About the Piece

Composed when he was 24 years old, George Walker’s Lyric for Strings is one of his most often performed works.

The Lyric for Strings fits into a category occupied by Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings or even perhaps Gustav Mahler’s Adagietto from his Symphony No. 5.

Like the Barber, originally composed as the slow movement to a string quartet, the Lyric was later adapted for string orchestra.

Though the work sounds on the surface less challenging than either the Barber or the Mahler, its key of F sharp minor does present problems for younger orchestras. For this reason, George Walker’s son has adapted the work for younger performers by changing only the original key, now F minor, making it more accessible.

Both versions are available through Keiser/Southern Music.

About the Composer

George Walker began his groundbreaking career as a young piano virtuoso and was admitted to Oberlin College on a scholarship following his first public recital at the age of 14. Graduating with the highest honors in his Conservatory class, he was admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music, becoming the first black graduate of this renowned music school. His works demonstrate a wide range of artistic excellence in genres ranging from instrumental and vocal solos and chamber music to compositions for orchestra and other large ensembles. He is the first black composer to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize. [Biographical information from Keiser/Southern Music — for complete information visit: http://www.georgetwalker.com