36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

007: Lessons with George Walker


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

After Vienna
Two Years Later

007 — Lessons with George Walker
Fall–Spring 1972–73

Written April 28–29, 1974

I was also referred to a Dr. George Walker of Montclair to take composition lessons privately. Thus, I began to take these private lessons (at $15 an hour). We began with theory and evolved into composition writing.

This was perhaps the best thing I could have done. I have learned just so much about music and what it is from Dr. Walker.

I admire him as a musician and composer because he has such an understanding of music. The elements and how they function to make music. Why things work and why things don’t work.
We still meet today and discuss electronic music. My work also. I learn always and my understanding has increased.

I have a long way to go, but I will be ever grateful to him.


Music theory & composition. In addition to my day-job of teacher and electronic music studies at Columbia-Princeton, at some point (uncertain when), I take music theory and composition lessons with Dr. George Walker at his home. His home was not far from my old college and I remember driving there and getting a lesson from him on a weekly basis. We started by reviewing music theory and harmony and it was such a great way to learning. Dr. Walker was an amazing composer and musician, very quiet and introspective. I was thrilled to be taking lessons with him. Private lessons are the way to go, if you can arrange it.

Composer, George Walker. Dr. Walker was a professor of music and composition at Rutgers University, Newark. Although a teacher, he was also an accomplished composer. His work, Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra, was an established and highly praised composition in contemporary music. He has a large body of work. In 1996, Dr. George Walker won the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his work, Lilacs for Voice and Orchestra.

Dr. Walker was a prolific composer, accomplished pianist (see bio below), and teacher. He was the first black composer to win the Pulitzer Prize in Music. Conductor Zubin Mehta said, in 1996, “This composer has finally gotten the recognition he deserves.”


The official George Walker website

A great biography of George Walker

George Walker on Wikipedia.


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