Julius Baker

Julius Baker (September 23, 1915 – August 6, 2003) was one of the foremost American orchestral flute players. During the course of five decades he concertized with several of America's premier orchestral ensembles including the Chicago Symphony and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.[1][2]

Julius Baker
Born(1915-09-23)September 23, 1915
Cleveland, Ohio
DiedAugust 6, 2003(2003-08-06) (aged 87)
Danbury, Connecticut
Occupation(s)Flautist, teacher
Years active1937–2003
Associated actsPittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
External audio
You may hear Julius Baker performing Antonio Vivaldi's Flute-Bassoon Concerto in G Minor with Karl Hoffmann, bassoon and Antonio Janigro conducting Solisti de Zagreb in 1964 Here


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. He attended the Eastman School of Music, where he was pupil of Leonardo De Lorenzo, and the Curtis Institute, where 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.[3][4] He went on to a distinguished and long tenure as principal flute in the New York Philharmonic.


Teaching, performing

Julius Baker was well known as a teacher and served as a faculty member at the Juilliard School,[5] 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.

Baker emerged as principal flautist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under Fritz Reiner from 1941–1943, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Rafael Kubelik from 1951–1953, and subsequently with the New York Philharmonic for 18 years, beginning in 1965 under such legendary conductors as: Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez and Zubin Mehta.[6][7] During that time he also played in the Columbia Symphony Orchestra.[8]

Baker loved chamber music and was one of the founding members of the Bach Aria Group, with whom he played from 1946 to 1964.[9][10][11][12] Baker also performed on several notable film scores, including The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Lovesick. He appeared opposite violinist Oscar Shumsky in filming Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, with pianist Glenn Gould on harpsipiano. Baker also collaborated with Glenn Gould, the violinist Rafael Druian and members of the New York Philharmonic in a recording of Johann Sebastian Bach's Brandenberg Concerto No. 4 in G Major, BWV 1049.[13]

In addition to film, Baker was also featured on network television in such noted programs as: The Dick Cavett Show in 1971 and the Public Broadcasting Service series Great Performances in 1995.[14]

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, both of which were dedicated to Baker.[15][16]

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.[2]

In 1997 and 1999 he was jury member at the International Flute Competition "Leonardo De Lorenzo", held every two years in Viggiano, Italy.[17]

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.

Notable pupils


Julius Baker died in 2003, aged 87.


External audio
You may hear Julius Baker performing Claude Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun with Lisa Emenheiser, piano in 1982 Here
With Coleman Hawkins

See also


  1. Julius Baker website
  2. Allan, Kozinn (8 August 2003). "Julius Baker, Principal Flutist Of Philharmonic, Dies at 87". New York Times. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  3. Flute Talk, October 2003.
  4. Larry Huffman. "Chicago Symphony Orchestra Principal Musicians: A Chronological Listing". stokowski.org. Retrieved April 28, 2014. |section= ignored (help)
  5. The New York Times, August 9, 2003, Page B6.
  6. The New York Times, November 17, 1964, Page 48.
  7. The New York Times, May 6, 1983, Page C26.
  8. Juius Baker, Principal Flutist of Philharmonic, Dies at 87. Alann Kozinn. The New York Times August 8, 2003 p. Arts Section on nytimes.com
  9. The New York Times, November 6, 1947, Page 34.
  10. The New York Times, January 25, 1948, Page X7.
  11. The New York Times, February 17, 1949, Page 28.
  12. The New York Times, November 12, 1949, Page 8.
  13. Glenn Gould At Work: Creative Lying Andrew Kazdin. Dutton, 1989 p. 171 Glenn Gould & Julius Baker & Rafael Druian collaborating with Glenn Gould on books.google.com
  14. Julius Baker on imdb.com
  15. JuliCat: John Serry Sr., La Culebra and Julius Baker - See hand written dedication notes on Page # 3 of the score on library.juilliard.edu
  16. Julicat: John Serry Sr., Desert Rumba and Julius Baker - See hand written dedication notes on Page # 3 of the score on library.juillard.edu
  17. "International Flute Competition "Leonardo De Lorenzo"" (PDF). concorsodelorenzo.it. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
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