May 19, 2005
NEW YORK CITY—The American Guild of Organists (AGO) is pleased to announce the creation of a new scholarship for AGO Pipe Organ Encounters—the ROBERT S. BAKER SCHOLARSHIP—established by Dr. Baker’s family, friends, students, and Yale University colleagues. This permanently restricted fund will support scholarship awards to AGO Pipe Organ Encounters participants. Tax-deductible contributions in memory of Robert S. Baker may be sent to the AGO New Organist Fund, 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 1260, New York, N.Y. 10115. They may also be made online at www.agohq.org.
"Robert Baker’s legacy has many aspects, but perhaps best known was his devotion to young students and to teaching. Just ask his students!" declared Martin Jean, current director of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. "I believe he would have been proud that his memory is being kept alive though support of the initiative for the New Organist."
"The AGO is very grateful for the generosity and support of the many individuals whose vision for the future of our profession is manifested by the creation of scholarships for young, aspiring musicians," notes Frederick Swann, president of the AGO. "These individuals have made an investment in the youth of America, whose enhanced knowledge of the organ and appreciation of its role in worship will contribute to a bright future for our profession."
ROBERT S. BAKER (1916–2005) is best remembered for the instrumental role he played in establishing the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University. A student of Clarence Dickinson and a graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York City, he held posts at First Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn Heights; and Temple Emanu-El, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, St. James’ Episcopal Church, and First Presbyterian Church, all in Manhattan. He taught at Interlochen, Oxford, Ann Arbor, Union Seminary, and Yale. He was dean of the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary. As a concert artist under the management of the Lilian Murtagh Concert Management for several decades, he played recitals on virtually every important organ in the U.S., including those at St. John the Divine, West Point, Annapolis, and Grace Cathedral. For more information on Robert Baker, please see The American Organist Magazine: Peter Nikiforuk’s An Interview with Robert Baker (August 1993, p.50), The Last Page (July 2004), and obituary (April 2005, p.50).
PIPE ORGAN ENCOUNTERS introduce young people to the pipe organ through instruction in organ playing, repertoire, history, design, and construction. These regional summer organ music institutes for teen-aged students provide private and group instruction in service playing and solo repertoire, opportunities to learn about the musical heritage of various religious denominations, as well as a chance for young musicians to meet others with similar interests. Basic keyboard proficiency is required, although previous organ study is not necessary. Scholarship assistance is available.
The AGO NEW ORGANIST FUND was established in 1993 to support Guild programs dedicated to developing a new generation of organists. Today, the New Organist Fund shelters both permanently endowed named scholarships and gifts restricted for the support and development of new organists. Permanently endowed scholarships have been created in memory of Seth Bingham, Clarence Dickinson, Philip Hahn, Charles N. Henderson, Alfred E. Lunsford, Ned Siebert, and Martin M. Wick, and in honor of Philip E. Baker and Morgan and Mary Simmons. Additional funds have been designated in honor of Ruth Milliken and in memory of Robert S. Baker and Virgil Fox. These scholarships will be activated once the minimum balance threshold of $10,000 is achieved.
The AMERICAN GUILD OF ORGANISTS is the national professional association serving the organ and choral music fields. Founded in 1896 as both an educational and service organization, it sets and maintains high musical standards and promotes the understanding and appreciation of all aspects of organ and choral music. The mission of the AGO is to enrich lives through organ and choral music. The Guild currently serves approximately 19,000 members in more than 300 local chapters throughout the United States and abroad. The American Organist Magazine, the official journal of the AGO and the Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America, reaches an audience of more than 20,000 readers each month.
This information is submitted by F. Anthony Thurman, Director of Development and Communications at the National Headquarters of the American Guild of Organists and The American Organist Magazine. For further information, please contact Dr. Thurman by TEL (212) 870-2310, FAX (212) 870-2163 or E-MAIL firstname.lastname@example.org.