Professor, Soprano

The Baker Voice Studio is a place where we cultivate an environment of support, encouragement, generosity, and kindness for our fellow musicians. We also work consistently, diligently and intelligently to allow our artistic selves to emerge and flourish.

Bio:

Dr. Sonya Gabrielle Baker, soprano, made her Carnegie Hall debut with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, singing music of Aaron Copland. Noted for her performances of American music, Baker has been heard in concert both nationally and internationally, including performances in Havana, Cuba with the Yale Alumni Chorus and at the World Equestrian Games opening ceremonies with the American Spiritual Ensemble. Baker has toured regularly as a soloist with the American Spiritual Ensemble, a professional ensemble whose mission is to keep the American Spiritual alive. She appears on their recording entitled The Spirituals and in the PBS documentary by the same name. Baker’s debut solo recording, SHE SAYS, featuring art songs of American Women composers, was released in 2004, a year after she appeared as soloist on the Yale Alumni Chorus tour to Moscow singing at the Kremlin. Baker’s scholarly agenda is focused on crossing boundaries and disciplines, perhaps best exemplified by her solo recording and her lecture recital on Marian Anderson’s 1939 Easter Concert. Baker has presented this lecture recital nationwide and is currently working on a second recording in tribute to Marian Anderson featuring Lieder and spiritual arrangements. Highlights of Baker’s operatic roles include Elisabetta in Verdi’s Don Carlo, Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Monisha in Joplin’s Treemonisha, and the title role in the U.S. premiere of Mascagni’s Pinotta.

A former fellow with the American Council on Education, Baker has held leadership positions in higher education, serving as Associate Dean at JMU and Murray State University, and with various professional organizations: as board member for the Kentucky Arts Council, Kentucky Governor for the National Association of Teachers of Singing and currently a board member for the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) and the Yale Alumni Chorus. A graduate of Leadership Kentucky, LEAD Virginia and the Society for College and University Planning Institute, Baker is fully committed to advocating for diverse communities and environments that embrace multiple peoples and perspectives. To this end, she has served on multiple university committees and has been a mentor both formally and informally throughout her career. Baker holds degrees from Yale, Indiana and Florida State Universities.

Voice Professors and Instructors

rierson-2019

Don Rierson
Associate Professor, Director of Opera and Music Theatre
riersodg@jmu.edu
Contact Information

Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy

Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy
Associate Professor, Director of Choral Activities, Coordinator of Voice Area
vanderjx@jmu.edu
Contact Information

Bryce Hayes

W. Bryce Hayes
Associate Professor, Associate Director of Choral Activities
hayeswb@jmu.edu
Contact Information

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