Kent Baker Music - Bio

Kent Baker is a classically-trained pianist and accompanist with a degree in Music Education from the Crane School of Music, where he studied piano with Frank Iogha and Ronald Tarr. Growing up, he was fortunate to study with Edward Hausman, a Schirmer and Damrosch prize winner at Juilliard, and Lucia Lawrence, a Catholic organist who taught him attention to detail at an early age. He studied theory, history, and aural skills with Dr. Arthur Unsworth and advanced conducting with Brock McElheran.

While at Crane, Kent served as accompanist of the Collegiate Singers and Crane Chorus, under the direction of his mentor and friend, Brock McElheran. He has accompanied numerous festival ensembles, readings, and master classes under Franz Allers, Don Besig, Robert DeCormier, Zubin Mehta, Mary Yong, Daniel Andai, Midori, Arturo Delmoni, and others. His Crane performances include the worldwide telecast of the Statue of Liberty Centenary opening ceremonies on Governorís Island (Liberty Weekend), the closing concerts at Lincoln Center (which premiered William Schumannís "On Freedomís Ground"), the 1986 New York State School Music Association Winter Conference at Kiamesha Lake, and the 1986 American Choral Directorsí Association National Festival (New York City). He has opened for Maynard Ferguson and Dr. Billy Taylor and has had the privilege to perform with Ruta Lee, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Bob Newhart, Joe Piscopo, Haley Reinhart, and Joan Rivers. His Castleton jazz combo opened for Chick Corea. He has conducted and played in numerous scholastic and community theater productions.

While at Castleton University, Kent taught theory, instrumental and vocal arranging, jazz pedagogy, jazz combos, applied jazz piano, applied studio piano, beginning class piano, rock history,and served as an accompanist-coach. A church organist for 48 years, he serves as the organist and music director for both Our Lady of the Annunciation Roman Catholic Church (Queensbury, NY) and Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church (Lake George, NY). He adjudicated tenors, pianists, and harpists at the New England Musical Festival Association Solo and Ensemble Festival for nearly two decades. He has adjudicated tenors, jazz pianists, and scholarship students for the Vermont Music Educators Association. He is active as a sideman for many jazz combos and as a music director and accompanist for many regional shows. A free-lance accompanist and coach, Kent has had the pleasure to work with many students and professionals. He has particularly enjoyed his relationships with the Weston Playhouse as music director/pianist for the collegiate Young Company for three seasons and class accompanist for the New England Youth Theatre.

Kent has served a panelist for the Vermont Arts Council (NEA) Arts-in-Education grants. He was the music director and pianist for the Marble City Swing Band (Rutland, VT), the founding director and pianist for the EnerJazz Big Band (Brandon, VT), and the music director for the Poultney-Granville Town Band (Poultney, VT). He has served as the staff pianist and applied piano instructor at Green Mountain College (Poultney, VT) and as accompanist for choruses and musicals at Castleton University.

Most recently, Kent spent two years as a cruise ship pianist aboard Cunard's Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth, performing in the Royal Court Theatre Orchestra (backing London's West End entertainers and the ship's company of singers and dancers) and the Queen's Room Orchestra (for ballroom dancing), occasionally filling in as solo pianist and in jazz trios.

At Crane, Kent received a Breaky Scholarship for piano and was awarded a Crane Certificate of Merit for service to the college. As music facilitator for the Rutland Southwest Supervisory Union, he was named as a Distinguished Leader in Vermont Arts Education by the Vermont Alliance for Arts Education. He also holds a masters degree in computer and information sciences from the University of Phoenix.