Reminiscences of an American Composer and Pianist Hardcover – Jul 9 2009
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Walker’s autobiographical recollections are balanced and even-handed; he recounts both triumphs and disappointments in straightforward, almost bare-boned prose that allows the reader to draw his or her own conclusions....Writing of his early life, he compellingly portrays the strong, quiet dignity of his parents and grandmother, qualities he’s obviously imbibed and assimilated as integral parts of his own personality. Short but revealing portraits of famous musicians add a colorful touch. Overall, Walker’s autobiography should be of interest to anyone curious about the life and works of a distinguished American composer. (Fanfare Magazine, May 2010)
Walker is at his best when he discusses his music, especially his desire to write music that is technically accomplished and musically interesting at the same time. (Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association, June 2010)
Walker details his accomplishments, activities, and achievements - and yes, aggravations and affronts - in "Reminiscences of an American Composer and Pianist," a memoir that's just been released by Scarecrow Press....Walker creates his works of art with a deliberative meticulousness. (Bookshelf, August 2009)
That Walker was one of the foremost of contemporary composers was evident long before he won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1996. Here he offers an account of his stellar background, from his first studies in his native Washington, DC, through his degree work at Oberlin, Curtis, and Eastman-not to mention private study with Nadia Boulanger and others-providing details not previously available. . . . Walker's work as both composer and pianist, his insight into his contacts with fellow professionals, and terse analyses of his major works all unite here, making this autobiographical study a priority for musicians. Highly recommended. (CHOICE, December 2009)
About the Author
George Walker is considered one of the most important American composers of the 20th century. The first black composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for music, his extensive output of over 90 works includes his masterpiece, the "Lyric for Strings."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"As a young black man growing up in Washington, D.C., George Walker was unfortunately familiar with racial prejudice and its attendant humiliations. And despite leading a distinguished musical life--he's won the Pulitzer Prize, been awarded honorary degrees, served as the head of the music department at Rutgers University, given highly acclaimed concerts as a pianist, and written the most often-performed work by a living American composer (Lyric for Strings)--he's convinced that his career and that of other black classical musicians has been blighted by the same irrational forces. Although such experiences surely have left a bitter residue, Walker's autobiographical recollections are balanced and even-handed; he recounts both triumphs and disappointments in straightforward,almost bare-boned prose that allows the reader to draw his or her own conclusions. That
doesn't mean that he pulls his punches: He doesn't hesitate to bluntly criticize the limitations, as he sees them, of performers, composers, or other influential members of the classical music establishment. He's equally forthcoming with appreciative and affecting reminiscences of those who've helped and encouraged him. Writing of his early life, he compellingly portrays the strong, quiet dignity
of his parents and grandmother, qualities he's obviously imbibed and assimilated as integral parts of his own personality. Short but revealing portraits of famous musicians add a colorful touch. Overall, Walker's autobiography should be of interest to anyone curious about the life and works of a distinguished American composer."
I had to write a paper at the end of the semester on any composer of my choice. I found this book and used it as a source. The writing is dry in parts but you learn a lot about Mr. Walker. His life is worthy of review.
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