Dalton Baldwin

Dalton Baldwin

Piano

• Born 1936

Biography

Accompanist Dalton Baldwin made over 100 recordings of song recitals and won numerous prizes for his work with Elly Ameling and Gérard Souzay. He was best known for his playing of the French repertoire and recorded the complete songs of Debussy, Fauré, Poulenc, Ravel, and Roussel with various artists. His recordings of Schubert and Schumann with Ameling and Souzay are highly regarded also. His playing was characterized by subtle changes of tonal color and sensitivity to the needs of the performer. He had wonderful control of dynamics and never allowed the piano to overshadow the singer.

Baldwin was born in Summit, New Jersey, on December 19, 1931. He began his musical training at the Juilliard School of Music and then went to the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he earned his B.Mus. He continued his studies in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and Madeleine Lipatti, and in 1954, he began his long and successful partnership with Gérard Souzay. While maintaining his partnership with Souzay, Baldwin began to perform and record regularly with Elly Ameling in 1970. In the mid-1970s, he began an association with Jessye Norman both on stage and in the recording studio. He accompanied Arleen Augér's first New York recital in 1984 and recorded an award-winning disc of Love Songs with her. Concentrating primarily on the song repertoire, Baldwin was coached by composers Poulenc, Sibelius, Martin, and Barber. He played in many world premieres, notably of Rorem's War Scenes in 1969, with Souzay. Baldwin accompanied many other singers, including Mady Mesplé, Edda Moser, Jennie Tourel, Marilyn Horne, Frederica von Stade, Nicolai Gedda, José van Dam, William Parker, and Steven Kimbrough. Touring with these artists took Baldwin to all of the major music capitals of the world. Baldwin gave lectures on the art of the accompanist and served as artistic director for art song festivals at Westminster Choir College (Princeton, NJ), University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Cleveland Institute of Music, and University of Colorado (Boulder). Before Souzay's death, he and Baldwin gave master classes in Geneva every summer for young professional singers and accompanists from around the world. Baldwin also taught at the Manhattan School of Music and Westminster Choir College in Princeton.

In 1987, he was awarded the Croix de Commandant de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French government. Although best known in partnership with singers, Baldwin also worked with violinist Henryk Szeryng and cellist Pierre Fournier.

Whenever possible, Baldwin returned to the Himalayas and the wildlife preserves of Africa to replenish his need for natural beauty. After one such visit to temples in Myanmar, his plane was forced to land in China in order to rush him to the hospital, where he died a week before his 88th birthday.

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