Renowned violinist Israel Baker has died at the age of 92. An acclaimed musician, he is probably best known to most people for having led the orchestra that recorded the soundtrack to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho. As Janet Leigh was murdered in the shower, it was Baker’s violin that was heard on the soundtrack.
Israel Baker was born in Chicago to Russian immigrant parents. He was playing the violin by the age of six, and after serving in the Second World War he moved to California and often played with Hollywood orchestras. He formed a successful duo with pianist Yaltah Menuhin (Yehudi’s sister) and also worked with the likes of Jascha Heifetz and Gregor Piatigorsky.
Away from Hollywood, Baker is remembered for his recordings of some of Stravinsky’s scores, for CBS with Stravinsky himself conducting. He also recorded pieces such as Korngold’s Piano Trio, Schoenberg’s Phantasy (with Glenn Gould) and his Violin Concerto.