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Baker, Robert Hart (19th March 1954-25th November 2023)

He was an orchestral conductor and oboist born in New York who began to play the oboe when he was nine years old.   He studied at the Manhattan School of Music and Horace Mann School with teachers such as Henry Bloch and Henry Schuman and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, followed later as a pupil of Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein.

He made his conducting debut when he was seventeen and conducted the Bach Society Orchestra at Harvard where he was a cum laude graduate and he received his doctorate in music from the Yale School of Music.

As well as being the founding Musical Director of the Connecticut Phiharmonic Orchestra, he was music director and conductor of the Harrisburg Choral Society, the New York Youth Symphony at Carnegie Hall, and conductor laureate of the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, His more recent positions of music director are held with the Saint Louis Philharmonic Orchestra , where he served from 1982, York Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and the Principal Guest Conductor of the Asheville Lyric Opera Company.

In demand as a guest conductor in the United States and abroad, he led many international orchestras including the Mexican Symphony Orchestra, Canada’s Regina Symphony, the State Orchestra of Bulgaria and the Orquestre do Orte in Portugal.

In the field of education he was a teacher at Southern Illinois University and the State University of New York, a faculty member of the North Carolina School of the Arts, Penn State York, and the Interim Chair and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Carolina. Winning many awards he has received two from ASCAP and an honorary doctorate from York College.

He died in November 2023 when he was 69 years old.

Saint Louis Philharmonic Orchestra recordings
A Christmas Festival (Leroy Anderson)
Sonari records – 7 55724 00272 3 (CD: Christmas with the Philharmonic)
Conductor – Robert Hart Baker

Here he is on the oboe performing the first movement of  “Double Concerto for Oboe and Violin” by Johann Sebastian Bach….