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Werner Baer
, 1947

by Max Dupain

gelatin silver photograph (sheet: 37.5 cm x 28.5 cm, image: 37.5 cm x 28.5 cm)

Werner Baer MBE (1914–1992) grew up in Berlin, where he studied piano with Artur Schnabel and worked at the Berlin Stadtsoper. Having fled the Nazis in 1938, he taught in Singapore, where he also broadcast recitals and helped to organise the city’s first orchestral subscription concerts. In Australia, after serving a period of internment at Tatura in northeast Victoria, he taught at the NSW State Conservatorium. From 1951 to 1979 he was NSW music supervisor for the ABC. A dedicated vocal adjudicator and coach, he conducted the Singers of Australia and at the Sydney Jewish Choral Society. Baer composed a number of ‘art songs’ and some music for children, including Under the Coolibah Tree: Songs for Young Australians (1955). For Salute to Australia: Songs for Australians he shared the prize in the 1951 Australian National Song Competition. Since his death, various musical competitions have been named in his honour.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Richard King 2008
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2008.27