Black History: Special Delivery!!
George Theophilus Walker (1922 – 2018) was an African American composer. Walker held professorships at distinguished schools such as Smith College, where he became the first black tenured faculty member; Rutgers University, Peabody Institute in Maryland, University of Colorado, University of Delaware and at New York’s New School. Walker fancied himself to be more of a pianist rather than a composer. He made his professional debut with a solo recital at Town Hall in New York. According to Walker, he was the first African American composer to perform at Town Hall in 1945. He would follow this performance two weeks later with another “first”; being the first African American composer to perform with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Walker would later reflect that it was through these performances that he experienced the “stigma” of race. Undeterred, he would continue to build his career as an academic and composer; as well as becoming an outspoken critic of racism within his circles.
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