Gina Baker (Duncan) was born and brought up in Torphichen in West Lothian, Scotland, and began learning the piano at the age of four. From the age of ten, Gina regularly attended the Linlithgow Jazz Club and quickly became involved in giving short solos during the evenings. As a result of this, she then gratefully accepted the regular opportunities to play with the house band, the West End Jazz Band, and was lucky to meet and learn from some of the world’s top early jazz musicians, including pianists Jeff Barnhart, Martin Litton and Keith Nichols. She also participated in the Mardi Gras procession and on floats at the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival on a number of occasions. Having completed all the ABRSM exams for piano, jazz piano and trumpet before she left school, as well as receiving a music scholarship at her secondary school and working as organist at her local church, Gina was certain that music was the obvious career choice.
Gina graduated with a BMus(Hons) Music degree from the University of Edinburgh in 2011, where she studied piano with Peter Evans. The main focus during her studies there was performing, along with all other aspects of accompanying and keyboard playing on harpsichord and organ under direction from Dr John Kitchen. A regular competitor in local competitions and finalist in the 2008 and 2011 prestigious Edinburgh University Tovey competitions, Gina has been known both as a soloist and as a much sought-after accompanist both within the university’s music department and in the wider community. She has performed in a number of major venues in Scotland and abroad, including the Queens Hall, the Usher Hall and Salzburg Cathedral. She has also played in numerous musicals, was harpsichordist in a production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, and was répétiteur for the Edinburgh University Music Society Chorus for two years under the well-known Edinburgh-based conductor Neil Metcalfe. Additionally, Gina was the orchestral pianist for the Meadows Chamber Orchestra on a number of occasions while at university.
Gina completed a Masters in Music Performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama under the guidance of the internationally-renowned concert pianist Richard Ormrod and head of department Richard McMahon. During the course, Gina benefited from masterclasses and private tutoring from some of Britain’s best pianists, including Martin Jones, Roger Owens, Graham Caskie, Steven Osborne, Charles Owen and Paul Roberts. At the RWCMD, Gina was also heavily involved in chamber music and as accompanist and répétiteur, particularly in the vocal department. She recently enjoyed coaching from the country’s leading accompanists and vocal coaches, most notably an extensive Schubert Lieder project with Simon Lepper and Michael Pollock, as well as Angela Livingstone and Eric Roberts. She has also worked with baritone Donald Maxwell, conductor Alice Farnham and violinists Christopher Horner and Yu Yasuraoka. During her time in Cardiff, Gina was delighted to have the opportunity to work regularly with the renowned Welsh singer and teacher Beatrice Unsworth in Cardiff. She also enjoyed being part of Welsh National Youth Opera’s 2013 production of Britten’s ‘Paul Bunyan’ as their student répétiteur.
In 2014, Gina became the Graduate Studio Accompanist for Edinburgh University. This involved accompanying all music students throughout the year for all classes, exams and performances. This included a number of recitals at Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, as part of their Spark festival.
Gina works for NYCoS as accompanist for the Stirling area choir with Anne Murphy and often also plays for workshops, residentials and other events. She also plays for Dunfermline Junior Chorus with Mandy Miller.
Gina has been an official accompanist for the Edinburgh Competition Festival 2014/15 and the European Festival of Brass 2014 in Perth. She also regularly accompanies for numerous music exams and teaches piano privately. Having had organ lessons as a teenager, Gina provides holiday cover at her own church, as well as several other churches in the area. Since 2016, Gina has performed for Music in Hospitals & Care in concerts around the country with Colin Thomas Bryce (tenor), Alexandra Baer (soprano) and Prashanthi Hutton (violin).
Gina is also an experienced trumpeter, having performed in numerous musicals over the years, as well as featuring at the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival with the West End Jazz Band.