“…There is deep beauty in George Walker’s music that speaks directly and movingly to an orchestra and an audience.” And so, Edward Gardner – principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra – introduces the ensemble’s upcoming UK premiere of George Walker’s Sinfonia No. 5, “Visions.” The performance takes place on March 30, 2022 at Royal Festival Hall, as part of the Southbank Centre’s SoundState Festival.
Walker — a concert pianist, educator and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer — enjoyed a decades-long career which featured performances by the Boston Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra. Walker’s Sinfonia No. 5 (2016) was composed toward the end of his life (Walker was in his 90’s at the time). It is the last of the composer’s five orchestral sinfonias; and, was composed after the 2015 Charleston AME Church shooting in South Carolina. The work received its world premiere in 2019 by the Seattle Symphony conducted by Thomas Dausgaard.
Gardner continues. “In the SoundState concert, I really wanted to bring something new to the audience and it’s fantastic we have UK premieres of composers who deserve all to be heard more in the UK…and my starting point for this program was America and that’s part of the theme of the festival itself…the piece which I’m so thrilled to be performing in this program is George Walker’s Sinfonia No. 5 “Visions,” which was written right at the end of his life and he is for sure a composer which British audiences will be getting to know more…This piece was written as a response to the 2015 Charleston shooting and it’s a piece of anxiety and tension, but there’s so much beauty in his music I think the audience will get a huge amount from it.” To listen to Gardner’s complete preview of the concert, view here.