Saturday, March 26, 2016

R.I.P.: David Baker (1931-2016)

(born December 21, 1931 in Indiapanapolis, Indiana, U.S.;
died on March 26, 2016 in Bloomington, Indiana, U.S.)

Composer, arranger, conductor, writer, educator.

Had the honor to participate with him in panel sessions during IAJE (International Association of Jazz Educators) during the 90s.
(panel session "Global Jazz Education," during the "Nineteenth Annual International Conference" of the IAJE (International Association of Jazz Educators), in Miami, Florida, January 1992.
Pictured: Dr. David Baker (moderator), Lee Berk, Opher Brayer, Darius Brubeck, Sigi Busch, Arnaldo DeSouteiro, Patrick Crichton, J. Richard Duscomb, Bunky Green, William Montgomery and Peter Stingings; photo by Rossana Bowman)

Baker was an aspiring trombone player then, but he would grow to be a Grammy-nominated artist with more than 1,000 compositions. He took up the cello after a car accident injured muscles in his face.

Among Baker’s honors are becoming an Indiana Living Legend in 2001, an NEA Jazz Master in 2000, a Grammy nominee in 1979 and Pulitzer Prize nominee in 1972.

He taught and performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, according to Baker's retirement biography, written by Luke Gillespie. He also co-founded the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.

Rest In Peace, David.

David Nathaniel Baker, Jr. is Distinguished Professor of Music and Chairman of the Jazz Department at Indiana University. A virtuosic performer on multiple instruments and top in his field in several disciplines, Dr. Baker has taught and performed throughout the USA, Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, New Zealand, and Japan. For the past 14 years he has served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. He has written over 70 books on jazz improvisation, jazz composition and arranging, jazz pedagogy, how to learn tunes, how to practice, and other related topics. He also has more than 400 articles and 75 recordings to his credit.

Baker received both bachelor's and master's degrees in music education from Indiana University, and honorary doctorates from Oberlin College, Wabash College, and the New England Conservatory of Music. He has studied with a wide range of master teachers, performers, and composers including J.J. Johnson, Bobby Brookmeyer, Janos Starker, George Russell, William Russo, Bernard Heiden, and Gunther Schuller. A 1973 Pulitzer Prize nominee, Dr. Baker also has been nominated for a Grammy Award, honored three times by Down Beat magazine (as a trombonist, for lifetime achievement, and induction into the Jazz Education Hall of Fame), and is a recipient of the National Association of Jazz Educators Hall of Fame Award, Indiana University President's Award for Distinguished Teaching, the Arts Midwest Jazz Masters Award, and the Governor's Arts Award of the State of Indiana. He is also a recipient of jazz's hightest honor: the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Award.

As a composer, Dr. Baker has been commissioned by more than 500 individuals and ensembles, including Josef Gingold, Ruggerio Ricci, Janos Starker, Harvey Phillips, the New York Philharmonic, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Beaux Arts Trio, Fisk Jubilee Singers, Louisville Symphony, Ohio Chamber Orchestra, the Audubon String Quartet, and the International Horn Society. His compositions, tallying over 2,000 in number, range from jazz and sonatas to film scores.

Dr. Baker's involvement in music organizations has encompassed membership on the National Council on the Arts; board positions for the American Symphony Orchestra League, Arts Midwest, and the Afro-American Bicentennial Hall of Fame/Museum; and past chairs of the Jazz Advisory Panel to the Kennedy Center and the Jazz/Folk/Ethnic Panel of the NEA. He also served as President of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) and the National Jazz Service Organization (NJSO), and currently serves as senior consultant for music programs for the Smithsonian Institution.
Der Komponist und Pädagoge David Baker ist am 26. März im Alter von 84 Jahren in seinem Haus in Bloomington, Indiana, gestorben. Er galt als einer der einflussreichsten Jazzpädagogen der USA. Sein Werk umfasst über 2.000 Kompositionen, 500 Auftragsarbeiten, 65 Tonträger, 70 Bücher und 400 Essays. Er gründete 1968 das „Jazz Studies Programm“ der Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, das er bis 2013 leitete. Baker war zudem von 1990 bis 2012 künstlerischer und musikalischer Leiter des Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. Der vielfach ausgezeichnete Komponist wurde 2000 zum „NEA Jazz Master“ ernannt, der höchsten offziellen Jazzauszeichnung in den USA.

David Nathaniel Baker Jr. wurde am 21. Dezember 1931 in Indianapolis geboren. 1954 schloss er sein Musikpädagogik-Studium an der Indiana University mit einem Master ab. Der talentierte Posaunist wechselte nach einer ernsthaften Kiefer-Verletzung, die er sich bei einem Verkehrsunfall zuzog, zum Cello. Der renommierte Komponist war neben seiner Tätigkeit in der „International Association for Jazz Education“ und der „National Jazz Service Organization“ wiederholt auch Musik-Juror für den Pulitzer-Prize, für den er selbst 1973 nominiert war. Für sein Lebenswerk wurde Baker 2007 mit dem „Living Jazz Legend Award“ des „John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts“ ausgezeichnet.

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