1931 - 2016
David Baker was an American jazz composer, conductor, and musician from Indianapolis, as well as a professor of jazz studies at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Baker is best known as an educator and founder of the jazz studies program. From 1991 to 2012, he was conductor and musical and artistic director for the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. He has more than 65 recordings, 70 books, and 400 articles to his credit.
He received the James Smithson Medal from the Smithsonian Institution, an American Jazz Masters Award, a National Association of Jazz Educators Hall of Fame Award, a Sagamore of the Wabash award, and a Governor's Arts Award from the State of Indiana. Baker also held leadership positions in several arts and music associations. The Indiana Historical Society named Baker an Indiana Living Legend in 2001. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts named him a Living Jazz Legend in 2007.