- Alan Walker (musicologist)
Infobox Musical artist
Name = Alan Walker
Background = non_performing_personnel
Born = birth date|1930|04|06|mf=y
Genre = Romantic
musicologist, biographer, professor
Years_active = 1957-
Alan Walker, FRSC (born
6 April 1930cite web
publisher=Encyclopedia of Music in Canada
accessdate=2006-12-07] ) is an English-Canadian
musicologistand university professor best known as a biographerand scholar of composer Franz Liszt.
Walker was born in
Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire. He received an LGSM certificate in 1949, ARCM in 1950, a Bachelor of Music from University of Durham in 1956, and a Doctor of Music in 1965.. Between 1957 and 1960 he studied privately with Hans Keller, an association which he has always acknowledged as formative. These lessons were resumed, albeit irregularly, once Walker joined Keller at the BBC in 1961. From 1958-61 Walker lectured at the Guildhall School of Music, having studied piano there with Alfred Nieman, noted for teaching improvisationaltechniques. [cite journal
title=Healing Heritage: Exploring the Tonal Language of Paul Nordoff
author=Brynjulf Stige (Research Fellow, University of Oslo)
publisher=Nordic Journal of Music Therapy
accessdate=2006-12-07 Via Barcelona Publishers website.] He also taught at the
University of Londonfrom 1954 to 1960.cite web
title=Alan Walker: Finding Aids
publisher=The William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections,
accessdate=2006-12-07] Walker worked at the
BBC RadioMusic Division as a producer between 1961 and 1971. Seeking to return to his "first love", teaching,cite web
title=Dr. Alan Walker
accessdate=2006-12-07] Walker gave up radio production and took an appointment as Professor of Music at
McMaster Universityin Hamilton, Ontario, where he chaired the Department of Music 1971-1980 and 1989-1995. In 1981, he was responsible for the establishment at McMaster of the first graduate program in music criticismin Canada. Since 1995, he has been Professor Emeritus at McMaster. [cite news
title=Four to receive honorary doctorates at Fall Convocation November 9
November 5, 2001
accessdate=2006-12-07] From 1984-87, he was a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Music at City University in London.
His three-volume biography of Franz Liszt, which took him 25 years to complete, has been very influential. Common adjectives attached to the work include "monumental" [cite journal
title=The Death of Franz Liszt
publisher=American Music Teacher
accessdate=2006-12-07] [cite journal
title=Death in Bayreuth: An Unknown Document about the Death of Franz Liszt
accessdate=2006-12-07] and "magisterial",cite web
title=The Cambridge Companion to Liszt
Cambridge University Press
accessdate=2006-12-07] and it is said to have "unearthed much new material and provided a strong stimulus for further research". Walker himself says that when he found, as a BBC producer compiling notes for program announcers, that "there wasn't a decent book in English on Liszt", he eventually decided to write one himself, but was determined "not to make a major statement that couldn't be supported by documents ... and because Liszt himself was a traveller the archives were everywhere."
The first volume won the
James Tait Black Memorial Prizein biography for 1983 [cite web
title=The Prize Winners
University of Edinburgh
accessdate=2006-12-07] and best book on music from the
Yorkshire Post Newspapersin 1984. The three-book series was given the Royal Philharmonic SocietyBook Award in 1999. [ [http://library.mcmaster.ca/archives/findaids/findaids/w/walker.02.htm Walker Finding Aids, Vol. 2] ] TIME Magazinepraised the biography as "a textured portrait of Liszt and his times without rival", saying that Walker's work was "equally strong on the music and the life", which discussed Liszt's corpus "with greater understanding and clarity than any previous biographer". [cite news
title=The Book of Liszts: Finally, a Biography that Does Justice to All Facets of Franz Liszt's Messy Life and Protean Work
September 2, 1996
accessdate=2006-12-07] The "
New York Times", reviewing the second volume, tutted of Walker's passion for his subject, "Mr. Walker can see only the good, and will stand for no criticism of his hero", but still called Walker's extensive research "incredible.... Mr. Walker seems to know everything about Liszt, and anything connected with Liszt, during every single day of the long life of that genius." [cite news
title= Books of The Times; A Scholarly Crusader for Fran Liszt
Harold C. Schonberg
The New York Times
July 14, 1989
accessdate=2006-12-07] The "
Washington Post" music critic Tim Page, including the third volume in his best books of the year list, called it "unquestionably a landmark" and "meticulously detailed, passionately argued and sometimes wrenchingly moving". [cite news
title=Informed Opinions: Experts Pick Their Favorites
The Washington Post
Walker has also written substantially about
Robert Schumannand Frédéric Chopin, and continues to lecture in Canada, the U.S., and UK on all three musicians.
Walker lives in Ancaster,
Ontario. He is director of "The Great Romantics", an annual festival in Hamilton, Ontario.cite web
title=Roots & Legacy: Alan Walker
University of Georgia
accessdate=2006-12-07 A Celebration of Liszt and Matthay, presented by the American Liszt Society and the American Matthay Association.]
*Honorary Fellow of the Guildhall School of Music, 1974.
*Hungarian Liszt Society Medal, 1980
*American Liszt Society Medal, 1984
*Fellow of the
Royal Society of Canada, 1986
*Pro Cultura Hungaria Medal (Government of
*Honorary D. Litt (honoris causa) from McMaster University, 2002
*"A Study in Music Analysis", 1962.
*"An Anatomy of Musical Criticism", 1966.
*"Symposium on Chopin" (Editor), 1967.
*"Symposium on Liszt" (Editor), 1970.
*"Franz Liszt: The Man and His Music". New York: Taplinger Publishing, 1970. ISBN 0-8008-2990-5.
*"Robert Schumann: The Man and His Music", 1972. ISBN 0-214-66805-3.
*"Symposium on Schumann" (Editor), 1972.
*"Liszt: v. 1. The virtuoso years, 1811-1847". Hardcover publisher Knopf, 1983, Softcover publisher Ithaca: Cornell University Press and revised, 1987. ISBN 0-394-52540-X for all three hardcover. ISBN 0-8014-9421-4 for v. 1 revised.
*"Liszt: v. 2. The Weimar years, 1848-1861". Knopf and Cornell University Press (no new material), 1989. Revised ISBN 0-8014-9721-3.
*"Liszt, Carolyne, and the Vatican: The Story of a Thwarted Marriage" (Co-author, with
Gabriele Erasmi). 1991.
*"The Diary of Carl Lachmund: An American Pupil of Liszt" (Editor), 1995.
*"Liszt: v. 3. The final years, 1861-1886". Knopf and Cornell University Press, 1996 and 1997. Cornell edition has ISBN 0-8014-8453-7.
*"The Death of Franz Liszt: Based on the Unpublished Diary of his Pupil Lina Schmalhausen" (Editor). Cornell University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-8014-4076-9.
*"Reflections on Liszt", 2005.
*"Hans von Bülow: a Life and Times", OUP (forthcoming).
* [http://library.mcmaster.ca/archives/findaids/fonds/w/walker.htm The Alan Walker Fonds]
* [http://www.artset.net/greatromantics.html Great Romantics Festival]
* [http://www.americanlisztsociety.org/ American Liszt Society]
* [http://www.utpjournals.com/product/utq/691/music93.html Review] of "New Light on Liszt and His Music: Essays in Honor of Alan Walker's 65th Birthday",
Pendragon Press, ISBN 0945193734
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.