BSO2021_Sessions_ProgramBook_April_FINAL_Pages - Page 25

GEORGE WALKER Lyric for Strings

GEORGE WALKER Lyric for Strings

ABOUT THE COMPOSER
Born 1922 in Washington , D . C .; died 2018 in Montclair , NJ
• George Theophilus Walker began playing the piano at age five , and by the time Walker turned 14 , he was admitted to Oberlin Conservatory . He went on to enroll at the Curtis Institute , where he studied chamber music , piano , and composition and became the first Black graduate of the school . He later spent several years in Paris studying with the famed Nadia Boulanger .
• In addition to his legacy as a composer , Walker was also an internationally soughtafter piano soloist .
• In his lifetime , Walker composed over 90 works and has been awarded two Guggenheim Fellowships and six honorary doctorates . He was also the first Black composer to win a Pulitzer Prize .
FUN FACT
In 1997 , June 17 was declared George Walker day in Washington , D . C .
THE WORLD AT A GLANCE

1946

MUSIC Édith Piaf ’ s La Vie en Rose
FILM The first Cannes Film Festival
ABOUT THE PIECE
• Lyric for Strings was composed in 1946 when Walker was 24 years old . The work is inspired by Samuel Barber ’ s Adagio for Strings , which is fitting as Walker studied with one of Barber ’ s students while at the Curtis Institute .
• Walker first conceived the music as the middle movement for his string quartet and originally titled the work Lamenti in dedication to his grandmother who had recently passed . He later referred to the work as , “ my grandmother ’ s piece .”
• The work remains one of Walker ’ s most enduring works .
ART Edward Hopper ’ s Approaching a City
HISTORY The United Nations holds its first meeting
BSO SESSIONS | APRIL 2021
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