Will Baker is currently the Bass Trombonist with The Des Moines Symphony. While living in Chicago he held positions in Orchestra Iowa and the Quad City Symphony, and subbed in many midwestern orchestras including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Alabama Symphony, and the Elgin Symphony. He is a versatile low brass musician with a passion for powerful orchestral classics, dramatic new compositions, and sizzling horn bands.
An active teacher and clinician, Will has presented recitals and masterclasses at universities in Iowa and Missouri. He is a founding member of the Des Moines Low Brass Triumvirate (DMLBT), and is on the faculty of the Fredericksburg Brass Institute in Virginia.
To feed the other side of his soul, Will enjoys playing Trombone in the horn section for the The Sam Cockrell Band, led by Chicago Blues Hall of Fame singer/bassist Sam Cockrell. Will can be heard on the SCB’s 2015 release Trying to Make a Living Playing my Guitar. A California native, Will moved to Chicago where he earned a Masters Degree in Bass Trombone performance at Northwestern University where he studied with Michael Mulcahy, Randall Hawes, Peter Ellefson, and Tim Higgins.
Will graduated Cum Laude from UCLA in 2010 with a BA in music performance, studying Euphonium and Bass Trombone with Patrick Sheridan. It was Mr. Sheridan that inspired Will to forge a career in music, and for this Pat will always be one of his favorite people in the world.
In 2016, while artist in residence with the Southeast Iowa Symphony (SEISO), Will commissioned a new bass trombone concerto by composer Robert Tindle. The resulting piece titled At 60 Miles An Hour can be heard at willbakermusic.com
Member of the Orchestra since
Most memorable experience with the Orchestra
My favorite memory with the symphony was playing Bruckner 4 with JoAnn Falletta. It was my first time every playing a Bruckner symphony, and Maestro Falletta was an incredibly inspiring leader and interpreter of the music.
How I got started playing my instrument
Just before choosing an instrument in the 4th grade, I attended my older sister's middle school jazz band concert. As she was rocking out on the bass guitar, I knew that I had to be in the jazz band one day. After the show, I asked for her advice on which instrument I should play, and she pointed out that there always seemed to be a shortage of good trombone players. I decided that I liked those odds, and chose the trombone. Sure enough, when I got to middle school there was a shortage of trombonists, and I was the lone 6th grader in the jazz band.
My favorite composer is the lovechild of Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, and Richard Wagner. Gustard Mahgnerauss
Favorite solo piece
My favorite solo piece is Robert Tindle's Bass Trombone concerto called At 60 Miles an Hour. I commissioned the piece in March of 2016 and premiered it with the Southeast Iowa Symphony.
Other than classical music _____ is on my iPod
I listen to a wide variety of music, but I always gravitate toward music with horns. Snarky Puppy, Lettuce, Vulfpeck, Fat Freddy's Drop, and Rebelution.