Baird, Julianne, American soprano and teacher; b. Statesville, N.C., Dec. 10, 1952. She studied at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. (B.A. in music history, 1973, M.A. in musicology, 1976), with Harnoncourt at the Salzburg Mozarteum (diploma in performance practice, 1977), and with George Houle at Stanford Univ. (Ph.D., 1991, with the diss. Johann Friedrich Agricola’s Anleitung zur Singkunst (1757): A Translation and Commentary; publ. 1995). She commenced her vocal career as a member of the Waverly Consort and Concert Royal in N.Y., where she made her operatic debut in Gluck’s Orfeo. Following her solo debut with the N.Y. Phil, under Mehta’s direction in 1983, she sang with many orchs. in the U.S. After singing in The Fairy Queen in Toronto in 1989, she appeared in the U.S. premiere of Handel’s Siroe in N.Y. in 1991. She also was a soloist in Bach’s St. John Passion in London and sang in Handel’s Acis and Galatea in Ottawa in the latter year. After singing in Dido and Aeneas in London in 1992, she toured France, Switzerland, and Poland in 1993 and Mexico in 1994. In 1995 she sang in recital at N.Y/s Mer kin Hall. She portrayed Handel’s Galatea at N.Y/s Lincoln Center in 1996. In 1998 she was engaged to sing in that composer’s Apollo and Dafne in Portland, Ore. As a teacher, Baird gave master classes in various locales and served on the faculty of Rutgers Univ. in Camden. Her fine vocal gifts are complemented by her expert knowledge of the early music repertoire in which she has excelled. She is especially admired for her performances of works by Monteverdi, Charpentier, Bach, Handel, Purcell, and Telemann.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire