September 23, 1915|
|Died||August 6, 2003
|Associated acts||Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra|
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 local flautist 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 Artur Rodziński, and in the section led by Maurice Sharp.
He was well known as a teacher and served as a faculty member at the Juilliard School, 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. 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. 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 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 his own label, Oxford Records. 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.
Baker retired from the New York Philharmonic in 1983 in order to devote himself to playing recitals programs and concertos around the United States, Europe and Asia.
The Oxford Recording Company
Baker was also an electronics buff and amateur ham radio operator. He built audio equipment upon which he taped his early solo recordings. The Flute Talk article explained, "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.
- Paula Robison, a well-known soloist and chamber musician who is now on the faculty of the New England Conservatory
- Jeffrey Khaner, currently principal flutist of the Philadelphia Orchestra
- Mimi Stillman, soloist, chamber musician, and Artistic Director of Dolce Suono Ensemble
- John Curran of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Brown University.
- 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 at Carnegie Mellon School of Music
- Jasmine Choi, principal flutist of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra
- Valerie Coleman, flutist, composer, and founder of Imani Winds
- Eugenia Zukerman
- Marina Piccinini, international soloist and chamber musician, faculty of Peabody Institute and Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover
- Hubert Laws, Jazz and Classical virtuoso.
Julius Baker died in 2003, aged 87.
- Julius Baker website
- Allan, Kozinn (8 August 2003). "Julius Baker, Principal Flutist Of Philharmonic, Dies at 87". New York Times. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- Flute Talk, October 2003.
- Larry Huffman. "Chicago Symphony Orchestra Principal Musicians: A Chronological Listing". stokowski.org. Retrieved April 28, 2014.
- The New York Times, August 9, 2003, Page B6.
- The New York Times, November 17, 1964, Page 48.
- The New York Times, May 6, 1983, Page C26.
- 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.