Artistic director of Conway Fine Arts, an organization dedicated to creating opportunity for professional artists and reaching new audiences, violist and conductor Geoffrey Baker performs regularly on independent chamber music series and with many fine ensembles. 2022 performances have included conducting the Monteux Festival Orchestra in Maine, the innovative Heirloom Music Festival at multiple venues in Franklin County in western Massachusetts, a Ukraine benefit concert featuring Shostakovich’s Quartet No. 8 in c minor performed shortly after the invasion at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and leading the Opus Amadeus ensemble in arias from Handel’s Messiah and baroque concerti at Holy Family church in Deerfield. Concerts during the recent pandemic and earlier included an outdoor series of great string quartets by fine musicians of the San Francisco Bay area with ‘Concerts in the Park’ in Piedmont, California, an appearance with the Gabriel Ensemble near Pottsville, Pennsylvania, the ‘Mozart at Monteux’ festival in Maine, and ‘Concerts on the Square’ at the Ethical Society on Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, a series which Geoffrey designed and produced, collaborating with cellist Douglas McNames, a frequent guest of the Philadelphia Orchestra, grand prize winner of the Fischoff competition, and noted period musician.

As a conductor, Geoffrey attended the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestral Musicians in Hancock, Maine in 2022. He worked closely at Monteux with highly-regarded conductors Neal Gittleman, Tiffany Lu, Ludovic Morlot, David Rahbee, and Kensho Watanabe, studying 60 symphonic works over six weeks and leading the Monteux Festival Orchestra in three concerts featuring the Overture to Ruslan and Lyudmila by Glinka, Symphony No. 40 in g minor by Mozart, and Symphony No. 6 in b minor by Tchaikovsky. Closer to his home in western Massachusetts, Geoffrey organized and conducted Opus Amadeus, a new chamber orchestra, in a concert program of concerti by Corelli and Torelli, Divertimento in D by Mozart, and the overture, pifa, and arias from Part I of The Messiah by Handel with soprano and tenor soloists. Prior to 2022, Geoffrey led the Bryn Athyn Orchestra of Pennsylvania in concert, where he was mentored by its music director, Daniel Kujala. While in California, Geoffrey conducted the Dougherty Valley high school chamber orchestra in performances of serenades for strings by Dvorak and Max Bruch and led the group in his own arrangement for strings and percussion of Part I of The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky.

An experienced teacher of viola, violin, and chamber music, Geoffrey encourages students of all ages and levels of ability to realize their musical ambitions, from individual lessons to small groups as well as leading large classes. He directed high school string orchestras in San Ramon, California and Philadelphia, coached classes of elementary school violinists with the ‘Play On, Philly!’ and ‘Tune Up Philly’ programs, worked with summer camps such as ‘Crescendo!’ and ‘Chamber Strings’ in Pennsylvania, and helps adult students achieve their long-term goals in private lessons. As an adjudicator, he served as juror for young artist competitions of note in Allentown, Kennett Square, and Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

As soloist, Geoffrey has collaborated with conductor Daniel Kujala and the Bryn Athyn Orchestra, most recently in Max Bruch’s Double Concerto. He has played with ensembles including the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and the Reading Symphony with artists such as Andrew Constantine, Jonathan Carney, and Igor Yuzefovich. In Europe, Geoffrey shared first stand duties with violists Richard Wolfe and Frank Foerster, principal players of major orchestras, with the Fontainebleau Festival Orchestra in France and the AIMS opera festival in Austria. In the United States, Geoffrey has served as principal violist with the Bay Atlantic, Kennett, Reading, and Riverside symphonies and at festivals including the Pierre Monteux School in Maine and the Round Top Institute in Texas.

Geoffrey earned degrees at the Peabody Conservatory and the Yale School of Music and also attended Northern Illinois University and the Eastman School where he studied with Jesse Levine, Joseph de Pasquale, John Graham, Richard Young, and the Tokyo and Vermeer string quartets. In France, he performed in masterclasses given by violinist Gérard Poulet and violist Tasso Adamopoulos.

Collaborating at Project Artaud in San Francisco, June 2020.

Classically-trained yet with far-ranging musical interests, Geoffrey has played baroque violin and viola with period specialists Robert Mealy and Webb Wiggins, folk music of the British Isles with Jay Ansill, music of the Turkish and Sephardim diaspora with ethnomusicologist Joseph Alpar and David’s Harp, classical Arabic violin with ethnomusicologist-virtuoso Hanna Khoury and the Al-Bustan Ensemble, complete albums of The Beatles in concert at World Café Live in Philadelphia, on tour with shows such as Celtic Thunder and Celtic Woman, and with the celebrated group Earth Wind and Fire. 

In June 2020, in a collaboration with fellow artists in Space 124 at Project Artaud – one of San Francisco’s prominent artist cooperatives – Geoffrey performed Béla Bartók’s ’44 duos for two violas’ with Mikayla Reine, accompanying poet Stephanie Baker-Fought’s composition of her original work ‘The Golem.’ The performances were part of a month-long poetry residency which also featured painter Brad Brown and choreographer Sara Shelton-Mann, among other professional creators.

Over three outdoor and live concerts at the height of the 2020 pandemic, Geoffrey performed classics of the string quartet repertory by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Puccini, and Bartok with esteemed Bay Area musicians Mélanie Clapiès, Rochelle Nguyen, and James Jaffe in Piedmont, California.

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