Tom Baker Named Interim Chair of Music at Cornish College of the Arts

SEATTLE, WA – Tom Baker, DMA, was named the interim chair of the Music Department at Cornish College of the Arts.  According to Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs Moira Scott Payne, music study at Cornish will benefit from Baker’s previous experience as a faculty member at Cornish as well as his lengthy professional resume. 

“I  am delighted to welcome Tom to this position,” said Scott Payne. “The department, and indeed the whole college, will benefit from his contributions. We look forward to a bright future under his capable direction.” 

Dr. Baker begins as interim chair on January 1, 2015.  He has been a faculty member in the department since 2011 teaching composition, music theory, electronic music, and inter-arts at the College. Baker received his doctorate in composition in 1996 (Doctor of Musical Arts) from the University of Washington. He also holds a master’s degree in classical guitar performance from Arizona State University and a bachelor’s degree from Boise State University. Before coming to Cornish, he taught composition and music theory for thirteen years at the University of Washington.

“I  am very excited to step into this position at what is an exceptional time here at Cornish College of the Arts,” Baker said. “I look forward to working through this period of great change in collaboration with the students, my faculty colleagues and our dedicated administration. The future seems open to a multitude of possibilities.”

He  replaces Kent Devereaux, who assumes the presidency of New Hampshire Institute of Art (NHIA) in January.

Baker has been active as a composer, performer, and music producer in the new-music scene since arriving in Seattle in 1994. He is the artistic director of the Seattle Composers’ Salon, co-founder of the Seattle EXperimental Opera (SEXO), and an advisory board member of the Washington Composers’ Forum. His works have been performed throughout the United States and Canada, and in Europe. His two most recent chamber operas, The Gospel of the Red-Hot Stars (2006) and Hunger: The Journey of Tamsen Donner (2008), were both premiered by the Seattle EXperimental Opera and are available on the Present Sounds label. Baker is also active as a performer, specializing in fretless guitar and live electronics. His group, Triptet, released their third album, Figure in the Carpet, on Engine Records in 2012.

More about Cornish College of the Arts

Begun in 1914, Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA, offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Art, Dance, Design, Performance Production and Theater, a Bachelor of Music degree and an Artist Diploma in Early Music. Since its beginning, the College’s founder Nellie Cornish, and the many teaching artists who followed her, believed in education through exposure to all the arts. This approach continues to inform
the College’s curriculum and community involvement today. The College is accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges, and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

The College’s main campus is located at South Lake Union, where it is currently adding a 20-story residence hall that will open in August 2015. The Art, Design, Film+Media Department, the Theater Department, and the Performance Production Department are located there. The Cornish also owns the historic Kerry Hall built in the 1920s, where dancer Martha Graham, composer John Cage, and Northwest painter Mark Tobey all instructed students. This building continues to serve today as the home of the music and dance departments and houses the PONCHO Concert Hall.

At the Seattle Center, Cornish now  operates the Cornish Playhouse, built for the 1962 World’s Fair and originally the home of the Seattle Repertory Theatre and the Intiman Theatre. Today the Cornish Playhouse and the Cornish Playhouse Studio serve as the home for academic programs and student productions as well as serving more than 30 nonprofits annually.

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