Daniel Baker

Photo of Daniel Baker

Department of Music
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD Title: The influence of Anglican Church music on Saxon-American Lutheranism and its musical tradition in the late-19th to early-20th centuries. 
Supervisor: Dr Paul Rodmell
PhD Musicology by Research


  • Master of Music
  • Bachelor of the Arts in History
  • Bachelor in Parish Music


I earned my undergraduate degree in history from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2013. In tandem with my degree, I privately studied the organ and Church music more generally. After becoming a regular organist and choir director at a number of Lutheran parishes in Wisconsin, I went on to obtain a second bachelor’s and official certification as a parish musician through Concordia University Wisconsin in 2018. Meanwhile, in 2016 I co-founded a non-profit organization, Return to Wittenberg, Inc., which is focused on educating students within the Lutheran tradition about classical Church music. I currently serve on the Board of Directors and was appointed Kantor (music director and principal organist) for the organization.

I recently earned a Master of Music from the University of Florida (2020), where I wrote a thesis on Martin Luther’s philosophy of music education under the supervision of Dr. Dale Bazaan and Dr. Matthew Theibault. The Center for Church Music in Chicago subsequently appointed me the 2020 Schalk Scholar for this research. During my time at the University, I started a music programme (theory and choral) and taught all grade levels for Immanuel Lutheran School in Sheboygan, WI.

I am currently a resident organist at Saint John’s Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Oak Creek, WI, which is the oldest founding member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). I reside in Milwaukee, WI, near my fiancé Emily, while pursuing my PhD research at the University of Birmingham by distance.


While the first generations of Saxon Lutheran immigrants to North America maintained their German language and traditions, today nearly all Lutheran Churches in the United States utilize English in their services and music. The historical realities of the Anglicization of American Lutheranism may be well-attested in the literature, but little has been written concerning the ramifications that this process had on altering the musical tradition of the Lutheran Church. This research will explore the influence that Anglican Church music had on Saxon-American Lutheranism and its musical tradition after adopting the English language. Emphasis will be placed on the principal liturgical movements and individuals that shifted the direction of musicianship and liturgical expression within the American Lutheran tradition. The impact of Anglican composers and musical forms on Saxon-American musicians and composers of organ, choral, and service music will be specifically examined. This will provide for the gap in the literature and present an unbiased analysis of the state of music in the contemporary Saxon-American Lutheran tradition.