Renee Baker: Everything Influences Everything

By Nancy Ibarra Medrano

This week, the Exploring Creativity in the Arts class had guest speaker, Renee Baker come in to share her story as a renowned composer creating a platform for women and people of color in the world of fine arts.

Maestro Renee Baker

Renee Baker aspires to keep the atmosphere alive in her work. She strives to enhance the understanding of the viewer through her composition and score creation for silent films. Baker held a private showing of her take on Borderline, a Paul Robeson film that dates back to the 1930’s. An inside look into her creative process revealed the countless hours put into the construction of each piece. There’s nothing that happens that isn’t premeditated. The placement of sounds, for the many instruments that Baker works with at one time, is precise in her writing process. This is so that the pairings between sounds and visuals are cohesive and evoking in emotion. In her opinion, instruments create textures and feelings that electronic configurations cannot. Baker described how she will study a piece for days, weeks, and even months to evaluate her own reactions to the two levels combined. It was evident that her background in traditional practice has rolled over to her interpretive works.

Renee described to the class that the world of composition is wider than one might think. The influences she listed for her music had a range throughout the century. Of course, some were more closely related to the traditional perspective she trained with. The most contemporary aspect of her work could be said to be the writing process. She explained that simple sheet music is only the brim of music construction. She was able to recall her influences in this musical language realm as well – Butch Morris and Walter Thompson to name a couple. The marriage between the traditional and new language ensembles reflect the capturing nature of her work. Through her grit and determination, Renee Baker greatly impacts the social struggles associated with her industry. Her representation serves to educate, enlighten, and encourage others to make their own opportunities.

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