Friday, December 4, 2009 'Composer father, soloist son team up for world premiere orchestra presentation'

[ABOVE: Gregory Walker; BELOW: George Walker]

Posted on Fri, Dec. 4, 2009
The Philadelphia Daily News interviewed composer George Walker about his new Violin Concerto, to be premiered by his son Gregory Walker:
By Tom Di Nardo For the Daily News
“From the days of Bach, Mozart and Haydn, all the way to the more recent Shostakovich and Jarvi offspring, composing and performing music has often been a family affair. The legacy continues for George Theophilus Walker, a major American composer whose intense music deserves much more attention. Next week, the Philadelphia Orchestra will present the world premiere of his Violin Concerto, written for his talented son Gregory Walker, who performs as soloist. Walker, now 87 and a resident of Montclair, N.J., was the first African-American to graduate from the Curtis Institute of Music in 1945, with diplomas in both piano and composition.”

“Walker's son Gregory has performed much of the standard repertoire, and has played many repertory recitals with his mother, Helen Walker-Hill, and his wife Lori. He has also composed the first rap symphony 'Dream N. The Hood' and an enhanced version of Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons' with electronics. He'll be playing his father's intensely difficult Violin Concerto with a loaned $4.5 million 1718 Stradivarius, the instrument played by Zoltan Szekely when he performed the world premiere of Bela Bartok's Second Violin Concerto in 1939. Szekely was a professor at the University of Colorado, from which Gregory Walker received his doctorate and now teaches.”

“Q: Did you compose the Concerto with your son in mind?”
I don't think in terms of writing for a particular performer, but about what I want to hear myself. I have a great confidence in Gregory, who's a wonderful violinist, and I know what he can do, especially in my music. But the piece would have existed anyway. It's just important for him to get the exposure.”

“Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center, Broad and Spruce streets, 8 p.m. Thursday and Dec. 12, 2 p.m. Dec. 11, $39-$125, 215-893-1999,” [Full Post] [George Walker is profiled at]

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