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Dalton Baker (1879-1970), English baritone, organist and vocal teacher

October 6, 2013

Dalton Baker (1879-1970), English baritone, organist and vocal teacher
(photo: unknown, probably UK, circa 1908)

William Henry Baker (later known as Dalton Baker) was born in Merton, Surrey, on 17 October 1879. He was one of the several children of William Baker, a labourer/bricklayer, and his wife, Charlotte Emma, daughter of William Dalton, a silk printer, who were married at Merton Parish Church on 21 May 1876. Beginning his career as a choirboy, Baker studied at the Royal Academy of Music, where he won a scholarship for singing. Billed as a pupil of Frederick Walker (1835-1913), professor of singing at the RAM, he appears to have made his debut on 11 November 1901 at Bechstein Hall, London, in a concert performance of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel given by pupils of Agnes Larkcom (The Times, London, Tuesday, 5 November 1901, p. 1d). He followed this on 5 February 1902 by his inclusion in a St. James’s Hall Ballad Concert in a programme which included Margaret Cooper, Ben Davis, Kennerly Rumford, Maurice Farkoa and others (The Times, London, Thursday, 30 January 1902, p. 1d).

In addition to many other such appearances, Dalton Baker joined several other former RAM students, including Harold Montague, to form The Scarlet Mr. E’s concert party whose members dressed as 18th Century highwaymen, complete with masks (The Stage, London, Thursday, 4 March 1954, p. 6).

Baker and his wife emigrated to Canada in October 1914, where he worked until his retirement in 1956.

* * * * *

‘DALTON BAKER TO GIVE SONG RECITAL
‘Eminent English Baritone Announces Program of Rare Interest.
‘A fine program of songs and arias by representative British composers has been chosen by Dalton Baker for his recital in the music hall of the Toronto Conservatory of Music on Tuesday evening, the 23rd inst. [February 1915]. Mr. Baker, who has recently joined the vocal faculty of the Toronto conservatory of Music, comes to Canada, with a most enviable reputation as a concert and oratorio singer. Between the years 1903 and 1913 he was principal baritone at the great festivals of Birmingham, Gloucester, Sheffield, Bristol, Hereford, etc., besides singing frequently at Royal Albert Hall, Royal Choral society, Promenade, Chappell Ballad, London, Choral Society, Bach Choir and other concerts. His program fro the 23rd embraces songs and arias by Purcell, Handel, Parry, Elgar, Stanford, Coleridge-Taylor, Sullivan, Mallison, Healey Willan, Frederick Austin and others. Healy Willan, F.R.C.O., will assist at the piano.’
The Toronto Sunday World, Toronto, Sunday, 13 February 1915, p. 10b)

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