Robert A. Baker (born Toronto, 1970) is a composer, theorist and conductor
of new music.
His compositions have been programmed on concert series and 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 2001 International Choral Festival (Czech Republic); Festival
"Giuseppe Rosetta" 1998 (Italy); Canadian Contemporary Music Workshop,
Canadian Music Centre Professional Readings Series, and New Music North
(Canada); Society of Composers, Inc., College Music Society, and FSU
Biennial Festival of New Music, and Miami New Music ISCM Festival
Most recently, a new flute concerto was premiered at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage and The Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C. by The Catholic University of America Symphony Orchestra with soloist Troy Paolantonio and conductors Andrea Vela and Nicola Colafelice. Other recent premieres include an orchestral work for the Newark Symphony, Delaware (2018), a new piano concerto premiered by Ivo Kaltchev and Newprism Ensemble (Washington DC, 2017), a sextet for New York's ensemble mise-en (2016), and his second violin concerto for SONAR New Music Ensemble (Baltimore, 2015).
His music is published by Musikverlag Zimmermann (Germany), SCI Journal of Music Scores (USA), and the Canadian Music Centre.
His research focusses on 20th-Century analysis, particularly the music of Wolfgang Rihm, Pierre Boulez, and Henri Dutilleux, as well as issues of temporality and the perception of musical form. His writing has been published in Perspectives of New Music and Circuit musique contemporaines, and he has presented papers at numerous music and theory society conferences including MTSMA, WCCMTA, MTSE, TSMT, and MusCan (Canada). Current research includes connections between Dutilleux and philosopher Gilles Deleuze, as well as new analyses of selected chamber works of Wolfgang Rihm via gestural and paradigmatic analytical approaches.
He has conducted operatic, orchestral, choral and chamber works from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas (Salisbury University, 2008), Bach's Orchestral Suite no. 3, Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Greensleeves, Corelli's Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, No. 8 "Christmas Concerto" (Brampton, 1997), Fauré's Requiem, Schubert's Mass in G, D. 167, Vivaldi's Magnificat, Rv. 610 (Toronto, 1995-98), and Charpentier's Messe pour le Samedi de Pâques (Montréal, 2006).
Specializing in 20th- and 21st-Century repertoire in recent years, Robert has conducted over thirty contemporary works, including fourteen premieres, for various ensembles in Canada and the United States including toneART ensemble, SONAR New Music Ensemble, and as director of the CUA Contemporary Music Ensemble. In 2012, Robert founded Newprism Ensemble, which has performed in Baltimore, Annapolis and Washington D.C. Conducting highlights include works by Grisey, Boulez, Hosokawa, Abrahamsen, Sørensen, Murail, Stravinsky, Wen-chung Chou, and Feldman.
Robert received a B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Toronto (1993), an A.R.C.T. Piano Performance Diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music (1993), and his M.M. and Ph.D. in Composition from McGill University (2004/2009). His principal teachers in composition and theory include John Rea, Jean Lesage, and Christoph Neidhoffer. He has participated in composition Master Classes with Brian Ferneyhough, Philippe Leroux, Francois Rose, and Klas Torstensson.
Robert has taught various theory and composition courses as an Adjunct Lecturer at McGill, Salisbury and Towson Universities, as well as Anne Arundel Community College, and most recently was Associate Professor of Theory and Composition at The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. (2013 - 2021). Currently Robert lives in Denmark where he continues to be active as a teacher and composer.