DARIEN — Sara Baldwin was born with music in her blood.

The only child of a violinist (mom) and a professional cellist (dad), Baldwin, 16, has been composing music and songs since she was 6 and playing the viola since she was in third grade at Royle School. Her hard work has paid off, as she’ll be the only student from Darien High School performing in the All-Eastern Orchestra in Atlantic City, N.J.

The high school junior qualified for the orchestra last year when she made All-States, a prestigious group of musicians from across Connecticut which she’s been a part of twice during her high school career. After getting into All-States last year, she auditioned for the All-Eastern Honors Orchestra and learned about her acceptance in November. On Tuesday, she’ll travel to New Jersey to learn and perform a piece at the Boardwalk Hall with 800 other high school students from Maine to Virginia.

“Most kids are going to be well prepared and used to the festival,” she said. “I’m excited to meet other kids with the same interests and on the same path.”

Baldwin ultimately hopes to study genetics in college, but hopes to minor in viola performance or play with local orchestras, since music is such a big part of her life. Aside from being raised in a household filled with classical music, the young violist also found her talent and passion while attending summer music camps.

“As a violist, there’s not many solo pieces,” she said. “It’s known as an inner voice. I liked the experience of being part of a smaller group and putting together different voices.”

Drawn to the viola because of its size and unique factor, Baldwin has since gone on to play in the Darien High School Chamber Orchestra, as well as the Norwalk Youth Symphony and the UN Orchestra. She’s a member of the National Honors Society, a music honors society, plays in several other DHS groups and is on the girls’ golf team. She’s trained with Kikuei Ikeda, formerly of the Tokyo String Quartet, and will have her composing work featured in the high school’s upcoming Young Composers’ Concert.

“As a young kid, I liked to sing, so I got into writing music,” she said. “As I got older, I got away from songs and into chamber music.”

Baldwin and her parents are big fans of classical music and sometimes play around the house together, but enjoy listening to all genres. Baldwin plays jazz and blues occasionally with one of her music groups at school. But she said it was growing up around musicians like her parents that made her diverse love of music, particularly classical music, what it is today.

“Growing up in a house with a cello player and a violinist, I had it in my head,” she said. “I grew up with that music. I went to concerts, and that inspired me to go into that. It’s interesting in a town centered around sports, playing music, but I think music is just as important.”

ekayata@hearstmediact.com; @erin_kayata