The Musical Legacy of Robert Baker
YALE CAMERATA, Marguerite Brooks, Conductor
YALE SCHOLA CANTORUM, Simon Carrington, Director
Thomas Murray, organ
Gerre Hancock, organ
Martin Jean, organ
John Weaver, organ
In a varied program that includes works for large choir and chamber choir, works for solo organ, an organ improvisation, an original hymn-setting, and spoken word, the Yale Institute of Sacred Music will honor the memory of its founding director, Robert Baker, on Monday, October 10 at 8 pm in Woolsey Hall. The concert, entitled Rejoice! Celebrating the Musical Legacy of Robert Baker, is free and open to the public. Family members, former students, and alumni will be in attendance.
Robert Baker, who died in January of this year, was a seminal figure in the field of sacred music for much of the twentieth century, as well as the first director of the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale from 1973-1976. Dr. Baker had been director and dean of the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary in New York; when the School was closed in the early 1970s, he, together with music historian Richard French, seminary chaplain Jeffery Rowthorn, and administrator Mina Belle Packer, migrated to Yale University to begin the newly-endowed venture here. The program on October 10 will commemorate his vision – both for the Institute and its students and alumni, and for his students at Union – as well as the rich legacy of performance of sacred music, both as organist and as choral conductor.
On the program are works spanning half a millennium by Derek Jacobi, Thomas Tallis (whose 500th anniversary year is 2005), William Albright, Yale composer Daniel Harrison, Clarence Mader, Myron Roberts, Searle Wright, and Seth Bingham. Many of these composers hold special significance for Dr. Baker and his time; Dr. Baker was himself known as a champion of American music. De Sancto Ioanne Baptista (2004) by the Manhattan-based British composer Tarik O’Regan, in residence at the Institute this year, will also be performed. A new hymn setting has been commissioned from Jeffery Rowthorn. The Yale Schola Cantorum, conducted by Simon Carrington; Yale Camerata, conducted by Marguerite Brooks; University Organist Thomas Murray; Institute director and Professor of Organ Martin D. Jean; Gerre Hancock, former Yale organ faculty in improvisation; and John Weaver, organist and former Baker student, will all perform.