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William Walker - Conductor

Biography

Praised for his “passionate and probing performances” and “musical sincerity” William Garfield Walker has performed extensively throughout the Americas and in Europe.

Recently appointed Principal Conductor, 2018 saw Walker leading the Moonlight Symphony Orchestra on its first European Tour with performances in Vienna’s Konzerthaus, MUTH- Concert Hall of the Vienna Boy’s Choir. Previously Walker served as Principal Conductor of the Royal College of Music Oratorio Society and at the age of 20, Walker founded the Virtuoso Philharmonic of Chicago, with whom he was Music Director and Principal Conductor.

A few of the orchestras that Walker has recently worked with include the Berliner Sinfonietta, Bratislava Symphony Orchestra, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Janacek Philharmonic, London Classical Soloists, London Moonlight Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Reino de Aragon, “Mihail Jora” Philharmonic Orchestra and the Musicians of the Mississippi Symphony in a highly successful Benefit Concert for the victims of 2017's hurricanes done in collaboration with the American Red Cross.

The summer season will saw Walker attending the famed Aspen Music Festival as a Conducting Fellow. In 2017, he was the recipient of a Conducting Fellowship at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music where he received the Bruno Walter Memorial Conducting Scholarship. Additionally, Walker has worked as an assistant and cover conductor with ensembles, including the Olivier Award-winning English Touring Opera, Britain's leading professional opera touring company where he worked on an award-winning production of Don Giovanni; the Chicago Opera Theater and assisted high profile concerts and operas at the Royal College of Music.

His mentors during his studies and in masterclasses include venerable maestros such as Robert Spano, Leonard Slatkin, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Michail Jurowski, Jorma Panula, Cristian Măcelaru, Michael Rosewell, Dwight Oltman, and Andreas Steoher.

Originally a cellist, Walker performed internationally with orchestras as both a soloist and section principal and worked with many foremost artists including Riccardo Muti, Vladimir Jurowski, Yo-Yo Ma and Håkan Hardenberger. He also participated in masterclasses with Yo-Yo Ma, Natalia Gutman, Astrid Schween (Juilliard String Quartet) and members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic.

A graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy, Walker completed his undergraduate studies in Chicago as a cello student of Richard Hirschl (Chicago Symphony Orchestra). Walker then simultaneously completed his postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Music, London and the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna.

After performing his first world premiere at the age of 14, Walker gained a passion for music of the present and recent past and has since gone on to participate in many world premieres and other contemporary music performances as both conductor and cellist. Highlights include performing music by and for the Minimalist pioneer, Steve Reich, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky. Walker is a composer himself and has written music ranging from solo to large symphonic works. His solo violin piece, Labyrinth, was premiered at the Palau de la Música de València in 2017 and received subsequent performances in Madrid and London.

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updated August 2018