Biographical Sketch

ROBERT BAKSA , born in New York City in 1938 of Hungarian Parentage, is one of America's most prolific composers. He grew up in Tucson, Arizona and eventually earned a BA in Composition at the University of Arizona. He returned to live in New York City in the early 60s. He has written more than 500 pieces of music since his first efforts as a teenager. Since his earliest New York reviews critics have noted his melodic gifts, the structural clarity and harmonious nature of his music. His first pieces, short piano pieces written in the early 1950s which he later arranged for wind trio, are in fact still being performed around the world. His numerous choral pieces have been performed in many countries and his art songs have been featured in two recent studies on the subject of American Art Song.
His first opera "Aria da Capo" to the play by Edna St. Vincent Millay, was premiered at the Lake George Opera Festival in 1969. His second operatic work, "Red Carnations," which was commissioned by Lincoln Center for the Metropolitan Opera Studio, has been performed dozens of times as an introduction to opera for young people. The Minikin Opera of Maryland, which toured the piece for two seasons, called the work "a wonderful introduction to opera for all ages." The piece was originally composed for voices and piano but a version for chamber orchestra was premiered by the Orchestra of St. Luke's which created the Children's Free Opera of New York program to feature the work. In the Spring of 2004 the work was the featured opera in the Santa Fe Opera apprentice tours. "Red Carnations" is scheduled as the touring opera in the Spring of 2006 in a program co-sponsored by the Dallas Opera and Southern Methodist University.

For the past three decades chamber music has been a major focus and he has written over 70 works for a wide variety of combinations as well as sonatas for most of the major instruments. One of the earliest of these works, the Flute Sonata #1, written in 1976 but not premiered until the late 1980's was among the winners in the 1994 Newly Published Music Competition sponsored by the National Flute Association. More recently his Accordion Sonata was commissioned by the American Accordion Association. A Sonata for Piano Duo commissioned for the Pleshakov Duo through the New York State Council on the Arts was premiered at the end of 2001. He recently completed a concerto for four clarinets and band which was commissioned by the West Point Military Academy Concert Band in celebration of its bicentennial.

Performers who have been associated with his music include Harpsichordist Elaine Comparone who has commissioned a number of works, Saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera, Cellist Sharon Robinson and Pianist Margo Garrett, The Boehm Wind Quintet, the Virtuosi Wind Quintet, the Bronx Arts Ensemble, the Sylvan Winds and the St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble which began its existence with a full evening of Baksa's music. Members of the West Point Military Academy Concert Band have featured his chamber music on their campus concerts. The summer of 2005 featured a selection of his Emily Dickinson Songs in Amherst, Massachusetts, at a concert sponsored by the Dickinson Homestead. The Larchmont Chamber Music Circle presented a new work performed by Violinist Phillipe Quint and Pianist Ilya Itin which was commissioned in celebration of the organizations 50th year of sponsoring concerts and in honor of its founder, Mrs. Hannah Noether.

The composer makes his home in Columbia County in the Mid Hudson Valley where he serves as New Music Coordinator and Composer in Residence for the Pleshakov Music Center.

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