Samuel Baron Prize
Revered as a teacher, chamber musician, and soloist, Samuel Baron was a founding member of the Stony Brook University Music Department, chair of the woodwind department at Juilliard, a founding member of the New York Woodwind Quintet, and the flute soloist and music director of the Bach Aria Group. He also taught briefly at Yale and Mannes. His students occupy spots in professional ensembles around the world.
Samuel was born in Brooklyn on April 27, 1925, beginning his studies as a violinist but switching to flute during high school. He graduated high school at the age of 14, subsequently studying at the Henry Street Settlement and Brooklyn College. In 1947, he attended the Juilliard School, studying with Gorges Barrer and Arthur Lora. He pursued post-graduate work in conducting with Edgar Schenkman and founded the New York Brass Ensemble in 1948.
Samuel founded the New York Woodwind Quintet in 1948. Among the works written for the ensemble – many which have become standard works in woodwind quintet repertoire – were Samuel Barber’s Summer Music, Wallingford Riegger’s Concerto for Piano and Woodwind Quintet, and quintets by William Bergsma, David Diamond, Alvin Etler, Meyer Kupferman, Ezra Laderman, Ralph Shapey, Gunther Schuller, and Alec Wilder. The quintet performed internationally, and five times overseas through the U.S. State Department. Baron is also known for his transcriptions for woodwind quintet, including Bach’s Art of the Fugue, scored for woodwind quintet and string quartet, and also transcriptions of the Brahms String Quartet in A minor, Op. 51, No. 2 and the Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25 for quintet (and piano), as well as works by Mendelssohn, Fauré, and Debussy.
Baron left the quintet in 1969, but returned in 1980.
During the 1950s, Samuel performed with the New York City Opera Orchestra, and also played principal flute with the Minneapolis Symphony for one season, 1952-53. In 1965, he was invited to join the Bach Aria Group; he became its director in 1980 and relocated the organization to the Stony Brook University campus as the Bach Aria Festival and Institute. He taught at Stony Brook beginning in 1966; Yale from 1966-68; Mannes from 1969-72; and Juilliard beginning in 1971.
Samuel recorded prolifically, including the many solo works written for him by American composers, including the albums Samuel Baron plays 20th Century American Music for Solo Flute (1966) and Music for Flute and Tape (1974).
Samuel Baron was a member of the New York Flute Club in various roles for 50 years. He served as President of the National Flute Association in 1977-1978, was honored at several of its conventions, and was a recipient of its 1996 Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1966, he was also honored by Chamber Music America with its National Service Award in recognition of “a lifetime of exceptional contributions to chamber music.”
Samuel passed away at the age of 72.
Mr. Baron made many recordings on LP, many of which are now out of print. The New York Flute Club has released the following 2-CD compilation:
- "Samuel Baron Memorable Performances, 1966-1996"
Articles by Samuel Baron:
- "Higher Performance Standards: The Younger Generation of Flutists," The Instrumentalist (August 1978)
- "Introduction" to The Flute and Flute Playing by Theobald Boehm (New York: Dover Publications, 1964)
- "Practicing as a Way of Life," Flute Talk (November 1984): 18-19
- "A Visit to the Japan Flute Club," The Instrumentalist (June 1964).
Interviews with Samuel Baron:
- "Samuel Baron," in Pilar Estevan, Talking With Flutists. New York: Edu-Tainment, 1978, 21-36
- "Samuel Baron: Observant Teacher," (interview with Kathleen Goll Wilson) Flute Talk (February 1990): 9-13
- "Samuel Baron: Still Learning," (interview with Polly Hansen) Flute Talk (November 1984): 2-6.
- "Flutist Samuel Baron: A Conversation With Bruce Duffie," http://www.bruceduffie.com/baron2.html.
Editions by Samuel Baron:
- J.S. Bach, Sonata in A Major, BWV 1032 (Oxford University Press, 1975)
- Vivaldi, Piccolo Concerto in C Major, F. VI, No. 4 (Franco Colombo Publications, 1962)
Works Dedicated to Samuel Baron:
- Eldin Burton, Sonatina for Flute and Piano (1948)
- Korte, Karl, Remembrances for Flutes (Alto, Soprano, and Piccolo) and Electronics (1971)
- Kupferman, Meyer, Superflute for solo flute with prerecorded piccolo and alto flute (1971)