Sunday, November 29, 2009

Daily Camera: 'Boulder Phil concertmaster Gregory Walker premieres father's concerto in Philadelphia'

[Electric Vivaldi, The Four Seasons; Antonio Vivaldi, composer; Gregory Walker, electronic violin; Marcelo Sanches, cello; Lori Walker, synthesizer; Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra; Eric Bertoluzzi, conductor; Newport Classic 85569 (2006)]

By Wes Blomster Camera Classical Music Critic
Posted: 11/29/2009 10:03:57 AM MST
Gregory Walker calls it 'a Cinderella story.' On December 10, Walker, concertmaster of the Boulder Philharmonic since 1987, will be soloist in the world premiere of George Walker's Concerto for Violin with the Philadelphia Orchestra. George Walker, 87 and retired from Rutgers University, is Gregory's father. He wrote the concerto for Gregory and dedicated the score to him. 'I thought it was a little late in life to realize a childhood dream and appear as soloist with a major orchestra,' says Gregory, who earned a doctorate in composition at the University of Colorado and is now a member of the music faculty on CU's Denver campus.”

“When we talked about the Philadelphia premiere Gregory had just returned from Warsaw, where he recorded the new work with the Sinfonia Varsovia conducted by England's Ian Hobson. 'The concerto is a labor of love,' Gregory says. 'Dad wrote it without a commission. It was something he had to get off his chest, and of course he hoped a major orchestra would be interested in it.' Although Gregory did not see the concerto until it was finished, it's clear to him that his father wrote it with him in mind.

“(In 1997 Gregory performed -- and recorded -- his father's 'Poème for Violin and Orchestra' with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony.) 'It's a challenging work,' Gregory says of the 25-minute concerto. 'When I got the score I looked it over to see whether there were passages that no one could be expected to perform.' And his father did offer that he could take a slower tempo in some cases. 'The music is unusually intense -- sometimes unrelentingly so,' Gregory says. 'And its emotional level is high. It's dissonant, but lyric passages emerge with an energy and beauty that validates the entire composition.'" [George Walker is profiled at]

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Thanks for digging up that Boulder Daily Camera. I have a sneaking suspicion that in the coming week, there will be more where that came from! Gregory Walker

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