mr. Noack, Bozeman-Gibson & Co. in New Hampshire, and John Brombaugh & Associates in Oregon. In 1979, he moved to Winston Salem, North Carolina and established his own company, J. Allen Farmer, Inc. Pipe Organ Builders.
John lives with his wife, Kristin Gronning Farmer, a church musician, organ recitalist and liturgical artist. They are members of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, Winston-Salem where John served as a chorister for 20 years. He is a member of the Organ Historical Society, the American Guild of Organists, the American Institute of Organ Builders, and the International Society of Organ Builders.