Faculty Profile: Alix Baldwin

Any time you hear the strains of beautiful instrumental music at Oakcrest, you have Alix Baldwin to thank.

From teaching music theory classes to leading the Chamber Orchestra to establishing the Oakcrest Harp Circle, the school’s instrumental music director has worked tirelessly to share her love of music with the students here and bring more beauty to the Oakcrest community.
For Alix—a composer and professional flutist and harpist—music has been an essential part of everyday life since a very young age. Her mother always had classical music playing at home, so it seemed only natural that Alix would begin her musical career early on. Inspired by the music she heard at home, Alix started playing the flute when she was only five.
A little more unusual was her choice to take up the harp. At first, when Alix began learning how to play in college, she was merely curious about the instrument. But soon she fell in love with it, studying both classical pedal harp and traditional harp. “The harp is truly the 'Queen of the Instruments'!” she says. “The harp is a magical instrument, and always draws a crowd. The history of the harp is ancient; every castle and noble house had a harpist to commemorate important events with music, and the harp is the national instrument of many countries even today.”
Alix earned a Bachelor’s Degree of Music Composition from George Mason University and was named GMU’s Most Outstanding Musician of 1997. While studying at GMU, she sat as Principal Chair flute and Principal Chair harp in both the Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Band.
After working as both a private lesson instructor and a sectional coach in Fairfax County Public Schools for over twenty years, Alix joined the Oakcrest faculty in 2014.  She teaches Sixth Grade Instrumental, Middle School Chamber Ensemble, Upper School Chamber Orchestra, Music Theory, and AP Music Theory. In her spare time, she also founded and runs the Oakcrest Harp Circle, a club for anyone interested in learning to play the harp. The group has grown to include two different sessions a week—one for beginners and one for more advanced harpers—and has performed at events such as Oakcrest’s Mother/Daughter Alumnae Tea and the Reston Farmer’s Market. Most recently, the Harp Club had the honor of being invited to perform at the National Association of Secondary School Principals Reception at The Willard InterContinental in downtown Washington, DC.
Despite her busy schedule, Alix doesn’t mind all the work, describing her job at Oakcrest as very fulfilling. She explains, “The mission of an Oakcrest education specifically addresses the need for students to have ‘A love for beauty in the world, and a sense of responsibility to sustain and create it,’ which is a beautiful way to approach a music class, and the administration works very hard to support this philosophy and the orchestras.”
Alix’s many accomplishments extend beyond the classroom. She has been a harpist, flutist, composer and arranger for the First Light Ensemble since 2009 and for the Columbia Flute Choir since 1995. She particularly loves writing music for ensembles made up of different members of the flute family, and recently finished several original chamber pieces: “The Peace of Wild Things" for oboe, string quartet, and harp; "Flowers of Autumn" for solo alto flute, 2 C flutes, and cello; and "Owl Prowl" for low flutes ensemble. She is also in the midst of working on a few commissions, including a piece for the Mid-Atlantic Flute Convention Junior Flute Choir (which she is guest conducting), music for the upcoming New Jersey Flute Choir Day (where she will be the guest artist), and a piece for a forthcoming clarinet festival.
Her favorite composers? Samuel Barber and Richard Wagner. And although she says it’s a difficult choice, Alix cites the overture to Wagner’s opera “Tannhäuser" as one of her favorite pieces of music. She adds that the Oakcrest Chamber Orchestra’s piece of choice is Arcangelo Corelli’s Christmas Concerto.
Alix is happy to be doing what she loves and helping others to see not only the beauty but the necessity of music in education. “Humans are so musical we find music in everything: the wind through the trees, the rain on the roof, the crackling of logs in a fireplace,” she says. “To me, this impulse to create music is part of being created in the image and likeness of God…Making music together is a uniquely human activity, and I try to teach all of my students that they are musicians for life, regardless if they go on to study music in college.”
 To hear examples of Alix’s work, visit: https://ummpstore.com/search?q=Molnar-Suhajda.