A Celebration of David Baker’s Life in Music

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David N. Baker, Jr. (1931-2016)

David N. Baker, Jr.
(1931-2016)

We mourn the passing of David Nathaniel Baker, Jr who died at his home in Bloomington, Indiana on Saturday, March 26, 2016 at the age of 84. David was an extraordinarily accomplished composer, author, conductor, and teacher; and among the most influential voices in contemporary American music over the past five decades. The Keiser-Southern Music family offers our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. We submit this humble memorial as a tribute to and celebration of his life and music.

Born on December 21, 1931 in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Baker grew up in the rich musical tradition of the black community, in the world of church and gospel music, blues and rhythm & blues, and jazz. He trained as a classical musician and composer at Indiana University, where he later became Distinguished Professor of Music and Chairman of the Jazz Department. Baker also had served as conductor and artistic director of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. A virtuoso performer on multiple instruments and top in his field in several disciplines, Mr. Baker taught and performed throughout the USA, Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Though thoroughly educated in classical music, Baker’s early career began in an era when the professional options for a black man in that field were extremely limited. As for composing, he once said, “there was no reason for me to aspire to write classical music. At that time the handful of black composers who were actually writing classical music were constantly struggling to have their works performed. There were virtually no role models for me to follow, and very limited opportunities to hear the music these composers were creating.” However in 1969, Baker was approached by his friend and colleague, the legendary violinist and pedagogue Josef Gingold, with a request to write a concerto for violin and jazz band. Baker accepted, and following the masterful premiere with the IU Jazz Ensemble, myriad commissions from colleagues and other world-class artists and ensembles would follow thereafter.

David Baker’s style is often described as “thirdstream,” a term commonly used since the late 1950s to describe the synthesis of elements of classical music not only with jazz but also with other folk and popular traditions. At his 2006 acceptance address of Indiana University’s Tracy M. Sonneborn Award, Baker stated, ” It was the philosophical rubric of thirdstream–not only in the narrower view of combining classical music and jazz, but also in the broader interpretation which combined classical music with various ethnic or vernacular musics–that provided me with the means to seek out my own identity as a composer.”

Over the course of his multifaceted career, David received numerous awards, including the National Association of Jazz Educators Hall of Fame Award, the Indiana Historical Society’s Living Legend Award, the James Smithson Medal from the Smithsonian Institution, the American Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and an Emmy Award for his musical score documentary For Gold and Glory. In 2007 he was honored by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts with their Living Jazz Legend Award. As a composer Mr. Baker was commissioned by more than 500 individuals and ensembles, including many world-class performers. He served a number of times on the Pulitzer Prize Music Jury and was Chair of the Jazz Faculty of the Steans Institute for Young Artists at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, IL. His compositions total more than 2,000 in number, including jazz and symphonic works, chamber music, and ballet and film scores.

CATALOG OF WORKS – VIDEO EXCERPTS

Alto Saxophone Concerto: “Lee Konitz” (1989) 21′
Asax Solo: 3.3.3.3: 4.3.3.1: Timp.Perc(2): Str

David Baker’s concerto for alto saxophone and large orchestra is named after legendary jazz saxophonist Lee Konitz, who commissioned the work. Recorded by Czech National Symphony, Paul Freeman, conductor; Thomas Walsh, alto saxophone (Albany Records).

Listen/ watch:
Movement I
Movement II
Movement III

 

Clarinet Sonata (1990) 14′
This transcription of Baker’s Flute Sonata (1989) was performed at UBC Distinguished Artist Series, Canada. Recorded by Jaren Hinckley, clarinet and Vince Humphries, piano.

Listen/ watch:
Blues
Lonliness
Dance

 

Life Cycles for Tenor, Horn and Strings (1988) 20′
Recorded by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Paul Freeman, conductor; William Brown, tenor; Zdenek Tylsar, horn. Can be performed as a standalone cycle of 5 songs, or as a companion piece to Benjamin Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings. Composed for William Brown; texts by Terence Diggory. A reduction for tenor, horn and piano is also available.

Listen/ watch:
Night Song
Surface
Autumn Moral
What It Means When Spring Comes
Saints and Hermits

 

Roots II (1992) 25′
Violin, Cello, Piano
Each of the five movements is a stylized portrait of a musical form from the African-American tradition. Roots II was commissioned and recorded by the Beaux Arts Trio, Philips CD 438-866-2.

Listen/ watch:
Incantation
Dance in Congo Square
Sorrow Song
Boogie Woogie
Jubilee

 

Singers of Songs, Weavers of Dreams for Cello and Percussion (1981) 25′
Commissioned by Janos Starker; recorded and edited by Janos Starker, cello and George Gaber, percussion (Laurel Record LR 117). Each movement of this suite pays tribute to a different jazz icon, including Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Jimmy Yancey, Paul Robeson, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, and Dizzy Gillespie.

Listen/ watch

 

Through this Vale of Tears: In Memoriam: Martin Luther King, Jr.(1986) 22′
Tenor or Soprano Solo: 2 Violin, Viola, Cello, Piano

Commissioned and recorded twice by tenor William Brown, Through This Vale of Tears is a kind of social commentary on the death of Dr. King. As described by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Mr. Baker’s piece set a variety of texts in a cornucopia of styles, including scat, spiritual, and chorale. Miraculously, this diversity cohered, producing a multi-dimensional work filled with grief, humor and hope.”

Listen/ watch:
Thou Dost Lay Me in The Dust of Death
If There Be Sorrow
My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?
Parades to Hell
Deliver My Soul
Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child

Explore David Baker’s catalog of Keiser Classical publications on Hal Leonard’s website.

For additional information on David Baker or his works, write to Keiser Classical.

Press links:
ABC/ Associated Press
New York Times.
Indianapolis Star

David Stock – A Thanksgiving Memorial

David Stock

Composer David Stock (1939-2015)

In this season of Thanksgiving, we honor the life and music of David Stock, who was a leading composer and champion of contemporary music for more than five decades. Stock passed away much too soon from complications arising from a stroke on November 2, 2015 at the age of 76. With his family, friends, and colleagues, we mourn the loss of his formidable voice with sorrow. We offer this humble remembrance, rejoicing that his bright spirit remains among us, embodied in his music.

David Stock (b. June 3, 1939, Pittsburgh) was  Professor Emeritus, Duquesne University, where he conducted the Duquesne Contemporary Ensemble. He was a graduate of the Carnegie Institue (now Carnegie-Mellon University) were he met fellow composer and lifelong colleague Tom McKinley. Stock has been Composer‑in‑Residence of the Pittsburgh Symphony,  the Seattle Symphony and the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony, and is Conductor Laureate of the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble (PNME), which he founded in 1976. His catalog of works containing over 170 titles includes six symphonies, 13 string quartets, a dozen concerti for various instruments, much chamber  solo, and orchestral music, and work for  dance, theater, TV and film. Stock served as panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and as a host of Da Capo, a weekly series on WQED‑FM in Pittsburgh. In 1992 he was honored with the Creative Achievement Award for Outstanding Artist by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

David Stock was well known as a mentor to young composers through his roles at PNME and Duquesne in addition to his work as a composer. Always generous with his time giving support and advice to up and coming talent, he remained humble and charmed all who knew him with an intelligence and self-deprecating sense of humor despite his many accomplishments. “His willingness to commission the works of young composers made an indelible mark on the new music world,” said his former student Reza Vali, who received his first commission from Mr. Stock in 1984.

David Stock remained prolific throughout his career including this year, when he completed his Thirteenth String Quartet; Wind Power for Oboe, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone and Bassoon; Four of a Kind for Saxophone Quartet; and his Second Chamber Concerto for Trumpet, Two Pianos and Two Percussion.

This December, Louisiana State University will premiere his work Double Take for Alto Saxophone, Percussion and Wind Ensemble featuring saxophonist Griffin Campbell and percussionist Brett Dietz, one of Stock’s former students and longtime friends. The concert will be conducted by Damon Talley and will include a memorial given by Mr. Dietz. David Stock had made plans to attend  this important event before his health began to decline.

Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) will be releasing an album consisting of three of Stock’s concerti in January 2016. The recording will feature performances by each respective work’s dedicatee, including Concierto Cubano for Violin and String Orchestra (performed by Andres Cardenes), Percussion Concerto (performed by Lisa Pegher), and Oborama (performed by Alex Klein). The recordings are conducted by BMOP’s Music Director, Gil Rose. Further details to be announced.

David Stock’s considerable body of compositions are infused with influences from the ancient past to the most vital present, including Sephardic and Jewish traditions, modern jazz, minimalism, and the full gamut of tonal palettes found in the music of the last century.

Selected Discography
click to listen

Stock American Classics Little MiracleA Little Miracle (2006)
Berlin Radio Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Gerard Schwarz, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Elizabeth Shammash, Richard Stoltzman, Staphen Burns
Naxos Milken Archive, 8.559422
A Little Miracle, Tekiah, Yerusha, Yizkor

 

Stock American AccentsAmerican Accents (2004)
Seattle Symphony/ Gerard Schwarz
Innova, 586
American Accents
Symphony No. 2
Viola Concerto

 

Schiff Stock Echoes NaxosEchoes (2011)
Seattle Symphony/ Gerard Schwarz
Naxos, 8.559679
Plenty of Horn

 

 

Stock EncoresEncores (2010)
Cuarteto Latinoamericano
Dorian Sono Luminus, DSL-92108
Suenos de Sefarad

 

 

Stock Perc LSUIn Motion: The Percussion Music of David Stock (2011)
LSU Percussion Ensemble/ Brett Dietz, et al
Cat Crisis Records (884501642170)
Breathless, Double Bars, Four Corners, Rosewood Reflections, Shadow Music, Starlight, Strike Swinging, Three Vignettes, U-Turn

 

Stock Mountain RoadsMountain Roads (2001)
Transcontinental Saxophone Quartet
Albany, Troy412
Sax Appeal

 

 

Stock Speaking ExtravagantlySpeaking Extravagantly (2002)
Cuarteto Latinoamericano
Innova 563
Speaking Extravagantly (String Quartet No. 2), String Quartet No. 3, String Quartet No. 4

 

Stock String Quartets 5-6-7String Quartets (2010)
Cuarteto Latinoamericano
Albany, Alb 1188
String Quartets, Nos. 5-7

 

 

Stock Violin Concerto AlbanyViolin Concertos (2009)
Andres Cardenes, Violin; Sinfonia Varsovia/ Ian Hobson
Albany, Troy 1148
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra

 

 

Elizabeth Bloom at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette composed this stirring obituary, showing how beloved Mr. Stock and his music remain in the hearts of so many. David Stock’s works are proudly published by Keiser Classical.

 

Composer Yevhen Stankovych joins Lauren Keiser Music Publishing

Yevhen Stankovych reg

Lauren Keiser Music Publishing is excited to have the prolific composer Yevhen Stankovych join their roster. Yevhen Stankovych is one of the key figures in the contemporary musical culture of Eastern Europe. Since 1966, he has written 6 great symphonies, 10 chamber symphonies, a folk-opera (”When the Fern Blooms”), a chamber opera (”Opera Rustica”), 6 ballets, a large number of oratorical, chamber-vocal and instrumental pieces, as well as the music for 6 dramatic performances and over 100 movies.

The composer was born on September 19, 1942 in the city of Svalyava in the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine. Like his Ukrainian born predecessors, Igor Stravinsky and Sergei Prokofiev, from his very first compositions, Stankovych established himself a composer of great dramatic talent. His refined technique, detailed polyphonic texture and universal lyricism evoke the style of the Baroque Period, while the full-blooded post Romantic orchestration adds warmth and expression to his music. Stankovych’s creative works are extraordinary in their portrayal of emotional freedom, mastery of the subject matter, and in the versatility of form.

Yevhen Stankovych has been awarded many honorary titles and awards, including “Hero of Ukraine”, the highest state award, as well as the highest awarded decoration for artistic activity – The Taras Shevchenko Ukrainian National Prize. In 1985, the organization UNESCO ranked his Third Chamber Symphony among the top ten compositions in the world.

Stankovych’s compositions have been repeatedly performed in concert halls in Canada, the United States, Germany, France, England, the countries of former Yugoslavia, China, the Philippines, and in Eastern European countries. His compositions have been recorded in many countries by companies such as “Melodiya”, “Analekta”, “AAV” and “Naxos”.

Prior to 1991 Yevhen Stankobych’s works were regularly censored or banned by Soviet authorities. The folk opera “When the Fern Blooms” was banned for its use of traditional Ukrainian folk melodies and their interpretation in a contemporary genre. The score, sets and costumes were destroyed by Soviet authorities. Excerpts from the work were first performed by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in 1988. The ballet “Ol’ha” was repeatedly censored and was not performed in its original until after 1991. The ballet “The Agony: Rasputin” (originally titled “Prometheus”) was also severely censored; the work was first performed with its original music and libretto in 1989 in Skopje, Macedonia. The “Rasputin Suite” is now among his most performed orchestral works.

For more information about Mr. Stankovych, you can view his official website. For perusal materials or performance inquiries, write to Lauren Keiser Music Publishing.

Recent Recordings

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2012 RICARDO LORENZ      Street Song      Naxos, 8.572917      more information         El Muro – University of Georgia/ John Lynch   DAVID STOCK         Road Less Travelled         Long Tone Music, 206647         more information         Wind Cave – … Continue reading