WFIU’s Artist of the Month for April is David Baker, Distinguished Professor of Music and Chairman of the Jazz Department at the Indiana University School of Music.
David Nathaniel Baker, Jr. was born in 1931 in Indianapolis and throughout his education he did not stray too far from home. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education from Indiana University and has studied with a wide range of teachers, performers, and composers including J.J. Johnson, Bobby Brookmeyer, Janos Starker, Bernard Heiden, and Gunther Schuller.
A virtuoso performer on multiple instruments and top in his field in several disciplines, Baker has taught and performed in many countries. He is also the conductor and musical and artist director of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.
As a composer, Baker has been commissioned by more than 500 individuals and ensembles, including Josef Gingold, Ruggerio Ricci, Harvey Phillips, and the New York Philharmonic. His compositions total more than 2,000 in number, including jazz and symphonic works, chamber music, and ballet and film scores.
Baker has received numerous awards, including the National Association of Jazz Educators Hall of Fame Award, the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching from Indiana University, and the American Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts. His score for the PBS documentary For Gold and Glory earned him an Emmy. In 2001 he was honored as an Indiana Living Legend.
WFIU will feature music performed by David Baker throughout the month of April.