By Nathan Durkin

On Monday, our class had a special guest: Renee Baker. A fantastic composer, I had the pleasure of listening to some of her work from the silent film Borderline, having her talk about the different instruments, the different types of composing. From talking to her, I know that I’ve barely scratched the surface of the music world from my time as a trumpet player. The music, however, was not the most amazing part of her visit. The most amazing part of her visit was how awe-inspiring of a person she is. From the moment she opened her mouth I could tell she was fierce. The more she talked the more I could see the fight she’s put up, and the fight she still has. The way she explained her craft was simple enough for everyone to understand, but it also left me with an understanding that her knowledge goes way deeper than I can even comprehend. She’s fought through the system to get her knowledge, to get the respect she deserves, and she has no trouble whatsoever convincing me of her talent and skill. Some day, I strive to be that way in my field of choice. Right now, I just need to get those papers to show the world I know a thing or two. That drive you can see clear as day from the second she starts talking is the drive I strive to have in life. Maybe one of these days I’ll get there. It’s always so inspiring getting to interact with people of such high passion, experience, and skill, and I walked away from today with a sense of awe and respect for what she’s done – along with a newfound vigor to tackle my studies.

A picture of Renee Baker: composer, conductor, and much more.

The No Longer Silence Experience

by Alia Radzi

Renee Conducting

I think it is very interesting to see a whole different kind of art portrayed that I am not familiar with. On many occasions, I take the most notice of visual art, as it is most apparent to appreciate. Only through the last couple of years, have I realized that art, can be expressed through all our senses. Thus, it takes a while for me to adjust, and understand the direction of these “performances”. When Renee Baker spoke in class, it is almost enchanting, as she expressed her work with such eloquence and drive, that when the snippet of her work was shared, you can feel the energy and direction she had. It’s interesting, difficult and seamless at the same time! However, I must admit, despite it all, I don’t think I am ready to start popping popcorn to watch a silent film modified with music as a leisure past time just yet.

Renee Baker: a passionate composer

By: Stephany Valdez

Renee Baker, a composer with a growing number of silent films she has scored.

Renee Baker, a composer. Picture from
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Renee Baker– Artist, Composer, and Visionary

by Janarth Dheenadhayalan

Renee Baker conducting

Today we had the pleasure of listening to Renee Baker discuss her modern take on scoring silent films. I was most interested in how she managed to use grid scoring to allow the musicians to have their own freedom within her music while following the rules she laid forth. I also liked that she asked the musicians to not watch the movie. This way, the musicians would not be able to influence the flow of the music in any way. Overall, I enjoyed the presentation, and I learned quite a bit about silent films and how to score them.

Renee Baker

Darian Moore

Today in class we got to speak to composer and activist Renee Baker. I have never seen a silent film but I liked seeing her unique way of composing music for each piece. She told us there are many different scores for one film so it is captivating to hear how she herself did it and know you can hear each way a composer interprets the scenes of the film. I also loved hearing her views on activism.

Renee Baker: Composer, Activist, and More

Today in class, we had guest speaker Renee Baker talk to us about herself and her amazing work. Baker is the founder and director of the Chicago Modern Orchestra Project, which performs contemporary music and music from up and coming composers, as well as new scores for silent films. She is redefining what it means to be an African American woman in the arts. We had the privilege to watch parts of her latest project, Borderline, starring Paul Robeson. Additionally, she gave us the inside scoop on her unconventional scoring methods. She was full of energy, very engaging, and a pleasure to listen to!

Renee Baker Presentation

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Renee Baker presents to FAA 110 class

By: Aditya Kashyap

Image result for renee baker
Baker conducting

Renee was a guest speaker for the FAA 110 class, discussing her past work, as well as previewing her score work on a silent film Borderline starring Paul Robeson. Using her avant garde style that combines classical orchestral music with jazz and characteristic abstract sound, she is able to create an atmosphere that goes against the grain in terms of conventional identity and film scoring. Baker often relies on non-conventional graphic and grid scores to convey abstract and free form ideas to her musicians.She is renowned and recognized for her artistic interpretations and unique compositions.

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The Rape of Lucretia: An Ancient Tale of Tragic Abuse of Power

Then again, perhaps not so ancient. Written by Nathan Durkin

A power struggle. A lost bet. Jealousy. Desire. Lust. All culminating into the assault of an innocent young woman, leading to her suicide. The story of the fall of the Etruscan kings of Rome centers around young Lucretia, using her as a pawn in a struggle for power. On Thursday, I saw this story, one I was familiar with, performed in opera form at Krannart Center for the Performing Arts.

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