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Robert Walker
1946 -
Great Britain, England
R.E. Walker
Robert Ernest [Robert] Walker (18/03/1946), an English composer and organist, born in Northampton.
Robert Walker was the Eastern Orchestral Board’s Composer in Association from 1990-92, during which time the EOB commissioned both My Dog has Fleas and Maknaganda.
Born in Northampton in 1946, Robert Walker’s formative musical experiences came from his years as a chorister at St Matthew’s Church, Northampton. He studied as a choral scholar and later organ scholar at Jesus College, Cambridge, where a number of his compositions were performed. He was a member of ‘Footlights’.
Following several years as an organist and schoolmaster in Lincolnshire, a number of important commissions, including music for the enthronement of the Archbishop of Canterbury in January 1975, allowed Walker to devote more time to composition.
He was featured composer in the 1982 Greenwich Festival, where two commissions – the Chamber Symphony and String Quartet were heard for the first time. July 1982 saw a further premiere: his Variations on a Theme of Elgar, given by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the Chichester Festivities. Other commissions include a piano quintet for the BBC, a Missa Brevis from a Catholic ordinand, Charms and Exultations of Trumpets from Hampshire County Youth Orchestra, and a symphony commissioned by the Exeter Festival for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
During most of the nineties, Robert Walker lived on the island of Bali in Indonesia. He learned to play the unique gamelan of Bali and inevitably this influenced many of his compositions; Journey in Light and Our Mother Jesus (commissioned by the Norwich Triennial Festival) both have a simpler, more direct appeal by using compositional techniques he learned from Balinese Gamelan.
Only perhaps in Fragments of Elgar – a reconstruction (as the name implies) of those small fragments of music Elgar intended for a piano concerto which Robert Walker had fashioned into a 40 minute work for piano and orchestra – has his former skill in orchestration and counterpoint been further used.
Robert Walker now lives in Bangkok and is the Head of Composition at the King Bhumbiol College of Music, Mahido University. He is also the London College of Music’s Development Consultant for South East Asia and is also a writer and broadcaster; his Letters from Bali were serialised on Radio 4 in 2000.
Composed in:1976
Musical form:free
Text/libretto:Latin mass + English texts
This Requiem is for SATB chorus, tenor solo and orchestra (orchestration 1111/2100/timp/str).
Requiem for Tenor solo, chorus and chamber orchestra Words by Edward Thomas and the composer. Commissioned by the Grimsby Bach Choir with funds made available by Humberside Arts. First performed by Martyn Hill (ten.), Grimsby Bach Choir and the Northern Sinfonia conducted by the composer; June 1976 in Lincoln Cathedral.