Recent performances include a duo for clarinet and viola, premiered at the Darmstadt Summer Courses 2023, and a flute concerto, premiered at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage and The Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C.. Other recent premieres include an orchestral work for the Newark Symphony, Delaware (2018), a 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). New works include a solo for viola, commissioned by Colin Sorgi (violist, Baltimore Symphony), a set of piano pieces to be premiered by the composer in spring 2024, and a new cello concerto, supported by a KODA Composition Working Grant (Denmark). His music is published by Musikverlag Zimmermann (Germany), SCI Journal of Music Scores (USA), and the Canadian Music Centre.
Robert has been a faculty member at numerous universities in Canada and the United States teaching theory and composition courses, first as an Adjunct Lecturer at McGill (2005-2007), Salisbury (2008-2011) and Towson Universities (2011/12), as well as Anne Arundel Community College (2012/13).
From 2013 - 2021 Robert was on the faculty of The Rome School of Music, The Catholic University of America, Washington D.C., first appointed as an Assistant Professor of Theory and Composition and Director/Conductor of the CUA Contemporary Music Ensemble, and became Associate Professor in 2019.
His teaching included courses in harmony, counterpoint, form and analysis from the Renaissance to the present, as well as orchestration and composition at both undergraduate and graduate levels. While at the Rome School, Robert designed several graduate anaylsis courses (including 'Music of the New Viennese,' and 'French Post-tonal Music and Thought'), as well as numerous composition seminar topics involving both technial and aesthetic investigations of music since 1900. Robert was also active inviting ensembles, performers and composers for concerts, lectures and master classes, including Sonar Ensemble, Newprism Ensemble, Daniel Shomper (cellist), and composers David Smooke, Linda Dusman, and Moon Young Ha.
Also active as a theorist, Robert hosted the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic 15th Annual Meeting in 2017, and has been an active researcher on music of the 20th-Century, particularly the music of Wolfgang Rihm, Pierre Boulez, and Henri Dutilleux, as well as issues of temporality and the perception of musical form.
His published writing includes "The Hunt for Form in Wolfgang Rihm's Ninth String Quartet" (Perspectives of New Music, Vol. 54, no. 1, Winter 2016, 197-244), and "The Spaces and Places of Opera" (Circuit musique contemporaines, Vol. 17, no.3 (December 2007): Musique in situ), and he has presented papers at numerous international music and theory conferences in Canada, USA and England including The International Conference on Music Since 1900 (UK), MusCan (Canada), Society of Music Theory (USA), as well as numerous regional theory societies such as MTSMA, WCCMTA, MTSE, and TSMT (USA). Ongoing research includes a study of music temporality in works by Dutilleux and Boulez in relation to connections with contemporary French philosophers, as well as analyses of selected chamber works of Wolfgang Rihm, via gestural and paradigmatic analytical approaches.
Robert has conducted standard repertoire from operatic, orchestral, choral and chamber works including: Purcell's Dido and Aeneas (Salisbury University, USA, 2008); Fauré's Requiem, Schubert's Mass in G, D. 167, Vivaldi's Magnificat, Rv. 610 (Toronto, Canada, 1996-98); Bach's Orchestral Suite no. 3, Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Greensleeves, Corelli's Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, No. 8 "Christmas Concerto" (Brampton, 1997); Charpentier's Messe pour le Samedi de Pâques (Montréal, 2006).
In May 2023, Robert gave his conducting debut in Denmark with the Herning Amatør Symfoniorkester and Ikast-based choir, Den Totale Dekadence; works included Haydn's Symphony 103 and first Cello Concerto, Mozart's Overture to Idomeneo, and Brahms' Hungarian Dance no. 4.
In November 2023, Robert will conduct the Aarhus Amatør Symfoniorkester performing Franck's d minor symphony, Weber's first clarinet concerto and Niels Gades ossian Overture.
Robert has also specialised in 20th- and 21st-Century repertoire over the past twenty years, and 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, Sciarrino, 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 and lessons with Mark Andre, Hans Thomalla, Brian Ferneyhough, Philippe Leroux, Sarah Nemtsov, Francois Rose, and Klas Torstensson.
In 2020, Robert relocated to Aarhus, Denmark and he currently teaches piano at Herning and Ikast-Brande Music Schools, and continues to be active as a composer, theorist, pianist and conductor.
Robert A. Baker (born Toronto, 1970) is a composer, theorist, pianist and conductor.
His compositions have been performed on concert series and at festivals and conferences in North America and Europe, including: the Darmstadt Summer Courses (Germany); 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, New York Mise-en Music Festival (USA).