Marshall P. Baron

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Marshall P. Baron
Marshall P Baron.jpg
Baron in 1967
Born (1934-08-03)3 August 1934
Bulawayo, Rhodesia
Died 3 March 1977(1977-03-03) (aged 42)
Bulawayo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)
Education Skowhegan School of Art
Flowers for Algernon
Flowers for Algernon

Marshall P. Baron (1934–1977) was a Rhodesian painter. In 1967 he was awarded a scholarship to the Skowhegan School of Art in Maine, where he worked for a year before returning home. He exhibited in the United States and South Africa, as well as in Rhodesia, which was renamed Zimbabwe in 1980. His paintings are today in the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.



1934 Born on 3 August in Bulawayo, Rhodesia to Rachel & Ben Baron.
1945 Having shown an unusual interest and delight in music from a very early age, formed a music appreciation club to learn about famous composers and classical music.
1948 Began painting
1949 Matriculated with 5 distinctions at Milton High School, Bulawayo.
1951 Awarded a Beit Scholarship and a Southern Rhodesia Scholarship to study at university.
1951 Won a Rhodes Trustees Literary Prize for an essay about the musician Sibelius.
1951–1956 Studied at Cape Town University, South Africa for B.A. L.L.B. degree. Elected to Students Representative Council and was Chairman of The National Union of South African Students (NUSAS). Principal of Night School at Retreat run by students for deprived Coloured and African people including serving on the executive of the Cape Non-Europeans Night School Association. It was there that his over-riding concern and compassion manifested for the suffering and under privileged of all races, colours and creeds. He was gentle and hated violence and became an ardent and outspoken opponent and critic of racialism, oppression and injustice – characteristics which were to dominate his life. He organised a Musical Appreciation Club at Smuts Residence Hall at the university.
1954 First of many regular exhibitions in Southern Africa.
1957 Graduated and began practising as a lawyer in the legal firm of Ben Baron & Partners in Bulawayo.
1962–1977 Music Critic for the Bulawayo newspaper The Chronicle
1966–1968 Ben Shahn, world renowned American artist, awarded him a scholarship for three consecutive years to the Annual Young Artists Summer School at Skowhegan in Maine, USA.
1968 Founder member of the Rhodesian Society of Artists and subsequent chairman in 1976. Each year also attended the Annual Camp of the National Music Camp Association of which he was a committee member.
1972 Designed and executed original sets for the ballet "Nnogawuse".
1970's Played an active role in the liberal Central African Party and Centre Party
1974 Stood as an independent candidate for the Matobo constituency in the General Election in 1974.
1977 Died suddenly on 3 May in Bulawayo at the age of 42.


UDI Plotters
UDI Plotters


  • 1962-Everyman's Studio, Bulawayo, Rhodesia.
  • 1964-Gallery 101, Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • 1967-Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • 1968-Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • 1973-Lidchi Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa .
  • 1975-South African Association of Arts Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa .
  • 1976-Pretoria Bank Gallery, South Africa.
  • 1978-Marshall Baron Retrospective Exhibition, Bulawayo Art Gallery, Rhodesia.
  • 1978-Tribute to Marshall Baron 1934 – 1977, Gallery Delta, Salisbury, Rhodesia.
  • 1986-Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings by Marshall Baron Bulawayo Art Gallery, Rhodesia.
  • 2008-Marshall Baron 30 Year Retrospective, Gebo Art Space, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Music critiques[edit]

Almost as much as painting, music was a dominant force in Marshall Baron's life. His knowledge and appreciation of classical music were encyclopaedic and profound and his impact on the musical life of the city of Bulawayo was incalculable.

Derek Hudson, Conductor of the Bulawayo Philharmonic Orchestra, wrote on Marshall's death in 1977 that he regarded him "as the most articulate and authoritative voice in Southern Africa when it came to writing crits." And Basil Kaufman, a leader in the community, said: "Marshall's regular critiques in The Chronicle from 1962 – 1977 on concerts and on the performances of visiting musicians of international repute would have graced the pages of leading newspapers in the major cities of the world and were literary masterpieces in their own right".

A quote from John Russell, former art critic at the New York Times brought vividly to my mind the music critiques written by Marshall Baron. "I do not see my role as primarily punitive”, Russell wrote in “Reading Russell". "There are artists whose work I dread to see yet again, dance-dramas that … have set back the American psyche several hundred years, composers whose names drive me from the concert hall, authors whose books I shall never willingly reopen. But it has never seemed to me much of an ambition to go through life snarling and spewing."

Turn Right at Greenwich
Turn Right at Greenwich

Baron, like Russell, was an appreciator who shared his knowledge, his enthusiasms and his love of music. As a result his music critiques were genteel and compassionate and full of encouragement for the musicians as well as packed with insights and information on music.

His style of writing was never trite and mundane. His critiques expressed the emotions and sentiments that music aroused in him, and they were grounded in his deep understanding of compositions and their composers.

Baron became interested in music as a child. He formed a music appreciation club at the age of 11 and later also formed one at university residence. I used to watch him stand on a home-made podium with his baton and conduct with vitality and conviction the masterpieces of great composers. In those youthful years I felt that he yearned to be a conductor.

Marshall's passion for music was indivisible from his artistic creativity and brush. He said of himself: "Music influences me greatly in the flow of colour and rhythm in my paintings". And "I try to intensify people's feelings about a particular subject or situation".

In the following pages we share with you some of Marshall’s music critiques.


External links[edit]