- Jonas Westover
(b England, c1820s, d Brooklyn, NY, Dec 10, 1888). Composer, conductor, arranger, and violinist, active in the United States. The date and specific location of his birth remain unknown, but Baker’s youth was spent in England. By age seven he showed enough promise on the violin to merit the attention of Princess Augusta, who secured him a place at the Royal Academy of Music in London. There he studied violin under the tutelage of Francois Cramer and Paolo Spagnoletti. Baker also learned piano, composition, and harmony with Thomas Attwood, with whom Baker claimed to have studied many of Mozart’s manuscripts. As a violinist, Baker made his début at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden on 4 June 1832, while his conducting career began in 1840 with a concert at the Queen’s Concert Rooms, London. Shortly afterwards, he performed as concertmaster and violin soloist with the orchestra of Philippe Musard. Baker would reprise these two roles under the direction of Louis Jullien, for whom he also arranged several pieces of music. During this period, Baker had begun to compose, and Jullien himself published some of his earliest works. Though the start date of Baker’s contract with Jullien is not clear, he was still working with the conductor on his tour to the United States in the spring of ...