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Bard Conservatory of Music

Faculty member Barbara Jöstlein Currie on Michelle Baker's retirement from the MET

This article originally appeared in The Horn Call and is reposted here with permission.
It’s a little-known fact that the best seat at the Metropolitan Opera house isn’t in the front row, or in the glamorous boxes. Rather, it’s the Fourth Horn chair, a position I have played for the past 18 years. From this seat, I hear the warm, rich sounds emanating from Michelle Baker’s bell, mingled with the beautiful phrasing and tones of the Principal and Third horns to my left. To hear Michelle play the opening solo from Das Rheingold so effortlessly and with that warm sound, full of so many colors, is something I wish every horn player could experience. With Michelle’s retirement from the Second Horn chair imminent, I asked to interview her.
That in itself was a challenge - having to persuade her that she should be interviewed, and that the horn community would find her experiences interesting! Michelle is one of the least assuming, most humble people I know, and in addition to her beautiful playing, it is her kind spirit that will be sorely missed.
Philip Farkas once said that “it is better to quit several years too soon than 10 minutes too late.” In Michelle’s case, she is retiring many years too early. My hope is that this interview is enlightening for the readers, and as inspirational to you as she is to us in the MET Orchestra.

Faculty member Barbara Jöstlein Currie on Michelle Baker's retirement from the MET

May 30, 2017 - May 30, 2018

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