Wednesday, October 21, 2015

5 Questions with Bernadette Baker

Bernadette Baker (Bachelor of Music 1994) studied Violin Performance at Hartt from 1990 to 1994.  She is currently living in Melbourne VIC Australia.

What have you been up to since you graduated from Hartt?

Well, I’ve moved around a lot! I lived in Boston for a year and a half, then Dallas for 8 years, then back to Racine WI for a year and a half, and then I moved to Melbourne, Australia 10 years ago, which is where I now happily reside. In that time I’ve done a lot of freelance playing and private teaching, as well as working “normal jobs.”

What are you involved with right now?

I’m currently playing in the Melbourne Opera Orchestra, which I started playing in shortly after moving to Melbourne. They have become like my second family, this group of musicians. I thoroughly enjoy making music with them and I am in love with the operatic repertoire. This became a springboard for my other music project, my violin duo, Operatic Strings. In 2008 started making arrangements of my favourite opera arias for two violins as a way of being able to play this amazing music whenever I wanted. My concept then grew to include musical theatre songs, standard classical tunes and some popular music. I asked my friend and colleague Emma to play through the arrangements with me to see if they worked, et voila! We play for weddings, special occasions, and we put on regular concerts for fun and entertainment.

What is one of your most memorable things about your time at Hartt?

I have to say that what I remember the most is having the privilege of learning some of the greatest orchestral masterpieces under the batons of both Arthur Winograd and Sydney Harth. Also witnessing the wonderful musical growth of my friends and fellow students. We were very lucky to have been at Hartt during those years, being molded by some of the finest professors around. I also remember all the fun times with my friends, just mucking around and being a bit crazy. I was blessed to have friends from all the different music departments and I loved them all!

What did you learn during while at Hartt that you did not appreciate or recognize until after time passed and you had some time to reflect?

Always bring a pencil with an eraser to orchestra rehearsal. Hahaha... No, seriously, for orchestral playing I learned to appreciate the art of really listening to each other, breathing together, and blending to create a uniform sound. No man/woman is an island sort of thing. Yeah, I’ll go with that.

What is next for you?

I’m going to continue to work hard to grow my Operatic Strings business, teaching privately - my studio has 15 students at the moment, and play beautiful operas with the Melbourne Opera. On the side I also do administrative work at my friend’s cake shop, and I am taking dancing lessons in everything from salsa to swing.

What is a career highlight for you?

My duo Operatic Strings recently had a CD Launch which featured dancing to our music by my friends from the dance studio. The afternoon concert and dance social was very well attended and everyone commented on how much they enjoyed it. This was a big highlight for me to see the joy in people’s faces as they danced to our music.

How can people get in touch?

I’m on Facebook and Instagram, as well as my violin duo Operatic Strings, or you can contact me via email at

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