I create music. I compose it. I play it. I paint it.
“Everyday is a new chance to capture the synchronicities I experience just through my wanderings in everyday life…. The ‘comprovisation’ technique for delivering my ideas seems to be the platform best suited to me for now. It allows me to interact more fully as a creative instrumentalist, composer and conductor.”~ Renée Baker
Renée Baker as a…
As a composer, Ms. Baker has composed over 900 creative compositions for her own groups, as well as the Chicago Sinfonietta Chamber Ensemble, Great Black Music Ensemble /AACM(premiered in Umbria, Italy, 2009) and Suoni Per Il Popolo (Montreal), Shedd Aquarium (Chicago), Adler Planetarium, and the Joffrey Ballet Chamber Series. Ms. Baker has presented over 20 concerts including her compositions for the Chicago State University Student Afternoon recital Series, from 2002-2007. She has premiered over 10 works on the Chicago Sinfonietta Chamber Series 2008-2010.Ms Baker was accepted into the cutting-edge Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute at Columbia University in July 2010.She recently completed music score for a film sponsored by the Chicago Architecture Foundation and also composed scores for the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), a program entitled Brass Epiphany, part of the 45th Anniversary celebration of the AACM.
Renée Baker’s official entrée into the creative music arena came through invitation to join Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Strings. As a proud new member of the venerable AACM, her musical affiliations have include Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Orchestra, David Boykin Expanse, Orbert Davis w/Strings Attached, Doug Carn, Karl Siegfried’s Galaxy String Quartet, Great Black Music Ensemble (AACM), Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, Chicago Jazz Orchestra, and the Mwata Bowden Trio,Tatsu Aoki (Miyumi Project) among others.
As a contractor, Ms. Baker has contracted orchestras for some of the largest names in show business including Michael Feinstein, Martin Short, Smokey Robinson, Herbie Mann, Bobby Vinton, Maggie Brown, Dennis DeYoung, Al Jarreau, Ron Hawking, Kurt Elling, Gladys Knight, Orbert Davis, Aretha Franklin and Rod Steward, to name a few. In the Gospel arena, she has worked with the stars… for Donnie McClurkin, Yolanda Adams, the Winans, Vicki Winans, Sandi Patti, Jennifer Holiday, Oleta Adams, Brian McKnight, Mavis Staples and Cook, Dixon and Young (formerly Three Mo’ Tenors). Currently the orchestra contractor for the Chicago Sinfonietta and Joffrey Ballet Orchestra, Ms. Baker has also provided outstanding orchestral musicians for Ravinia Festival, notably two operas, MAGOGO and USHAKA, with the South Africa Opera Chorus. San Franciso Ballet, Detroit Opera Theatre, Lemniscate, and Amethyst Entertainment are a few of her latest clients.
As former String Coordinator for Orbark Productions, Ms. Baker and her comrades may be heard on commercial recordings, working with trumpeter and jazz sensation Orbert Davis. Ms. Baker has released recordings of narrated folktales and poetry through her spoken word identity, Poemusici. Ms. Baker has also worn the hats of Education Coordinator for the Chicago Sinfonietta, formulating their Youth and the Professional program and managing it for 5 years, and functioned as Program Coordinator for the landmark music education venture, MusicAlive, a program formulated for use in parochial and public school systems for at-risk youth. A Washington, DC native, Ms. Baker studied violin and viola with Dr. Hermann Suehs, Richard Holland, Lillian Fuchs, Peter Slowik, John Graham and Rami Solomonow.
Renée Baker is Principal Violist and Personnel Manager of the internationally renowned Chicago Sinfonietta and has been on staff with the organization for it’s full 21 years . She has held principal positions with many orchestras including the Illinois Chamber Symphony, Fox River Valley Symphony, Key West Symphony and plays regularly with many of the highly acclaimed ensembles in the Chicago land area. Prior to her arrival in Chicago, Ms. Baker was a member of Youngstown Symphony Orchestra (Ohio), Washington Sinfonia (DC), Warren Chamber Orchestra (Ohio), the Millersville Community College Orchestra (Pa) and has participated in many summer stock productions in Staunton, VA. Not one to ignore the international aspects of music making, she has been a participant in many international music festivals including Classical Music Festival (Eisenstadt) Aspen Music Festival, AIMS (Graz), Philomusica di Chicago (Martigues, France). Ms. Baker has played extensively abroad, including China, Japan, Thailand, Africa and multiple countries in Europe.
Ms. Baker has presented solo recitals at numerous venues, including the Chicago Cultural Center, Cantigny, College of DuPage Chamber Series and the Pro Musica Recital Series. Renée Baker made her Ravinia debut as viola soloist in Strauss’ Don Quixote, partnering with John Sharp, cellist of Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Baker is the former Executive/Artistic Director of the Illinois Chamber Symphony, Connoisseur Musica String Ensemble, and Clark Consortium Jazz Ensemble. She has also been a member of the Elizabeth Greenfield Taylor String Quartet, the Mythos Quartet and guest artist with numerous chamber ensembles. Ms. Baker is the founder and Artistic Director of FAQtet, an ensemble that primarily performs classic repertoire of composers of color, and one of the ensembles that performs her original music.