David Nathaniel Baker, Jr. (born 1931) is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana and currently holds the position of Distinguished Professor of Music and Chairman of the Jazz Department at the Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana. A virtuosic performer on multiple instruments and top in his field in several disciplines, Mr. Baker has taught and performed throughout the USA, Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, New Zealand and Japan. He is also the conductor and musical & artistic director of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. |
Mr. Baker received both bachelorís and masterís degrees in music education from Indiana University and has studied with a wide range of master teachers, performers and composers including J.J. Johnson, Bobby Brookmeyer, Janos Starker, George Russell, William Russo, Bernard Heiden, and Gunther Schuller, among others. A 1973 Pulitzer Prize nominee, Mr. Baker has been nominated for a Grammy Award (1979), honored three times by Down Beat magazine (as a trombonist, for lifetime achievement, and most recently  as the third inductee to their jazz Education Hall of Fame), and has received the National Association of jazz Educators Hall of Fame Award (1981), Presidentís Award for Distinguished Teaching (1986) from Indiana University, the Arts Midwest jazz Masters Award (1990), and the Governorís Arts Award of the State of Indiana (1991).
Mr. Baker has been commissioned by more than 500 individuals and ensembles, including Josef Gingold, Ruggerio Ricci, Janos Starker, Harvey Phillips, the New York Philharmonic, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Beaux Arts Trio, Fisk jubilee Singers, Louisville Symphony, Ohio Chamber Orchestra, the Audubon String Quartet, and the International Horn Society. His compositions, tallying over 2,000 in number, range from jazz and sonatas to film scores.
A dedicated music educator as well as composer and performer, Mr. Bakerís involvement in music organizations has encompassed membership on the National Council on the Arts; board positions for the American Symphony Orchestra League, Arts Midwest, and the Afro-American Bicentennial Hall of Fame/Museum; and past chairs of the Jazz Advisory Panel to the Kennedy Center and the jazz/Folk/Ethnic Panel of the NEA. He is a past vice president of the International Association of jazz Educators, and is currently president of the National jazz Service Organization and senior consultant for music programs for the Smithsonian Institution. He has more than 65 recordings, 70 books, and 400 articles to his credit.