A fine chorus director and soloist’s friend dies, at 92

A fine chorus director and soloist’s friend dies, at 92


norman lebrecht

November 12, 2018

The family of Nina Walker have posted word of her death.

Nina was chorus director at the Royal Opera House and the Huddersfield Choral Society.

She was the accompanist of choice of many famous singers, especially Montserrat Caballe.

She appeared on numerous recordings.



  • Alan says:

    If anyone has details of Nina’s funeral I’d be very glad if they could post them here.
    She studied with Cortot and Arrau, was a long time friend of Maggie Teyte, favoured by the greatest opera singers and conductors and she had a beautiful photo in her home of Monserrat Caballé and herself at the moment of taking the stage at La Scala. As a coach she was your most perceptive critic and biggest supporter, had an immense musical intellect and all that vocal knowledge gleaned from Sutherland, Caballé, Gardini, Lloyd, Downes and many other greats.
    A very rare and remarkable woman.

    • Andrew H Brown says:

      Did you ever hear from the family? If you did, minor miracle. My wife hasn’t – and she is a first cousin, original surname Walker, a name Nina took with my wife’s father’s permission, when she turned professional in Manchester many moons ago. She was a remarkable musician and person – luckily our memories of her survive – her first recital at Wigmore Hall, when she was granted the freedom of the City of London and when, on several occasions, she held forth on her fellow musicians and performers.

  • David Edwards says:

    A wonderfully talented, knowledgable and funny lady who worked for many years on the music staff at Covent Garden. Nina was loved and admired by so many. May she rest in peace.

  • Nonbarihunk. says:

    One of the greatest musicians I and my partner had the pleasure of working with and knowing personally.
    RIP dear Nina.

  • Dominic Fyfe says:

    Nina was also a very fine recording producer at Nimbus in the 1990s. Among others she produced the complete Beethoven quartets with the Medici Quartet; innumerable discs with the choir of Christ Church Oxford under Stephen Darlington and many recordings with the Hanover Band and Roy Goodman. She had a natural affinity with performers and a larger-than-life ability to get the best out of them in the studio. Her recording sessions and her records were never boring. As a young producer myself in those days I learnt a huge amount from her. She was always generous with her time, emerging from a cloud of cigarette smoke with her unmistakable laugh and signature cry of “Bravo Darling!”

  • Misha says:

    I’ve just learned that Nina Walker coached Alfreda Hodgson for her incomparable recording of Das Lied von der Erde conducted by Horenstein.

  • Patrick Gallagher says:

    Nina Walker was amazing, wonderful and a friend whether behind or in front of the keyboard. She could play anything for you at sight, and was hugely supportive, but Nina was so much more than that.
    I remember her gently explaining that a soprano was singing Tatiana’s letter aria in the style of Verdi and not Tchaikovsky and why.
    She was also not above a bit of gentle bullying in a very friendly way when she thought I might be afraid of singing my top notes.
    One other memory. Someone brought a Debussy song to sing. Nina stopped completely, put her hands in her lap and took a deep breath. She then informed us that this waste of the few things that she was genuinely afraid of playing. When young she had been accompanying Maggie Teyte in this song. At the rehearsal, Maggie stopped and said to Nina, “That’s lovely but Claude used to play it in a different way. May I show you?”
    Nina was a very great lady and I will remember her fondly. especially the mental image of Nina in the prompt box at Covent Garden in her swimsuit because it got so hot.
    RIP Nina xxx

  • I have just come across this web page while looking for information on people I worked with when I was training in London in Bel Canto in the early 90’s. I am very saddened to see of her passing. I had the pleasure of having Nina as my coach in three of the Royal Opera House practical weekends, one was as soloist in Ogine Onegin and Nina was wonderful! She had so much patience and gave so much encouragement. I also worked with her in Marriage of Figaro and Tales Of Hoffman. She taught me so much. Nina was a fausty woman and did not stand fools lightly, several times leaving the room in a rage, but she was always looking for the absolute best in every performance. I have a wonderful letter from her after giving the performances which I will always treasure. Thank you Nina for everything!

  • Roy Howat says:

    I just read this belatedly. Nina will always be part of my life. In a few lessons, decades ago, she made me rethink music and how you play the piano. She always said ‘now pass it on to whoever you teach’, which I always do, and am constantly amazed at what a difference it can make so quickly. I also still hear marvellous stories of her from colleagues and friends, as a teacher, producer and repetiteur. She was wonderful, and wore it all lightly; real trouper and a star. RIP dearest Nina