A native of Dallas, George Baker created an early sensation in the organ world by winning the American Guild of Organists National Competition in Organ Playing in 1970 and by his subsequent featured recital for that organization’s national convention two years later. He went on to study organ and improvisation in Paris and to record, and returned to America to teach organ and then to enter medical school. Some thirty years later he has returned to music as a performer, improviser, composer and teacher. His training as an organist was with some of the finest organ teachers of the twentieth century. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree from Southern Methodist University under Robert Anderson, and studied in Paris with Marie-Claire Alain, Pierre Cochereau, Jean Langlais and André Marchal. During his time in France, he earned the Prix de Virtuosité with Mention Maximum from the Schola Cantorum, under Langlais. Returning to the United States, he took his doctorate in music at the University of Michigan and then taught at the Catholic University in Washington D.C. before deciding to become a medical doctor. Although working in medicine, he never ceased performing, composing and recording.
In his early years as a musician, George Baker won first prizes by unanimous jury decisions in several major organ competitions, including the American Guild of Organists (1970), the Grand Prix de Chartres (1974) and the International Improvisation Competition (Lyon, France, 1979, with Pierre Cochereau as president of the jury). His recordings include the complete organ works of J.S. Bach (1979) and of Louis Vierne, a world première recording, released in 1994, a project he shared with Pierre Cochereau. He has been awarded three French Grand Prix du Disque, two of which were for his world première recording of the complete organ works of Darius Milhaud. In 1995 his Vierne recordings won the coveted Grand Prix Special du Jury from the Nouvelle Académie du Disque Français. In 2000, the same recording won a critic’s choice award from American Record Guide. George Baker’s compositions have been performed in both the United States and Europe. In addition, he has served on juries in several prestigious organ competitions. Special areas of interest include the music of Louis Vierne and Maurice Duruflé, improvisation in the French style, and the organ building of Cavaillé-Coll. He is a member of the Comité International de Soutien de l’Association Duruflé, and is serving as translator of the memoirs and writings of Maurice Duruflé. He is in frequent demand for his expertise as a consultant for organ building and renovation projects. Currently he serves as Associate University Organist and director of University Worship Music, Perkins Chapel, Southern Methodist University.