David Baker, 87, a former classical singer and voice teacher who was part of the Washington music scene for about 20 years until the mid-1960s, died Jan. 17 at a hospital in Pittsfield, Mass., from kidney failure and complications related to prostate cancer.
Mr. Baker, a Washington resident from 1946 to 1964, was known at the time for performing a repertoire of 16th-century European art songs at the Phillips Gallery, the National Gallery of Art and the Showboat Lounge, among other places.
His baritone voice was usually accompanied by a pianist, though on occasion he performed with the acclaimed guitarist Charlie Byrd.
Mr. Baker, whose performances were sometimes broadcast live on WGMS Radio, was also known for collaborations with Washington composers and for organizing musical soirees. His voice students included Alexandria native Cass Eliot of the Mamas and the Papas.
In 1965 he moved to Hartford, Conn., where he taught privately and at the Hart College of Music and the Hartford Conservatory of the Arts. He settled in his native Massachusetts in 1989.
As a young man he worked on merchant marine ships and attended Harvard University before pursuing musical training in Europe. In World War II, Mr. Baker served in the Army Air Corps in the Philippines.
He was a past member of the Arts Club of Washington.
His marriages to Nancy Dodd and Aurelia Torrey Griffith ended in divorces.
Survivors include his wife, Susan Baker of Middlefield, Mass.; two children from his second marriage, Anthony David Baker of Arlington and Jenifer Torrey Baker of Lacey, Wash.; a sister; and two grandchildren.