George Walker - "Lyric for Strings"
In honor of Black History Month all the posts for this month will feature artists of color.
Walker was the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music. He received it for his work Lilacs in 1996. He was the kind of inspirational artist who shaped the goals that a generation created for themselves. He helped an entire era of underrepresented black artists in classical music begin to get the respect that they deserved.
He redefined the classical landscape for black artists in America, and his was the sweet, poignant music that helped the truth about equality come to life.
But not only that; Walker was also the first black graduate of the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia in 1945, the first black musician to play New York’s Town Hall in the same year, the first black recipient of a doctorate from the Eastman School in 1955, and the first black faculty member to receive tenure at Smith College in 1961.
Walker died on 23 August 2018, and his most famous and performed work remains his Lyric for Strings (1946), a beautifully moving work for string orchestra. He also brought the Chevalier de Saint-Georges’ legacy to our attention in 2010, honouring him in his Foils for Orchestra (Homage à Saint George).
So today, with sweet memories floating by like butterflies, I choose George Walker’s Pulitzer Prize Winning "Lyric for Strings" as my, with hope on the horizon, like Lilacs in the spring, with memories to keep me warm, song for a, little dreams here and there, press into the place where you want to grow, do not let anyone stop you from becoming the person you wish to be, Friday.