Music Player

Film and Concert Music

Raised in Los Angeles, Rio de Janiero, Brazil and Durban, South Africa, Rick has worked as a deckhand on a dredger in Durban and a cabbie in New York. Read more about Rick or explore his work below.

Rick is the 2018 recipient of BMI’s prestigious Classic Contribution Award, in appreciation for creating and leading BMI’s successful “Composing for the Screen” workshop for the past ten years.  Contact Rick for info on the NY-based workshop.

Rick recently composed the music for several immersive installations at the newly-opened Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.  See Rick’s blog series in NewMusicBox chronicling the Mississippi project and Rick’s trajectory as a film and concert composer.

Rick’s chamber and electronic CD, “Into Light,” will be released this spring/summer on Innova Recordings.  The CD will feature his string quartet Chthonic Dances, his Juilliard-commissioned Hall of Mirrors, and his trio Into Light.

Rick is former Chair of the low-residency MFA in Music Composition at Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he remains a core faculty member.

Film & Television

Music for The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum (2017) – Narrated by Oprah Winfrey

Music for The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum (2017) – Narrated by Oprah Winfrey

Narrated by Oprah Winfrey, this theater program recounts the tragedy of Emmett Till’s brutal murder in 1955. Brought to national attention when the graphic photos of his body were published in Jet magazine, Till’s death is seen by many as the spark that helped ignite the civil rights movement.

 

In this evocative program, former SNCC leaders and volunteers recount with solemn pride their experiences during the pivotal summer of 1964. Set inside a recreated country church, it recalls the heady days of mass meetings as well as the dangers these young people faced as they set out to change Mississippi – and the nation. Narrated by Oprah Winfrey

“The Vagina Monologues” (HBO) featuring Eve Ensler

“The Vagina Monologues” (HBO) featuring Eve Ensler

The Vagina Monologues: Opening

The Vagina Monologues: “Hair”

 The Vagina Monologues: Finale

vagina-monologuesAcclaimed writer/performer Eve Ensler is the star of this innovative special that features some of the candid, funny, painful, yearning insights of women talking about their no-longer-so-private part. Based on Ensler’s award-winning stage show of the same name, the special includes all-new interviews and behind-the-scenes commentary added to the original performance material. The end result is a daring and refreshingly liberating experience filled with compassion, humor, intelligence and honesty that will leave you thinking inside the box!

Vocals by Cathy Richardson.

More at IMDB

Sarah Jessica Parker sings “If You Wanna Know How, Call The Cow” from “The Substance of Fire” (Miramax)

Sarah Jessica Parker sings “If You Wanna Know How, Call The Cow” from “The Substance of Fire” (Miramax)

Substance of Fire

“If You Wanna Know How, Call The Cow” from Miramax feature film “The Substance of Fire”, directed by Daniel Sullivan. Sarah Jessica Parker, vocals. Lyrics by screenwriter and co-producer Jon Robin Baitz, based on his Off-Broadway play of the same name. (Speaking vocals by Roger Rees.)

More info at imdb.com/title/tt0117773

“Life Afterlife” (HBO) — Excerpts

“Life Afterlife” (HBO) — Excerpts

Excerpt 1: Opening

Excerpt 2: Ending

A documentary that explores the question: Is there life after death? And if so, can we communicate with the dead? Includes personal stories from everyday people who claim they have made contact with deceased friends and relatives, to self-proclaimed mediums, to philosophers and scientists who have dedicated their lives to these issues.

Directed and produced by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Lisa Jackson. More at jacksonfilms.com.

“Swahili Greeting” from “Until The Violence Stops” (Sundance Film Festival)

“Swahili Greeting” from “Until The Violence Stops” (Sundance Film Festival)

Music by Rick Baitz with Agnes Paraivo.

Until the Violence Stops features playwright and activist Eve Ensler in a powerful film that documents how The Vagina Monologues grew into an international grassroots movement called V-Day to stop violence against women and girls. In 2002, eight hundred cities around the world participated in V-Day by staging benefit performances of The Vagina Monologues. Until the Violence Stops shows women from Harlem to Ukiah, California; from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to the Philippines and Kenya, uniting and courageously revealing their intimate and deeply painful experiences with abuse ranging from rape to female circumcision. Director Abby Epstein takes us on a poignant journey into the hearts of women and includes revealing testimonies from men, who expose social and cultural attitudes that perpetuate the pervasive violence against women. In emotionally charged interviews and performances, everyday women and celebrities like Rosie Perez, Salma Hayek, Tantoo Cardinal, Jane Fonda, and LisaGay Hamilton embrace their bodies, reconcile their past, and bond together to break the silence that surrounds abuse.

More at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0326425/

“Baby Steps” starring Kathy Bates — Opening

“Baby Steps” starring Kathy Bates — Opening

“Baby Steps” stars Kathy Bates as Rose, a homophobic adoption agency director, and chronicles her encounter with Robert, a gay schoolteacher who is looking to adopt a child. Winner Outstanding Narrative Short Film, LA Outfest, and finalist for the Second Annual PlanetOut.com Short Movie Award.

Written, directed and produced by Geoffrey Nauffts.

Music features Todd Reynolds on violin.

(1999, USA) Director: Nauffts, Geoffrey Producer: Burkhart, Jonathan Starring: Kathy Bates ; Geoffrey Nauffts ; Ria Pavia

“Jesus Maria” (2009) — Ending

“Jesus Maria” (2009) — Ending

More info at imdb.com/title/tt1462533

Dorothy Lawson, cello; Tom Chiu, violins; Rick Baitz, piano

“The Education of Shelby Knox” (Sundance Film Festival, PBS)

“The Education of Shelby Knox” (Sundance Film Festival, PBS)

Excerpt 1: “Epilogue”

Excerpt 2: “The Truth About Whisky”

Excerpt 3: “Tolerance”

Shelby Knox The swift rise in federally funded, abstinence-only sex education under the Bush administration is in the headlines today, sparking an intense national debate about our responsibility to teach teens the facts of life. Those supporting an abstinence-only approach say that teaching anything but abstinence just encourages teens to experiment with sex. Opponents say that withholding information about condom use and birth control will only lead to unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

Into the culture wars steps 15-year-old Shelby Knox of Lubbock, Texas. A self-described “good Southern Baptist girl,” Knox herself has pledged abstinence until marriage. When she finds that Lubbock has some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in the state, and her county’s high schools teach abstinence as the only safe sex, she becomes an unlikely advocate for comprehensive sex education, profoundly changing her political and spiritual views along the way. “I think that God wants you to question,” Shelby says, “to do more than just blindly be a follower, because he can’t use blind followers. He can use people like me who realize there’s more in the world that can be done.” Here is a story for our times, where the combustible mix of politics, family and faith aren’t as predictable as the red state/blue state divide would suggest.

Awards:

  • 2005 Sundance Film Festival (Excellence in Cinematography, Documentary Category)
  • 2005 SXSW Film Festival (Audience Award)
  • 2005 Sonoma Valley Film Festival (Jury Prize)
  • 2005 Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (Jury Prize, Best Documentary)
  • 2005 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival (Emerging Pictures Audience Award)
  • Council on Foundations (2005 Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film & Digital Media)
  • 2005 Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival (Audience Award, Best Feature)
  • 2006 The Index on Censorship’s Freedom of Expression Film Award (Nominee)

Produced by PBS and Incite Pictures

More info at www.imdb.com/title/tt0427206 and wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Education_of_Shelby_Knox

“Fresco” (PBS) – Narrated by Susan Sarandon — Opening

“Fresco” (PBS) – Narrated by Susan Sarandon — Opening

Fresco

This PBS documentary takes a look at the ancient art of fresco. Fresco is the classic art of painting on wet plaster. Narrators Susan Sarandon and Richard Kiley take viewers through its history and its modern-day revival.

This video shows how this very old artistic style of painting is being reborn in the modern art world. The work of artist Mark Balma is also highlighted. Balma and a team of artists created a fresco at the University of St. Thomas. The video provides a first-hand look at the creative process, from ancient to modern times. Beth Deki, All Movie Guide. Narrated by Susan Sarandon.

“Who Cares About Kelsey” (2012) Woodstock Film Festival – excerpts

“Who Cares About Kelsey” (2012) Woodstock Film Festival – excerpts

Excerpt 1: “School Trouble”

Excerpt 2: “The Family”

Buy the CD:

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/rickbaitz

https://itunes.apple.com/WhoCaresAboutKelsey

“Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy” (PBS 2008) — Opening

“Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy” (PBS 2008) — Opening

Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy, directed by Academy Award-nominee Alice Elliott, is a look at an unusual, symbiotic relationship between two people some would call profoundly disabled.

Two of the country’s most remarkable advocates for people with disabilities, Diana Braun, who has Down Syndrome, and Kathy Conour, who has cerebral palsy, met three decades ago and vowed to fight to live independent lives. Told in an intimate, verite style, the film is a story of a compelling, creative friendship, as Diana and Kathy model a grand experiment in independent living.

Awards:

  • AAIDD Media Award (2007)
  • Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film & Digital Media
  • TASH Positive Images in Media (2007)
  • Best of Festival Award (Superfest XXVIII)
  • Crystal Heart Award (2007 Heartland Film Festival)
  • NAFDMA Insight Award for Excellence (2007)

Nominations:

  • IDA Short Documentary Award (2007)
  • American Library Association’s Notable Videos for Adults

Film website: dianaandkathy.com

Distributed by New Day Films

“The New Chimpanzees” (Nat Geo) — narrated by Linda Hunt — Finale

“The New Chimpanzees” (Nat Geo) — narrated by Linda Hunt — Finale

New Chimpanzees_ TV Special narrated by Linda Hunt. Winner, Best Commercial Film, Jackson Hole International Film Festival; Christopher Columbus Award; Genesis Award.

National Geographic draws viewers into the looking glass where eyes, much like our own, reflect playfulness, grief, loneliness, rage and above all, intelligence. Scientists continuing the work of legendary chimpanzee advocate Jane Goodall make startling revelations about chimps in the wild.

More info at imdb.com/title/tt0323394

“Fitness Fighters” — Opening

“Fitness Fighters” — Opening

Theme song by Rick Baitz & Ian Ellis James; score by Rick Baitz.

Vocals by Beth Blankenship.

Animated children’s special, written & directed by 7-time Emmy Award-winning writer Ian Ellis James (AKA William Electric Black).  Produced by National Institutes of Health.

“The Irreversible Year” — Excerpts

“The Irreversible Year” — Excerpts

Video: “Waltz”

Audio: “Death in the Water”

“Power & Control: Domestic Violence in America” (2010) – Excerpts

“Power & Control: Domestic Violence in America” (2010) – Excerpts

Excerpt 1: Vigil

Excerpt 2: Prelude

Excerpt 3: Titles

At a time when domestic violence is surging through the US, the film explores the shocking persistence of violence against women, as refracted through the story of Kim, a Duluth, MN mother of three.

Directed and produced by filmmaker Peter Cohn. More at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1549023/.

“Requiem” from “Polio Water”

“Requiem” from “Polio Water”

In the polio epidemic of the 1950s, a parochial school girl finds a miraculous escape from her gothic childhood.

IFC Grand Prize, Princess Grace Award.

Directed by Caroline Kava.

Vocals by Beth Blankenship.

More info at imdb.com/title/tt0320289

Concert Music

“Chthonic Dances” for string quartet (2011; rev. 2016) — excerpt

“Chthonic Dances” for string quartet (2011; rev. 2016) — excerpt

 

Excerpt from upcoming spring/summer 2018 CD release on Innova Recordings.  Joyce Hamman & Mary Rowell, violins; Beth Meyers, viola; Ashley Bathgate, cello.

Originally premiered by ETHEL String Quartet at the opening night concert of the Tribeca New Music Festival, Merkin Hall, NYC, 5/23/11.  Here’s a review from the NY Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/25/arts/music/tribeca-new-music-festival-at-merkin-hall-review.html

“Hall of Mirrors” for Percussion Quartet & Live Electronics (2015) — Excerpt

“Hall of Mirrors” for Percussion Quartet & Live Electronics (2015) — Excerpt

Hall of Mirrors for Percussion Quartet & Live Electronics (2015)

Excerpt from upcoming spring/summer 2018 CD release on Innova Recordings.

Commissioned by The Juilliard School’s Center for Innovation in the Arts

Performed by Brian Shank, Brian Adler (tabla), Christian Lundqvist and Jeremy Smith, with Rick Baitz on laptop

Hall of Mirrors_Rick 1

“Into Light” — Excerpt

“Into Light” — Excerpt

 

Trio for clarinet, viola & piano (1984).  Excerpt from upcoming spring/summer 2018 CD release on Innova Recordings.  Recorded 2017 with Ken Thomson, clarinet; Jessica Meyer, viola; Stephen Gosling, piano.

“River of January” — Excerpts

“River of January” — Excerpts

Excerpt 1:

Excerpt 2:


Quintet for flute, violin, cello, percussion, & synthesizer.  Commissioned by The Juilliard School, 1991.  Grand Prize and Chamber Music Award, Delius Composition Contest.  Selected to represent the US at ISCM World Music Days, Mexico City. 1993.  Other performances: The California Ear Unit,  Jacksonville Symphony, Juilliard Chamber Players, Marc DeGarmo & Dancers.  Termed a “glowing jewel of a new score” by the New York Times.

“Downtown Nightwalk”

“Downtown Nightwalk”


Excerpt from “Shakin’ the Air” for piano, cello & double bass (1985).

“The Riverfisher, Part I” — Excerpt

“The Riverfisher, Part I” — Excerpt

Antiphonal chamber ensemble, soprano and mezzo soprano, synthesizer.  Text by Tory Dent.  Doctoral thesis composition. Performed by The Prism Orchestra, Merkin Concert Hall, NYC, 1991.  Rick Baitz, synthesizer; Robert Black, conductor, Christine Schadeberg and Janice Edwards, vocals.

“Kaleidocycles” — Excerpt

“Kaleidocycles” — Excerpt


KaleidocyclesCommissioned by iEAR Studios, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1985.

CD recording: CDCM Volume II, Centaur Records; Rick Baitz, Synclavier.

Performed at Tanglewood Contemporary Music Festival, 1989; Pure Play Contemporary Music Series (NYC); The Alternative Museum (NYC); Rensselaer Chapel and Cultural Center, Troy, NY.

Two Poems for Flute & Alto Flute Solo — 1st Movement

Two Poems for Flute & Alto Flute Solo — 1st Movement

Meditation After A Painting By Hokusai: Boy & Mt. Fuji

Composed in 1980; revised 1983.  Performed by Rie Schmidt, flutist, 1984.

Theatre & More…

Incidental music to the play “Ten Unknowns”

Incidental music to the play “Ten Unknowns”

“Opening” and “Mayan Mother Spirit”:

From off-Broadway play by Jon Robin Baitz, 2003.

Incidental music to the play “A Fair Country”

Incidental music to the play “A Fair Country”


Fair CountryFrom off-Broadway play by Jon Robin Baitz. 2002.  Thule Dumakude, vocals; Cyro Baptista, percussion; Martin Scherzinger, mbiras.

“Meditation for Inner Peace” — Excerpt

“Meditation for Inner Peace” — Excerpt

MeditationsForSoundHealingFrom CD “Meditations for Sound Healing” (The Relaxation Company, 2006).  Rick Baitz, composer, synthesist and audio producer. With Dr. Mitch Gaynor, Tibetan bowls.