The Swiss composer, Walter Baer, studied at Zürich conservatoire (piano diploma). He studied composition with Paul Muller, and later with Rudolf Kelterborn. Meanwhile his piano studies were under Czeslaw Marek. His studies in musicology were undertaken in various European countries and in the USA.
Walter Baer was a lecturer in music at both Zürich College and Zürich Teacher Training Course. From 1974 to 1993 he was principal for school-music at both the Conservatoire and University of Zürich.
Over the years Walter Baer has created over 80 compositions for various forces, some of them as commissions. His large oeuvre covers all the important genres, including vocal works and chamber music as well as large scale orchestral compositions. About his creative work, Walter Baer has said: "The various compositional techniques and systems only make sense to me if they convey a message the listener can participate in. With suitable titles and references I tried to draw attention to the dimension of poetry and mystery in my music. In this I feel free from stylistic constraints."
Walter Baers music has been played both in Switzerland and abroad. His Meeting won the Ten Swiss Cities first prize for composition and was premiered at Lucerne International Festival in 1976. In 1985 and 1987 he was guest composer at the new music festivals of Bowling Green State University, Ohio (USA). In 1992 he won the European Choral Society Award for his Der Gefrorene Christ. He is a visiting lecturer at music colleges and universities in Germany, Austria, Portugal and Turkey.
Several world premieres of large choral works by Walter Baer were performed at the Ljubliana Philharmonic with the Slovenian Chamber Choir and a series of various works for chamber orchestra in Sofia, Plovdiv and other Bulgarian cities. In November 2005 the double concert Cantus Gemellus for violin and orchestra was performed in the largest Swiss cities with the soloists Deborah Marchetti and Mario Hossen together with the Scala Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Jean-Bernard Pommier. In April 2007 the commissioned piece Ushuaia, Himno por la Paz was performed at the Ushuaia International Music Festival, Argentina, by the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Claude Villaret. The city of Ushuaia paid tribute to the composer.
Walter Baer now lives in Zürich and Paris as a freelance composer.