20 Questions on the 20th featuring Michelle Baker - Houghton Horns

20 Questions on the 20th featuring Michelle Baker

A native Texan, Michelle Baker is recently retired as Second Horn of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Before joining the Met Orchestra in 1990, she was a member of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and a regular substitute with the New York Philharmonic. Her recordings include the Hindemith Sonata for Alto Horn with pianist David Korevaar. She currently serves on faculty at the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, and Montclair State University. She has given master classes at the Texas Music Festival, Boston University, Western Michigan University and University of Delaware and the International Horn Society featured her in its “Ask the Pros” series in 2009. She appears each summer at Music on the Hill in Rhode Island and has taught and coached at the Round Top Summer Music Festival (Texas), Bowdoin International Music Festival (Maine), and the Verbier Festival (Switzerland). Michelle earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston Moores School of Music, where she studied with Julie Landsman, Nancy Goodearl and Jay Andrus. She earned her master’s degree at the Juilliard School under the tutelage of James Chambers.


1. Started playing horn at what age: 12

2. First private teacher? Alison Woodruff

3. Favorite Composer? [Richard] Strauss

4. Favorite piece? Currently “Meditation” from Thaïs

5. Most memorable concert? My last concert played in Carnegie with the Met!

6. Most embarrassing moment on stage? Getting the giggles with Julie Landsman

7. If you could not play the horn, what other instrument would you choose? Cello

8. Favorite excerpt? Fidelio (Ludwig van Beethoven)

9. Least favorite excerpt? Wozzek (Alban Berg)

10. Mountains or Beach? Beach 

11. Cats or Dogs? Dogs

12. F horn or C horn? F horn

13. Treble or Bass clef? Treble 

14. Would you rather play Ravel’s Piano Concerto or Shostakovich 5? Shosty 5 – low horn part

15. Beer or wine? Beer

16. On the leg or off the leg? On

17. Kopprasch or Kling? Kopprasch

18. Would you rather be stranded on a desert island with a saxophone or trumpet player? Trumpet player

19. Favorite movie score? Anything by John Williams

20. “Stars and Stripes” or “Washington Post”? Stars and Stripes

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