Geoff Baker

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Geoff Baker is Director of Research at the music charity Agrigento, and emeritus professor at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is a co-investigator on the AHRC-funded project “Music for social impact: practitioners’ contexts, work and beliefs.” led from Guildhall School, where he also contributes to their doctoral programme. He is also a founding board member of SIMM (Social Impact of Making Music) and a member of the scientific committee of the French music education program Démos.

He specialises in music in Latin America, and he is the author of four books: Imposing Harmony: Music and Society in Colonial Cuzco (Duke University Press, 2008), which won the American Musicological Society’s Robert Stevenson Award in 2010 and was published in Spanish translation in 2020; Buena Vista in the Club: Rap, Reggaetón, and Revolution in Havana (Duke University Press, 2011); El Sistema: Orchestrating Venezuela’s Youth (OUP, 2014); and Rethinking Social Action through Music: The Search for Coexistence and Citizenship in Medellín’s Music Schools (Open Book Publishers, 2021), which was published in Spanish translation in 2022.

He has undertaken extensive fieldwork in Cuba, Venezuela, Argentina, and Colombia. Between 2009 and 2011, he was co-investigator on the project “Growing into Music,” funded through the AHRC’s Beyond Text scheme, and made a series of documentaries and short films about young musicians in Cuba and Venezuela. He held a British Academy Research Development Award in 2010-11 and carried out fieldwork on the Venezuelan orchestral training program El Sistema. From 2011-13 he worked on the ERC-funded project “Music, Digitisation, Mediation: Towards Interdisciplinary Music Studies,” studying the digital cumbia and folklore scene in Buenos Aires. He was awarded an AHRC Leadership Fellowship from 2017-19, which included a year of fieldwork on music education in Medellín, Colombia. He now devotes the majority of his time to Agrigento, supporting fresh thinking and practice in music as social action.

For more information on all these projects and a full list of academic publications, please visit