Born: September 23, 1904 - Zürich, Switzerland
Died: September 30, 1993 - Dietlikon, Canton of Zürich, Switzerland
Alfred Baum was a Swiss composer, pianist, and organist. He was born in Zürich, the son of an orchestral musician in the Tonhalle, and studied there at the Conservatory of Music: organ with Ernst Isler (1879-1944), piano with Walter Frey (1898-1985) and composition with Volkmar Andreae (1879-1962). Further organ studies were carried out in Germany with Alfred Sittard (1878-1942), organist at Hamburg's St. Michael's Church.
From 1923 to 1980 Alfred Baum was organist at the Kirche Neumünster in Zürich. From 1929 to 1969 he worked as a lecturer of piano at the Winterthur Conservatory (now the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste ZHdK). From 1946 to 1976 he taught as a lecturer of piano and chamber music at the Zürich Conservatory (now the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste ZHdK). During his many years of pedagogical activity at the conservatories of Zürich and Winterthur, Alfred Baum taught from many musicians, many of whom have established themselves later in the Swiss music scene.
Alfred Baum together with Walter Schulthess (1894-1971), Paul Müller-Zürich (1898-1993), Robert Blum (1900-1994), Adolf Bunner (1901-1992), Huldreich Georg Früh (1903-1945), Ernst Hess (1912-1968), Hugo Pfister (1914-1969), Hermann Haller (1914-2002), Armin Schibler (1920-1986) and Franz Tischhauser (b 1921), belogs to a group of Zürich composers of the 20th Century.
Alfred Baum combines in his works on the one hand diatonic with rich chromatic, on the other hand, he maintains the late-Romantic heritage steeped in tradition. Occasionally he also uses subtle jazz elements. A focus of his work are many organ works, which emerged in the course of his 57 years as organist at the Zürichs Kirche Neumünster.
The instrumental concertos and chamber music works contains surprisingly some unusual instrumental combinations. The Concerto for trumpet, piano, snare drum and string orchestra (composed 1956/1960/1961/1966) could serve as a counterpart to Dmitri Shostakovich's Concerto for piano, trumpet and string Orchestra in C minor, Op. 35 (composed 1933).