Claude Baker, Composer

...masterfully orchestrated - Baker’s brilliance lies just as much in discriminating restraint as it does in blitzkrieg volume.
— MusicWeb International
Photo: Jim Graham

Claude Baker (b. 1948) is Class of 1956 Chancellor’s Professor of Composition at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and is a recipient of the university-wide Tracy M. Sonneborn Award for accomplishments in the areas of teaching and research.

He earned his doctoral degree from the Eastman School of Music, where his principal composition teachers were Samuel Adler and Warren Benson. As a composer, Baker has received a number of professional honors, including an Academy Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; two Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards; a “Manuel de Falla” Prize (Madrid); the Pogorzelski-Yankee Prize from the American Guild of Organists; the Eastman-Leonard and George Eastman Prizes; BMI-SCA and ASCAP awards; commissions from the Koussevitzky Music Foundation; Fromm Music Foundation; Barlow Endowment for Music Composition; and Meet the Composer (Commissioning Music/USA); a Paul Fromm Residency at the American Academy in Rome; and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, Bogliasco Foundation, and the state arts councils of Indiana, Kentucky, and New York.

Among the many orchestras that have commissioned and/or performed his music are those of Saint Louis, San Francisco, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and Louisville, as well as the New York Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfonica de RTV Española, Orquesta Nacional de España, Musikkollegium Winterthur, and Staatskapelle Halle. Other ensembles include the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Esprit Orchestra, Voices of Change, American Modern Ensemble, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Empyrean Ensemble, Momenta String Quartet, and Pacifica String Quartet (with pianist Ursula Oppens). His works are published by Lauren Keiser Music and Carl Fischer, and are recorded on the Naxos, ACA, Gasparo, Jeanné, IUMusic, TNC, and Louisville First Edition labels.

In addition to Indiana University, Baker has served on the faculties of the University of Georgia and the University of Louisville and has been a visiting professor at the Eastman School of Music. At the beginning of the 1991-92 concert season, he was appointed composer-in-residence of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for eight years. In recognition of his contributions to the St. Louis community during that period, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Missouri–St. Louis in 1999.