Robert A. Baker
composer | theorist
"... his style is decisively contemporary in its sophisticated use of dissonance and its exploitation of sonic effects."

Tim Smith
Clef Notes & Drama Queens, The Baltimore Sun
June 9, 2009


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SHARP EDGES (the CD)
solo and chamber music by Robert A. Baker

"... uncompromising music  which encompasses the past
 while embracing the future."

David Olds, The Wholenote Magazine, February 2013


more info ...
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see more on the PHOTOS page

 

 

recent news ...

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22 - 25 June 2016
Premiere of New Work for mise-en festival 2016
in New York City
I'm extremely honoured to be one
of the selected composers in the
International Call for Scores,
commissioned to compose a new
chamber work for ensemble mise-en, which will be premiered at the 2016 festival in New York City in June.

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12 Mar 2016
Premiere of a New Work for cellist Dan Shomper
Looking forward to collaborating with cellist Daniel Shomper in March at Anne Arundel Comunity College, where Dan will premiere my new work As the Restless Spheres for solo cello on a recital of premieres. Programme includes works by Steve Gorbos, Jacob Polasky, and Lawrence Moss. Stay tuned for more details and media from the event.

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Spring 2016
Valence III selected for inclusion on
SCI Composers' CD Series, Vol. 30
My 2010 trio, Valence III, for oboe, cello, and percussion, will be included on the forthcoming Volume 30 of SCI's Composers' CD Series. The CD, which will be released on Navona Records, is set to appear in the spring of 2016. I am extremely honoured to be selected for this series, and forever indebted to the wonderful performers on this live recording: Howard Niblock, oboe; Miyoko Grine-Fisher, cello; and Alex Rolfe, percussion.

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11 Dec 2015
Conducting Morton Feldman with the CUA Contemporary Music Ensemble
Very excited to be giving the first performance of the season of our new CUA Contemporary Music Ensemble with Morton Fledman's Routine Investigations. Comprised of current CUA Graduate Performance Majors, the CME will appear on the Composition Division semester concert along with new works by current CUA students and faculty.
7:30 pm, Ward Recital Hall, CUA, Washington DC.

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4 Dec 2015
Premiere for Soprano, Choir and Orchestra in Washington, D.C.'s National Basilica
My 2015 work, Stellam - Lunam - Rorate caeli desuper, for soprano, chorus and orchestra, was premiered on 4 December 2015 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C. Commissioned by Dr. Leo Nestor and The Catholic University of America, The Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, It was a great honour to be the composer of the new work on this year's programme. Subsequently, the performance was broadcast on EWTN over the Christmas / New Year's week, connecting to millions around the world. Here is the introduction from the premiere:

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20 & 22 Nov 2015
Conductor for SONAR New Music Ensemble's 2015-2016 Season Opening Concert
Looking forward once again to conducting this fine ensemble in a performance of Ryan Chase's scintillating 2012 ensemble work,Stargazer, and the premiere of Nicholas Bentz's new work, a night sky consumed in light. Come and hear works inspired by Time in this innovative programme featuring Maderna, Birtwistle and Ablinger, with Stephen Hawking as your guide!
8pm, Baltimore Theater Project.

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5 Nov 2015
Conducting a performance of Blue Surface at New Music Salisbury
Honoured to return to New Music Salisbury to conduct the SU Guitar Ensemble for a repeat performance of my 2012 work for classical guitar ensemble, Blue Surface. Programme includes works by Harrison, Sculthorpe, and a new work by Jerry Tabor.
7:30 pm, The Great Hall, Salisbury University, MD.

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28 Sept 2015
Faustus Songs selected for publication in
SCI Journal of Music Scores Vol. 54/55
My 2014 vocal work on Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, will be published in the upcoming SCI Journal of Music Scores. I am immensely honoured once again to be a part of this evergrowing voluminous collection of music by living composers.

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19 Aug 2015
String Quartet selected by ISCM Miami Chapter
Very excited to learn today that my piece Motion/less for string quartet (after my String Quartet no. 2) has been selected by the ISCM Miami Chapter to be submitted for consideration for the 2016 World Music Days in South Korea. I'm very honoured to be among the small few selected to represent the United States' Submission to the ISCM, and look forward to the host country's final selections.
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24 May 2015
New recording of Faustus Songs
for three voices and ensemble
A recording of my most recent vocal work on Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, is finally complete! Insprired by Purcell's Symphony Songs, it is in seven continuous parts for three solo voices and a quartet comprised of oboe, cello, trombone and harpsichord. Here is an excerpt, no. 6. O, Gentlemen, I gave them my soul.

Click here for more samples, perfomer information, and notes on the work.
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8 & 10 May 2015
Conducted Two Premieres on SONAR New Music Ensemble's Season Finale
Very pleased to have conducted two premieres on SONAR’s theatrical finale to their fifth season: composer-in-residence Roger Zare's The Tell-Tale Heart for eight players, and last season's RadarLab winner, Michael Rickleton's Faithfully Yours, Virginia, for voice and ensemble. Filled with video, electronic sound, and readings of bedtime stories, under theatrical lighting and presented in a non-stop quasi-narrative format, SONAR have out done themselves once again.
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18 April 2015
Conductor for SONAR New Music Ensemble's 2015 RadarLAB  Composer Workshop Concert
Honoured to be working once again with these fine musicians, and conducting four new compositions by current Peabody composition students, Nick Bentz, James Chu, Xulu Kong, and Andrew Posner. Keep your eyes and ears out for these new, young and talented voices. The show is at 8pm, First Unitarian Church, Baltimore.
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16 April 2015
A Forge, and a Scythe for solo guitar
My sincere thanks to Kosovarian guitarist, Vendim Thaqi, for his performance of my 1998 guitar solo, A Forge, and a Scythe, on the Spring 2015 New Music Salisbury concert.
I wish I could have been there! But it's wonderful to know that the tradition at SU continues, thanks to Danielle Cumming and Jerry Tabor's continued efforts in presenting contemporary music.
Thank you!

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20 March 2015
Premiere: Apsis for solo cello

My new solo cello piece, Apsis, has been selected for inclusion on the Composers Concert at the 45th Mid-Atlantic College Music Society Conference to be held at High Point University, North Carolina. New Music champion and cellist extraordinaire, J. W. Turner, will give the premiere. My sincere thanks to the program committee for including me on what will be a great event!
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19 - 21 March 2015
2015 Mid-Atlantic CMS Conference Paper
Preparing to present a new paper, Time and Notation in Selected Works of Boulez and Dutilleux, at the 45th Mid-Atlantic College Music Society Conference at High Point University, NC.
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20 February 2015
Premiere of a New Work for string quartet
I am honoured to be a part of The Catholic University of America's Stations: A Group Commission Project in Honor of the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music's 50th Anniversary, for which fourteen new string quartet miniatures have been commissioned from current faculty, students, and alum. 7:30 p.m., Church of the Little Flower, Bethesda, MD, USA

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10 February 2015
New Release on Navona Records
My two piano pieces, Valence I and Nor gates of steel so strong, but Time decays?, are featured on the new Navona Revords release, FELT, which includes new piano music by seven living composers. For more information, program notes, and to hear some excerpts, click  on the CD cover.

 
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30 January / 1 February 2015
Premiere of a New Work for solo violin and ensemble for SONAR New Music Ensemble  

Come and hear my new violin concerto for Colin Sorgi, violinst and Artistic Director of SONAR. It's an honour and a great pleasure to be working with these wonderful musicians again. I hope to see you in the New Year at The Baltimore Theatre Project for the show.
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November 2014
Latest Article Completed
Very pleased to have finished my first article on Wolfgang Rihm's music, The Hunt for Form in Wolfgang Rihm's Ninth String Quartet, "Quartettsatz" (1992-1993). This composer has fascinated and inspired me for many years more than any other.
I am hopeful that this (more than year-long) endeavour will appear in print in the not-too-distant future. Stay tuned!
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more news ...
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BIOGRAPHY & CV
COMPOSITIONS
WRITINGS
CONDUCTING
NEWS & EVENTS
DISCOGRAPHY
PHOTOS
CONTACT
LINKS

STELLAM - LUNAM - RESPICE CAELI DESUPER
for soprano, chorus, and orchestra


(excerpt)
[] Commissioned by the B. T. Rome School of Music,
The Catholic University of America
 

more info ...

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VALENCE III
for oboe, cello, and percussion



[] Included on SCI Composers' CD Series, Vol. 30
[] Published in SCI Journal of music Scores, Vol. 48

more info ...

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CHAMBER CONCERTO #3: Time Fields
for 15 instruments


(excerpt)
[] Honourable Mention in Free Style
Competition 2010, London, England

more info ...

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WINGS AND ENGINES
for solo violin & orchestra


(excerpt from 2nd mvt.)
[] Selected for the 2007 CMC Ontario
Region Professional Readings Series
more info ...
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STRING QUARTET #1:
Releasing Anamnesis


(excerpt from 1st mvt.)
[] ISCM Canadian Section for World Music
Days 2010, Sydney, Australia
[] Finalist in the 6th International Composition
Competition, “Città di Udine” 2006, Italy
[] Canadian Contemporary Music Workshop,
2004 , Toronto, Canada
more info ...
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SHARP EDGES
for chamber ensemble


(excerpt)

[] Selected for inclusion in
New Music Miami 2011 ISCM Festival
[] Written for the
St. Magnus Composers' Course 2009,
Kirkwall, Scotland
more info ...
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VALENCE II
for clarinet, violin, cello & piano


(excerpt)
[] York Spring New Music Festival, England,
[] Didsbury Arts Festival, Manchester, England
[] Selected for inclusion in FSU 15th Biennial
F estival of New Music, Tallahasee, Florida

more info ...
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VALENCE I
for solo piano


(excerpt)
[] Selected for inclusion in the 2010 Society of
Composers, Inc. National Conference
[] Selected for inclusion in the College Music Society
2009 Mid-Atlantic Composer’s Concert

more info ...
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You can access more of my music
on the COMPOSITIONS page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

listen ...

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... AND WONDROUS STRANGE SNOW
for solo violin, strings, piano & percussion


III. Interlude 1



VII. Hot Ice (excerpt)

 

[] Commissioned by SONAR New Music Ensemble;
Colin Sorgi, violin; R. A. Baker, conductor

"... a gorgeous gust of gentle intensity ... Strings shudder behind [the] solo violin line like a sharp gust of wind that
cuts to the bones.
Even in rehearsal, the piece sounds and feels fresh."

Bret McCabe, Johns Hopkins Magazine, Spring 2015

"... an intriguing tone poem ... a nod to the Winter concerto
of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" ... Baker's subtle score has its share of telling silences and shudders.
The latter recall the shivery motives that pop up in Vivaldi's work, used here to equally coloristic effect."

Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun, February 2, 2015

 

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