Julius Baker

Julius Baker

Julius Baker (September 23 1915 – August 8 2003) was one of the foremost American orchestral flute players ["The New York Times", August 8, 2003, Page C11] [http://www.juliusbaker.com/bio.php] .

He was well known as a teacher and served as a faculty member at the Juilliard School [ "The New York Times", August 9, 2003, Page B6] , Curtis Institute of Music, and Carnegie Mellon University. He made many recordings with conductors such as Bruno Walter and Leonard Bernstein, and played second flute with the Cleveland Orchestra from 1937-1941. He went to principal flute with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra from 1941-1943, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1951-1953, and the New York Philharmonic for 18 years, beginning in 1965 [ "The New York Times", November 17, 1964, Page 48] [ "The New York Times", May 6, 1983, Page C26] . During that time he also played in the Columbia Symphony Orchestra. Baker loved chamber music and was one of the founding members of the Bach Aria Group, with whom he played from 1946 to 1964 [ "The New York Times", November 6, 1947, Page 34] [ "The New York Times", January 25, 1948, Page X7] ["The New York Times", February 17, 1949, Page 28] ["The New York Times", November 12, 1949, Page 8] . Baker also performed on several notable film scores, including" The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast" and "Love Sick". He appeared opposite violinist Oscar Shumsky in filming Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, with pianist Glenn Gould on harpsipiano.


"Baker was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and at age nine started flute lessons with his Russian immigrant father. Later he studied with August Caputo and Robert Morris. At the Curtis Institute, he studied with William Kincaid and had classes with Marcel Tabuteau. Upon graduation in 1937, Baker returned to Cleveland to play second flute in the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Arthur Rodzinski, and in the section led by Maurice Sharp." (per "Flute Talk," October 2003).


Among his pupils are Paula Robison, a well-known soloist and chamber musician who is now on the faculty of the New England Conservatory; Jeffrey Khaner, currently principal flute of the Philadelphia Orchestra, John Curran of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra (Also teaches at Brown University), and also for a period principal flute of the Cleveland Orchestra, on the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music; Gary Schocker, a flute soloist and composer; Jeanne Baxtresser, who succeeded him as principal flutist of the New York Philharmonic and recently retired to devote herself to teaching; Anne Diener Zentner (formerly Giles), principal flute of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; Anne Briggs, a noted baroque flutist and busy free-lance musician in New York. Other notables include David Shostac, Elizabeth Mann, Eugenia Zukerman, Joshua Smith, Hubert Laws, Jeffrey Khaner, and Laurel Ann Maurer.

Baker was also an electronics buff and amateur ham-radio operator. He built audio equipment upon which he taped his early solo recordings. "His interest in electronics developed into The Oxford Recording Company, a mail-order business he ran out of his home and which produced five of his flute recordings between 1946 and 1951. Baker gave the first American performance with orchestra of the Ibert Flute Concerto in 1948 with the CBS Symphony, and that concert was later issued on Oxford Records." ("Flute Talk," October 2003). Baker also collaborated with John Serry, Sr. during his tenure at CBS and produced a demonstration recording in 1950 of Mr. Serry's compositions for flute and accordion entitled: "La Culebra" and "Desert Rumba".


Julius Baker died in 2003, aged 87.


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