Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians

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Originally published

Theodore Baker

Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians t0gstaticcomimagesqtbnANd9GcSd87cY77IqfCyHpd

Biography, Encyclopedia, Non-fiction

Theodore Baker, Nicolas Slonimsky

Theodore Baker books, Encyclopedia books, Musician books

Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians is a major reference originally compiled by Theodore Baker, PhD, and published in 1900 by G. Schirmer Inc. The ninth edition, the most recent edition, was published in 2001 — one hundred and one years after the first edition.


Edition history

Leading up to the initial publication of Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Baker had compiled and edited three editions of A Dictionary of Musical Terms — published 1895, 1896, and 1897, respectively, by G. Schirmer.

1st edition

The 1st edition, published in 1900, has 647 pages plus an Appendix of 5 pages The first edition includes 300 vignette portraits drawn in ink, from portraits or photographs, by Russian artist Alexander Gribayédoff (possibly a pseudonym for Valerian Gribayédoff).

4th edition

The 4th edition, published in 1940, has 1,234 pages. American and Latin-American musicians were more fully represented in this issue than in any English work of the kind in its day.

The 5th edition of 1958, 8th edition of 1992, and 9th edition of 2001 were major rewrites and expansions.

5th edition

The 5th edition was rewritten by new editor Nicolas Slonimsky, who would remain editor for several decades (through the 8th edition in 1992) and have a considerable influence on the style and content of the dictionary. In preparing the 5th edition, Slonimsky expanded the size of the work (to 1,855 pages), and undertook a thorough review of the existing entries, expending considerable effort verifying and correcting biographical details such as birth and death dates by reference to archival sources.

8th edition

The 8th edition of 1992 revised 1,300 entries and added 1,100 new ones, coming to 2,115 pages, with an emphasis on expanding coverage of female and Asian musicians, multimedia composers, performance artists, and ethnomusicologists. The 7th and 8th editions were pre-titled The Concise Edition.

9th edition

The 9th edition of 2001, billed the "Centennial Edition", was the first not to be a single-volume work, taking up six volumes, partly due to expanded coverage and partly due to somewhat more generous formatting to improve readability. The 9th edition included a focus on increasing coverage of popular and jazz music.

History of its publishers

G. Schirmer Inc., publisher of Baker's since the first edition, was sold to Macmillan Inc. in 1969.

Macmillan sold G. Schirmer, except for its reference holdings, to Music Sales Corporation of London in 1986. The Schirmer Reference is currently owned by Gale, a division of Cengage Learning.


Edited by Theodore Baker (1851–1934)

  • First edition (1900); OCLC 883343, 62173978
  • Second edition (1905); OCLC 28877528
  • Edited by Theodore Baker and Alfred Remy

  • Third edition (1919); OCLC 752566
  • Edited by Nicolas Slonimsky (1894–1995)

  • Fourth edition (revised & enlarged) (1940); OCLC 557935018, 780647631, 926808623
  • Fifth edition (1958); OCLC 598288, 756726565
  • Sixth edition (1978); OCLC 4426869, 723489824
  • Seventh edition (1984); OCLC 894666159, 52719848, ISBN 0-02-872411-9, ISBN 9780028724119
  • Eighth edition (1992); OCLC 24246972, ISBN 0-02-872415-1, ISBN 9780028724157
  • Edited by Laura Diane Kuhn, PhD (born 1953)

  • Ninth edition (2001); OCLC 44972043, ISBN 0-02-865525-7, ISBN 9780028655253
  • Vol. 1: Aalt–Cone; OCLC 313884911 Vol. 2: Conf–Gysi; OCLC 313884977 Vol. 3: Haar–Levi; OCLC 313884997 Vol. 4: Levy–Pisa; OCLC 313885028 Vol. 5: Pisc–Stra; OCLC 313885106 Vol. 6: Stre–Zyli; Indexes (genre, nationality, women); OCLC 313885131

    Other editions

  • The Portable Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (1988); OCLC 32968695
  • Other works of similar nature

    Earlier works
    1844: Complete Encyclopedia of Music, Elementary, Technical, Historical, Biographical, Vocal, and Instrumental, by John Weeks Moore, Boston; OCLC 4659526 1879: A Dictionary of Music and Musicians, George Grove (ed.), London; OCLC 313377471, 717493999
    Later, contemporaneous American works
    1939: International Cyclopedia of Music and Musicians, Oscar Lee Thompson (1887–1945) (ed.), Dodd, Mead and Company, New York; OCLC 518786


    Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians Wikipedia