David Nathaniel Baker, Jr. was born December 21, 1931 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is Distinguished Professor of Music and Chairman of the Jazz Department at the Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana. A virtuoso performer on multiple instruments and top in his field in several disciplines, Mr. Baker has taught and performed throughout the USA, Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. He is also the conductor and musical & artistic director of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.
Mr. Baker received both bachelor's and master's degrees in music education from Indiana University and has studied with a wide range of master teachers, performers and composers including J.J. Johnson, Bobby Brookmeyer, Janos Starker, George Russell, William Russo, Bernard Heiden, and Gunther Schuller, among others. A 1973 Pulitzer Prize nominee, Mr. Baker was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1979, and has been honored three times by Down Beat magazine — as a trombonist, for lifetime achievement, and as the third inductee to their Jazz Education Hall of Fame.