It was no coincidence for Michael Baker to end up as a career musician. Surrounded by music and the arts from childhood, Sunday family dinners were always followed by impromptu concerts and opera arias.
Both Michael’s parents were musicians. His mother Marcelle Lorieau and his uncles, along with a family friend, set the groundwork for the foundation of the Edmonton Opera Association. Uncle Maurice Lorieau led the formation of the Calgary Opera Association, and became the Association’s founding president.
The list of family in the arts includes opera singers, musicians, graphic designers, painters, and European fashion models. Some are especially well-known, such as Paul Lorieau, anthem singer with the Edmonton Oilers, and Henri Lorieau, composer and Music Director for such stars as Tom Jones and Paul Anka. Another cousin, Pierre Lorieau, is a New York City lawyer and General Director of Opera Français de New York.
In 1975 Michael was offered the Principal Percussion Chair with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. He declined this position in lieu of a simultaneous offer of Principal Timpani of the Mexico State Symphony (1975-77). He then became the Founding Principal Timpani of the Mexico City Philharmonic (1978), Founding Professor of Timpani and Percussion at Escuela Vida y Movimiento, and Founding President of the Mexico City chapter of the International Percussive Arts Society.
Michael has performed around the world with the Mexico City Philharmonic and the A-list of soloists and conductors. His first- and second-generation rosters of students in Mexico City perform now in 14 orchestras internationally, including the Zurich Chamber Orchestra. These students are also competition winners in New York City and founding members of various international ensembles including ScrapArts (Vancouver) and Tambuco (Mexico City). Others teach at five universities, including Northern Illinois University at DeKalb.
Michael is married to soul mate Gabriela Woodrow and still thinks that second trumpeter Curtis Dietz should caddy for him next summer!