Will Baker is a Chicago-based musician specializing in Bass Trombone, Euphonium and Tenor trombone. A California native, Will moved to Chicago to pursue a Masters Degree in Bass Trombone performance at Northwestern University where he was the Margaret E. Dadian scholar. When he is not having nightmares about winter, he enjoys exploring the city’s live music scene with his wife Caroline. His teachers at NU included Michael Mulcahy, Randall Hawes, Peter Ellefson, and Tim Higgins. Will graduated Cum Laude from UCLA in 2010 with a BA in music performance, studying Euphonium and Bass Trombone with Patrick Sheridan. It was Mr. Sheridan that inspired Will to forge a career in music, and for this Pat will always be one of his favorite people in the world. Will is currently the Bass Trombonist with both The Des Moines Symphony and Orchestra Iowa. In addition to his jobs in Iowa, he has recently become an Associate Artist with the Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass, and performed with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago Brass Ensemble, the Lake Forest Symphony, and a number of other midwestern orchestras. To balance all of the classical music in his life, Will enjoys playing Trombone in the horn section for the rock band Tynan as well as the The Sam Cockrell Band, led by Chicago Blues Hall of Fame singer/bassist Sam Cockrell. Will can be heard on the soon to be released album called Trying to Make a Living Playing my Guitar.
Year Joined Orchestra Iowa
Education & Teachers:
BA in Music, UCLA, 2010
MM in Trombone Performance, Northwestern University, 2012
Patrick Sheridan, Bill Booth, Michael Mulcahy, Randy Hawes, Peter Ellefson and Tim Higgins
Favorite Symphonic Piece:
Richard Strauss – Eine Alpensinphonie It has everything I could ever want from a symphonic piece: soaring melodies, lush harmonies, memorable themes that twist and turn, epic brass moments….I could go on. Also, it reminds me of some wonderful adventures with one of my best friends.
Favorite Memory With Orchestra Iowa:
March 1, 2014. Mahler 2. Performing a bucket-list piece with some of my best friends in the world. It was made extra special because my Grandpa and Grandma came all the way from California for the performance.
How did you start playing your instrument?
The year before I started playing music, I saw my sister rock out on bass guitar in the middle school jazz band. For my 8-year old self, it was just about the coolest thing I had ever seen. After the concert, I asked her what I should play if I wanted to get into jazz band. She said, “Well, there are never enough trombones, so If you played trombone you might get in by default.” I liked her thinking, so the next year I started trombone. Her plan worked out great.
Who are your musical inspirations?
I was lucky to have incredible musicians around me from young age. My Dad and Sister both sing incredibly well. One of my best friends from childhood, Jack Kent, is a moster trumpet player and guitarist. At UCLA, I was incredibly inspred by fellow students Sean Pawling, Nick Depinna, Hitomi Oba, and Greg Hix. My favorite bass trombonists are Jim Markey, Randy Hawes, George Roberts, Charlie Vernon, and Stefan Schulz. Their playing inspires me to get better every day. Aside from Bass Trombonists, I would have to say Patrick Sheridan, Michael Mulcahy, Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, James Brown, Frank Sinatra, and Harry Connick Jr.
If you weren’t a professional musician, what career would you have?
Personal Trainer. Other than music, my biggest interest is health and fitness.
List three things always found in your refrigerator:
Butter, Meat, Vegetables