J. Bradley Baker
American pianist J. BRADLEY BAKER enjoys a versatile career as a soloist, collaborative artist and coach, educator, and music administrator.
A 2020 National Finalist for the American Prize in Solo Piano, Baker's performances have been heard in concert halls throughout the United States, France, and Canada. He has been recorded by the Navona Records and Centaur Records labels and broadcast on public radio stations throughout the United States and United Kingdom. Baker has recently presented solo recitals for the Atelier Concert Series of the American Church in Paris (FRANCE), Charleston Arts Society (MO), Henderson Civic Club (TX), Sandzén Gallery Concert Series (KS), Steinway Gallery Artist Series (AL). Upcoming solo performances include recitals in Chicago (IL), Budapest (HUNGARY), and Luxembourg (LUXEMBOURG). Always interested in multi-disciplinary work, Baker regularly partners with artists, dancers, and writers to present repertoire in new and exciting ways.
In demand as a collaborative pianist, Baker was a Young Artist Pianist-Coach of The Glimmerglass Festival, serving as pianist/coach for Wagner's Die Feen, Mozart's Don Giovanni, and a contemporary retelling of Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte by Nicolas Lell Benavides entitled Cosi?. In 2021, Baker will return to Opera Naples (FL) to serve as a pianist-coach after successful performances of Scalia / Gisnburg and Trial by Jury in 2020. Baker has also worked with Chicago Summer Opera (Music Director of One Acts and Scenes), Wichita Grand Opera (Head Coach), Natchez Festival of Music (Repetiteur), Opera Birmingham (Pianist), Music On Site (Music Director), Tabor College Opera (Music Director), and University of Alabama Opera Theatre (Asst. Music Director). He has collaborated with many international artists, including opera superstar bass-baritone Samuel Ramey, bass-baritone William Powers, tenor Michael Sylvester, and tenor Issachah Savage. Baker has presented collaborative research at Kansas Music Teachers Association State Conference and the national conference of the National Opera Association. He has been a staff pianist for The Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition, where he performed with 2020 Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition Winner Jonah Hoskins. Baker also was a pianist-coach intern for the 2019 NATS Intern Program, where he was mentored by pianist-coach JJ Penna.
As a chamber musician, Baker founded the Kansas Piano Trio, an ensemble with a mission of performing underrepresented repertoire in rural Midwestern communities. With the Kansas Piano Trio, Baker presented the Kansas premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s exciting Piano Trio. He has worked with cellists Leonid Shukaev and Jeffrey Lastrapes, violist Daniel Sweaney, flutist Nicole Esposito, and French hornist Patrick Hughes, among others. Baker has also presented chamber performances at Hot Springs Music Festival, the North American Viola Institute, the International Double Reed Society Conference, and the Texas Music Teachers Association Conference. Chamber coaches include Elizabeth DeMio, Anita Pontremoli, Virginia Weckstrom, Paul Kantor, Yi-Fang Huang, and Cleveland Quartet founding member Peter Salaff. Baker has performed for collaborative classes of renowned pedagogues and performers Robert Vernon, Jeffrey Irvine, Heidi Castelman, Warren Jones, and Margo Garrett. Since 2016, Baker has been the principal pianist and celesta for Wichita Symphony Orchestra. He has also held similar roles at Hot Springs Music Festival, Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, and Cleveland Institute of Music. He has played under the batons of conductors Daniel Hege, Peter Bay, Teddy Abrams, Adam Flatt, Mark Laycock, Michael Hanawalt, William Waldrop, Domenico Boyagian, Beth Everett, Andy Anderson, Carl Topilow, Jay Dean, Martin Mazak, and Ron Spigelman.
Baker is the Executive Director and Music Director of Music On Site, Inc., an opera company based in central Kansas, which has a mission of increasing the accessibility of opera throughout the region by producing engaging performances at low or no cost for underserved communities. In 2019, Music On Site reached more than 10,000 individuals in eight performances of Amahl and the Night Visitors, Suor Angelica, and Gianni Schicchi. Each season, Music On Site presents performances in rural communities, schools, and areas with limited access to the arts. More information on Music On Site can be found at www.musiconsite.org.
Within academia, Dr. Baker is Assistant Professor of Collaborative Piano at Tarleton State University, in Stephenville, Texas, where he teaches Piano, Class Piano, Aural Skills, and Music Theory. As part of his role, he also serves as the collaborative pianist for the Department. He most recently was Director of Keyboard Studies at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas, where he taught Music Theory, Class Piano, Applied Piano, Collaborative Piano, and served as the collaborative pianist for the Department. He also was Music Director for the Opera Program, coached voice students twice weekly, and collaborated with campus guest artists. While at Tabor College, Dr. Baker founded the Bach Keyboard Festival and Competition, a highly successful annual celebration of Bach’s work and life that included a performance and masterclass by an international guest keyboard artist, scholarly sessions, and competition for pianists and organists. In addition to his work at the College, Dr. Baker directed the Tabor College Preparatory School, which served a large portion of the area community by providing high quality musical training in piano, voice, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. Under his directorship, the Preparatory School experienced an enrollment growth of more than 150%. Baker has also held appointments at The University of Alabama, University of Texas at Tyler, Stillman College, and Judson College.
Highly active in service to the musical community, Dr. Baker currently holds the position of President of Kansas Music Teachers Association. His service to KMTA includes hosting the 2019 State Conference, publishing the KMTA newsletter twice annually for four consecutive years, serving as the Collaborative Music Chair for two years, and presenting sessions at three State Conferences. On the local level, Baker has presented numerous sessions for local chapters and serving as clinician for many statewide piano events. As an adjudicator, he has judged for MTNA Young Artist Competition, Kansas Music Teachers Association State Auditions, Mississippi State Auditions, among many other local and regional festivals and competitions. As a master clinician, Baker has presented classes at Columbus State University, University of Tennessee, University of Kentucky, Emporia State University, Washburn University, University of Arkansas, Northwest Missouri State University, and many more.
Dr. Baker graduated magna cum laude from North Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance and was awarded the Theodore Pressor Scholar award. He went on to earn the prestigious William Kurzban award while completing his Master of Music in piano performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music. In 2014, Baker completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from The University of Alabama. Instructors include Sandra Siler, Robert Groves, Daniel Shapiro, and Noel Engebretson, with additional work with Robert Roux and Paul Schenly.