Robert Baca is Professor of Trumpet and Director of Jazz Studies at the all undergraduate University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. His performance background includes countless performances in both classical and commercial areas including the Milwaukee Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra and the Phillip Brunelle “Plymouth Music Series Orchestra” as well as a past member of the popular radio ensemble for Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” He has toured with Frank Sinatra, Buddy Rich, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Blood Sweat and Tears and numerous others as well as performing over countless Broadway shows and hundreds of recording sessions in Minneapolis, Indianapolis, and Chicago. He has been employed at the Orpheum and State Theatre in the theatre district of Minneapolis for all concerts and Broadway Shows for the last 29 years. As a soloist, Robert has performed in China, London, Costa Rica and Europe as well as the United States.
Mr. Baca also directs the UW-Eau Claire Jazz Studies program which was recently cited in the New York Times as “one of the most well-regarded jazz studies programs in the country.” Under Mr. Baca’s direction, the UW-Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble I has recorded 21 CD’s, received the Down Beat award for Jazz Ensemble eight times and been nominated for a Grammy twice. Recently, Robert conducted the National High School Honors Jazz Ensemble for the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) at their national convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Other educational highlights include serving as a faculty member of Conn-Selmer Institute, conducting numerous all-state ensembles and presenting at educational conventions. Recently he received the first, “Career Excellence in Teaching Award” presented by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and was runner-up for the “Teacher Of The Year”, UW-System Award. Mr. Baca is a past executive board member of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) as the United States Representative as well as an advisory board member for the Edwin Franko Goldman Band.
Mr. Baca loves to help students of any age reach their whole potential through an apprentice approach. Each week students practice with Mr. Baca from 7:30-9:00 each morning and afternoon when available, receive weekly lessons, trumpet studio class, trumpet choir and brass quintet coaching as well as attending concerts in the Twin Cities. He has been happily married to his wife Jodie for over 30 years and has two children, Alec and Nicole and a dog named Chewy.