Thursday, February 28, 2019

Learn About George Walker, Montclair's Barrier-breaking Black Composer: Concert, March 10

in memoriam of George Walker (1922-2018)

WHEN: March 10, 5 PM
Central Presbyterian Church, 46 Park Street, Montclair
Buy Tickets Now


  • Nonet II (2000), Olli Mustonen
  • Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622, W.A. Mozart
    • Innhyuck Cho, clarinet
  • Lyric for Strings (1946), George Walker
  • Symphony No. 40 in g minor, K. 550, W.A. Mozart

George Walker was born in Washington DC in 1922, but spent much of his adult life in Montclair as a resident on Grove Street. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio, Mr. Walker broke barriers in the classical music world throughout his career, most notably as the first Black musician to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his work 'Lilacs' in 1996. An equally accomplished concert pianist, Mr. Walker was the first Black musician to perform in Manhattan's Town Hall; the first Black instrumentalist to perform with the Philadelphia Orchestra; and the first Black musician to be awarded a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.

Mr. Walker served as the chair of the music program at Rutgers University, and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Montclair State University. He was regularly commissioned by major institutions including the New York Philharmonic; Cleveland Orchestra; New Jersey Symphony; Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; Eastman School of Music; and the National Endowment for the Arts. At the time of his passing at age 96, Mr. Walker was still composing, amidst commissions from Curtis Institute of Music and Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Mr. Walker was very supportive of the initiative of the Montclair Orchestra, to bring together students and professionals in an unparalleled training program and present a wide range of programming to support the growth of orchestral musicians; we are pleased to be able to honor his contributions as a Black leader, and as a musician. Originally programmed prior to Mr. Walker's passing last summer, our March 10th concert is centered around the theme of Lyric, the title of one of his most famous works performed by orchestra. We invite you to hear his music on March 10th, and to continue to learn more about this incredible individual.

Get In Depth

WHEN: Friday, March 8th 7:00pm
Montclair Public Library
ADMISSION: Program is free, but registration required.  Register Online

Gregory Walker, son of Montclair resident, George T. Walker (1922-2018), and professional concert violinist in his own right, will talk about his father's musical works, and perform of some of his father's range of musical composition. Presented in conjunction with Adult School of Montclair.