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COMPOSER SHOWCASE

Michael Conway Baker: Biography

Michael Conway Baker
1937 -
Region: British Columbia

Michael Conway Baker

MICHAEL CONWAY BAKER, O.B.C. was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, in 1937 and has lived in Canada since 1958. Baker holds three degrees: Associate of the London College of Music (1959); Bachelor of Music, University of British Columbia (1966); and Master of Arts, Western Washington University (1971) plus a B.C. Teachers Certificate.

Baker characterizes his serious music – he is currently writing his Opus #162 – as essentially tonal music which reflects traditional elements of the past while utilizing 21st century techniques and approaches. Although tonal, he rarely uses key signatures because of his music’s constantly shifting tonal centres. His music is often of an evocative nature and lends itself to extramusical venues such as dance, skating and film.

Although Baker’s music is essentially traditional, his style is clearly that of a 21st century composer. He states, simply, that he writes, first and foremost, music that convinces him. If his music is appealing and convincing to others – as it seems to be – he is delighted and pleased. But he stresses his philosophy that convincing music can only come from true conviction and he urges young composers to follow their personal muse and not the dictates of others.

Baker’s music is characterized by strong emotional expression of a predominantly lyrical nature which well suits his 200 film/tv/video scores. As well as earning a JUNO for Best Classical Composition (for his Concerto for Piano) Baker has been nominated for eleven film awards and has received six, including three Genies and an ACTRA award (Ben McPeek Award) for Best Score for a TV Series – David Suzuki’s “A Planet for the Taking”. He has had several major “Body of Work” awards and was recently invested with the Order of B.C. and the Queens Golden Jubilee Medal. In November 2006 Baker was inducted into the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame – the first serious music composer so honoured.

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