|Robert A. Baker
composer | theorist
|"... his style is decisively contemporary in its sophisticated use of dissonance and its exploitation of sonic effects."|
recent news ...
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.
here for more samples, perfomer information,
and notes on the work.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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 is composer that has fascinated and inspired me for many years. I am hopeful that this (more than year-long) endeavour will appear in print in the not-too-distant future. Stay tuned!
28-30 May, 2014
Canadian University Music Society Annual Meeting Paper and Performance
Honoured to be presenting my Rihm string quartet analysis at this year’s annual National CUMS Meeting at Brock University, St. Catherines, Ontario, as well as having a performance of Valence III on the Composers Concert. A wonderful way to end the season!
Honorable Mention for String Quartet #1 My thanks to the Third Millennium Ensemble for the Honorable Mention given to my String Quartet #1 in this year's Composers Competition. It's an honour to be on this list, among seven other career and upcoming composers from around the country.
Nor Gates of Steel ... for solo piano Released on
Navona Records' New Recording
Very excited to have my
piano piece Nor gates of steel so strong, but Time decays? released by
Navona on the Parma Festival Live2013 album,
a compilation of selected works from the 2013 SCI/Parma Fesival in beautiful Portsmouth,
Individual Artist Award in Composition from the
I am honoured to be among a select list of brilliant composers who received an Individual Artist Award for Classical Composition from the MSAC. I am thrilled to begin planning the project that is made possible by this grant. Stay tuned for details on the event this Fall.
28-30 March, 2014
West Coast Conference for Music Theory and Analysis Paper Presentation
Heading to University of Utah, Salt Lake City, to present my paper on Rihm’s ninth string quartet at this year’s WCCMTA annual conference. Very much looking forward to Christoph Neidhöfer’s keynote address on post-war Italian Serialism.
21-22 March, 2014
Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic Paper Presentation
Looking forward to presenting my newest paper on Rihm’s ninth string quartet at this year’s MTSMA conference at Shenandoah University, VA.
14 February, 2014
Valence IV performed at U Tennessee, Knoxville
Many thanks to Dr. Andy Bliss and the UTK Contemporary Music Ensemble for their wonderful performance of Valence IV at this year’s Joint Mid-Atlantic/Southern College Music Society Conference. Great young players!
more news ...
CHAMBER CONCERTO #3: Time Fields
for 15 instruments
 Honourable Mention in Free Style
Competition 2010, London, England
more info ...
WINGS AND ENGINES
for solo violin & orchestra
(excerpt from 2nd mvt.)
 Selected for the 2007 CMC Ontario
Region Professional Readings Series
more info ...
STRING QUARTET #1:
(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 ...
for chamber ensemble
 Selected for inclusion in
New Music Miami 2011 ISCM Festival
 Written for the
St. Magnus Composers' Course 2009,
more info ...
for clarinet, violin, cello & piano
 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 ...
for solo piano
 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 ...
You can access more of my music
on the COMPOSITIONS page
... AND WONDROUS STRANGE SNOW
 Commissioned by SONAR New Music
"... a gorgeous gust of gentle intensity ... Strings shudder behind [the] solo violin line like a sharp gust of
"... an intriguing tone poem ... a nod to the Winter concerto