In 1946, American composer George Walker (1922-2018) wrote what would become one of his most notable works at the young age of 24: String Quartet no. 1. Walker was introduced to music at 5 years old and was quite prolific in his lifetime; his works have been performed by almost every major orchestra in the U.S, and he achieved quite a few “firsts” in the classical music industry. He was the first Black graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in 1945, the first Black instrumentalist signed by a major classical artist management agency (National Concert Artists in 1950), the first Black doctoral graduate of the Eastman School of Music, and in 1996, Walker became the first Black composer to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize in Music for his work, Lilacs.
Listen to the first movement of Walker’s masterful String Quartet no. 1 (1946) performed live in the home state of the composer to a socially distanced audience this past fall.
String Quartet No. 1, Lyric, I. Allegro
by George Walker
Cyrus Beroukhim, violin
Richard Rood, principal violin
William Frampton, viola
Alberto Parrini, cello