David Baker


David Nathaniel Baker, Jr (21 December 1931 ? 26 March 2016) was an extraordinarily accomplished composer, author, conductor, and teacher; and among the most influential voices in contemporary American music in a career that spanned over five decades. Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Baker grew up in the rich musical tradition of the black community, in the world of church and gospel music, blues and rhythm & blues, and jazz. He trained as a classical musician and composer at Indiana University, where he later became Distinguished Professor of Music and Chairman of the Jazz Department. Baker also served as conductor and artistic director of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. A virtuoso performer on multiple instruments and top in his field in several disciplines, Mr. Baker taught and performed throughout the USA, Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Over the course of his multifaceted career, David received numerous awards, including the The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Living Jazz Legend Award, National Association of Jazz Educators Hall of Fame Award, the James Smithson Medal from the Smithsonian Institution, and an Emmy Award for his musical score documentary For Gold and Glory. He served a number of times on the Pulitzer Prize Music Jury and was Chair of the Jazz Faculty of the Steans Institute for Young Artists at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, IL. His compositions total more than 2,000 in number, including jazz and symphonic works, chamber music, and ballet and film scores.


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