American composer, pianist and pedagogue George Walker has died at the age of 96 last Thursday at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair, N.J. after a fall. Born in 1922 in Washington, D.C. he started with piano lessons at age five. At 14, Walker gave his first public recital. At 18 he enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he studied piano with Rudolf Serkin and composition with Samuel Barber, graduating in 1945. In the late 1950s, he traveled to Paris to study for two years with the famous pedagogue Nadia Boulanger.

He received commissions from orchestras like the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Boston Symphony.

Walker’s music – orchestral works, chamber and solo music, songs – was rooted in the modern classical tradition, but also was inspired from African-American spirituals and jazz.

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