Death of a distinguished US composer, 96

Death of a distinguished US composer, 96


norman lebrecht

August 25, 2018

George Walker has died.

The first Afro-American graduate of Curtis, he won a Pulitzer prize in 1996 for Lilacs for voice and orchestra and received his first performance at the BBC Proms only last summer.


  • Madeline says:

    George Walker entered Oberlin College Conservatory at the age of 15 and graduated at the age of 18. He then went on to Curtis.

    • MacroV says:

      I don’t know much of George Walker’s music but I heard Lilacs when the BSO premiered it (with Faye Robinson, IIRC); it really should be more widely performed. It seems that only his “Lyric for Strings” gets much attention.

  • luigi nonono says:

    For all the cry about racial equality in classical music, he seemed to be constantly overlooked, and yet he is among the finest of his generation, and his music will last long, if it is played. I guess he didn’t have a pushy personality, which should not be a requirement for adequate recognition.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Curiously, in the current climate in music life, talent is entirely subordinated to ‘qualities’ which have nothing to do with music.

  • MM says:

    I studied with him at Rutgers University in NJ back in the ’70s. I’ve always enjoyed his Trombone Concerto, Lyric for Strings and his First Piano Sonata.

  • Ben says:

    I had a few of his CDs which were submitted on his behalf to local conductors, probably for soliciting public performances.

    My mileage last merely 2 minutes or so with them. Your mileage may vary.

    Guess what. The conductors know way way more than I do – it explained why they were still sealed when I received them. The local libraries wouldn’t take them as donation when I am done listening. Nor Salvation Army, “no space”.

    Scorn all you may. It is what it is. R.I.P.

    P.S. My ears cannot hear white from black, nor vice versa. I am not racist.