Robert A. Baker (Ph.D., M.Mus., McGill University; B.Mus., University of Toronto; A.R.C.T. Piano Performance, Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto) is a composer, theorist, new music conductor, and teacher.
His compositions have been performed at festivals and conferences in North America and Europe including: the St. Magnus, the York Spring New Music, and Didsbury Arts Festivals (UK); Jihlava International Choral Festival (Czech Republic); Festival "Giuseppe Rosetta" (Italy); Canadian Contemporary Music Workshop, Canadian Music Centre Professional Readings Series, and New Music North (Canada); Society of Composers, Inc., College Music Society, FSU Biennial Festival of New Music, and Miami New Music ISCM Festival (USA). Recent premieres include his second violin concerto, … and wondrous strange snow (commissioned by SONAR New Music Ensemble) and a solo cello work, Apsis(premiered by J. W Turner at High Point University, NC, USA).
An award winner and finalist in international composition competitions, including “Jihlava 2000” International Choral Composition Competition (Czech Rep.), the 6th International Composition Competition, “Città di Udine” 2006 (Italy), Free Style Composition Competition (England), and Choral Arts Ensemble Minnesota (USA), Baker’s compositions have also been supported by the Maryland State and Toronto Arts Councils, and published by Chanterelle (Musikverlag Zimmermann, Germany) and SCI Journal of Music Scores (USA).
Commercial recordings of his music are available through the Canadian Music Centre, Navona Records, Chiasmus Ensemble, and the University Choir of Pardubice (Czech Rep.) websites. An upcoming release by guitarist Danielle Cumming is anticipated in early 2016 on the German classical label, AureaVox.
Baker is also an experienced concert organizer and conductor. Co-founder and co-director of toneART ensemble (1999-2003, Toronto), Baker also founded and directed Newprism Ensemble in 2012 (Baltimore), and currently serves as Artistic Advisor and Guest Conductor for SONAR New Music Ensemble of Baltimore. Recent conducting highlights include Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (Salisbury University, 2009), Salvatore Sciarrino’s Infinito Nero, Hans Abrahamson’s Schnee, and Alex Mincek’s poco a poco (SONAR New Music Ensemble, 2014/15).
His research focusses on 20th-Century analysis, including issues of music temporality and the perception of musical form. He has presented his writings at numerous conferences across North America such as the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic, the West Coast Conference for Music Theory and Analysis, The Canadian University Music Society, and The College Music Society, an organization for which he currently serves as Theory Area Chair of the Mid-Atlantic Region. Baker’s research and theories on operatic spatiotemporality have led to a published article (“Spaces and Places of Opera”, Circuit musiques contemporaines, December 2007, Vol. 17, no. 3), and his recent writings include analyses of music by Wolfgang Rihm, Pierre Boulez, and Henri Dutilleux.
Prior to joining The Departments of Music in 2013, he was on faculty at McGill, Salisbury and Towson Universities, and was Adjunct Assistant Professor at Anne Arundel Community College, where he taught numerous theory and composition related courses.