Organizations around the world are campaigning to bring more attention to the music of George Walker.
Curtis alumnus George Walker is known in many circles as one of the most important, groundbreaking Black composers in history. But for many musicians, performing organizations, and writers, that's not enough—recently, a movement has been growing to ensure that Dr. Walker's music is never forgotten, and that he receives the acclaim he deserves.
Curtis has been no stranger to this mission—in 2018, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra performed one of his most famous works, Lyric for Strings, and fellow alumnus William Short sat down with Walker to discuss his memories of studying at Curtis. Sadly, Walker would pass away later that year, but Curtis was honored to have presented him with the President's Alumni Award, recognizing a lifetime of musical leadership. On the occasion of his passing, David Serkin Ludwig wrote a touching tribute, emphasising Walker's "preternatural gifts as a performer, his sophistication as a composer, and his commitment to spirituals and American folk musical traditions."
In April, 2019, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra performed George Walker's Lyric for Strings, led by conducting fellow Carlos Ágreda.
George Walker was the first African American composer to be awared the Pultizer Prize in music, for Lilacs, a setting for voice and orchestra of Walt Whitman's "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd."