Opinion: George Walker’s music deserves more—way more—performances

Posted on: January 22, 2020

“Richard Valitutto offered an impressive Piano Spheres program at the Colburn School’s Zipper Hall last week,” writes Mark Swed in Tuesday’s (1/21) Los Angeles Times. “He covered the transgressive keyboard waterfront [and included] a deliciously sentimental six-minute Poulenc closer…. The recital, however, began surprisingly with George Walker’s Piano Sonata No. 5…. Walker, who died in 2018 at age 96, was one of America’s most distinguished composers. He won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1996…. Who among classical music lovers, let alone the general public, even knows who George Walker was, much less has heard his music?… Walker has never been entirely off the radar, and last year the Seattle Symphony … gave the first live performance of Walker’s last completed score, ‘Visions.’ … At the time of his death, Walker was working on a piece for the Los Angeles Philharmonic…. His work demands—and magnificently rewards—deep listening. Even so, about the only month in which I ever encounter a piece by Walker on a concert program is February, because that is Black History Month…. This has to change…. Good places to start with Walker are his piano and violin concertos. When you get under their skin, they will get under yours.”