Thursday, June 7, 2012

Honorary Doctor of Music Presented to George Walker at Eastman School of Music Ceremony

Honorary Doctor of Music

George Walker

Presented at the Eastman School of Music Ceremony

George Walker's distinguished career as a musician, composer, pianist, and educator has won him international acclaim and numerous awards, commissions, and major performances. Walker began studying piano at age five, entered Oberlin College at 14, and graduated at the top of his conservatory class at 18. He was admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music to study piano with Rudolf Serkin and composition with Rosario Scalero, teacher of Samuel Barber and Gian-Carlo Menotti. In 1945, he made his acclaimed New York recital debut and performed the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra two weeks later as the winner of the Philadelphia Youth Auditions.

In 1953, he toured seven European countries under the auspices of the National Concert Artists. In 1956, he earned the DMA and Artist's Diploma in piano from the Eastman School of Music. Walker has published more than 90 works for almost every medium. He has received commissions from the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Eastman School of Music, the orchestras of New Jersey, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, and many other ensembles. He has received awards from the Fulbright, John Hay Whitney, Rockefeller, and Koussevitzky Foundations and from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. His music has been recorded by Columbia Records, Sony, Naxos, BIS, Centaur, Albany Records, and many other labels. Walker's 1946 Lyric for Strings is perhaps the most frequently performed work by a living American composer. His Piano Sonata No. 2, written as his Eastman doctoral dissertation, has been deemed a masterpiece.

In 1996, he received the Pulitzer Prize in Music for Lilacs for Voice and Orchestra. Walker has held faculty appointments at Smith, Rutgers, and the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, among others. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Classical Music Hall of Fame. He is the recipient of six honorary doctorate degrees. 

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