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William Walker - Conductor


American musician William Garfield Walker has performed in many places throughout the Americas and Europe notably London, Berlin, Chicago, Vienna, Romania, the Czech Republic, Costa Rica, and Italy

At the age of 20, Walker, along with several of the finest Chicago-based musicians of the younger generation, founded the Virtuoso Philharmonic of Chicago, where he served as General Music Director. Besides conducting the Virtuoso Philharmonic of Chicago, in 2015 Walker became the inaugural Principal Conductor of the Royal College of Music Oratorio Society (London, UK). Currently Walker is the Principal Conductor of the newly formed World Unity Orchestra.

Other orchestras that Walker has worked with include the Berliner Sinfonietta (Berlin, Germany), Janacek Philharmonic (Ostrava, Czech Republic), the London Classical Soloists (London, UK), the Orquesta Reino De Aragon (Musica Riva Festival in Italy), the “Mihail Jora” Philharmonic Orchestra (Bacau, Romania) and orchestras at the Interlochen Arts Academy (Interlochen, Michigan, USA), Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music (Cleveland, Ohio USA); Chicago College of Performing Arts (Chicago, Illinois USA), the Sewanee Music Festival Chamber Orchestra (Sewanee, Tennessee, USA); and the Baldwin Wallace Wind Ensemble (Cleveland, Ohio, USA).

Walker has also worked extensively as both an assistant and cover conductor with several ensembles, including the Oliver Award winning English Touring Opera, Britain’s leading professional opera touring company; the Chicago Opera Theater with famed mezzo-soprano Frederica Von Stade and Emanuelle Andrizzi, the Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival Orchestra, in a critically acclaimed performance of the St. Matthew Passion, and with high profile concerts and operas at the Royal College of Music. Walker also assisted the Chicago College of Performing Arts Symphony Orchestra in a recording session of Stacy Garrop’s Mythology Symphony recorded on the Cedille Records recording label.

Walker’s principal conducting studies have been with Andreas Stoehr, Michael Rosewell, Dwight Oltman, and Emanuele Andrizzi. He has also been an active participant in masterclasses led by Michail Jurowski, Vladimir Fedoseyev (June, 2017), Issac Karabtchevsky, Niels Erik Muus, Ovidiu Balan, and Robert Gutter. Walker also attended workshops on Cosi Fan Tutte Recitatives with famed baritone Sir. Thomas Allen and Maria Cleve. In October 2016, Walker was invited to attend a conducting seminar with the late Sir. Neville Mariner. Unfortunately, Maestro Mariner passed away just before the workshop.

Also an accomplished cellist, Walker has won several awards, scholarships, and competitions and has worked with some of the most notable musicians of our day including Riccardo Muti, Vladimir Jurowski, and Yo Yo Ma. Recently he was invited to perform with Hakkan Hardenberger and the Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra as a part of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s “The Trumpet Shall Sound” series and served as Principal Cello of the Royal College of Music Opera Orchestra. At 16, Walker had his first professional engagement when he performed with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra.

Walker’s principal cello studies have been with Richard Hirschl, Crispin Campbell, Bennett Randman. Additionally, he has been a participant in masterclasses conducted by Yo Yo Ma, Desmond Hoebig, Astrid Schween, David Ying, Bonnie Hampton, Patrick Jee, Tanya Carey, and David Taylor.

Having a strong passion for new music and music by living composers, Walker has participated in many world premieres and performances of music by living composers as both a conductor and cellist. These performances include performing music by and for the Minimalist pioneer, Steve Reich and Pulitzer Prize winning composer Steven Stucky. A composer himself, Walker has had music performed in venues including the Kinhaven Music School, Interlochen Arts Academy, and the Chicago College of Performing Arts. 2017 will see the world premier of his piece Labyrinth in Madrid and its U.K. premier in London.

Walker’s music studies have taken place at the Interlochen Arts Academy, Chicago College of Performing Arts, Royal College of Music in London and the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna.

To read the interview:

submission January 2017