Gregory Walker, Violinist, Composer, and Professor, Named 2023 Faculty Excellence in Research and Creative Work Awardee
Professor Gregory Walker is being recognized for his contribution to the wider musical world through his composition, performance, and academic work.Megan Briggs | College of Arts & Media Apr 10, 2023
The College of Arts & Media (CAM) is proud to name Professor Gregory T.S. Walker of Music & Entertainment Industry Studies (MEIS) as the recipient of the 2023 Faculty Excellence in Research and Creative Work Award. The award highlights Walker’s ongoing efforts to bring awareness to the unsung heroes of the modern musical canon through his composition, performance, and academic work.
“Professor Walker’s efforts to deepen the understanding of Black American creatives through genre-bending arrangements, compositions, and performances makes great sense within the College of Arts & Media: a place where creativity, intellect, and social justice collide,” notes Mark Rabideau, Associate Dean for Faculty and Student Affairs in CAM.
The Faculty Excellence in Research and Creative Work Award
The Faculty Excellence in Research and Creative Work Award rewards faculty members whose work is impacting their respective field. Additionally, it is designed to give credit to those faculty members whose work lends itself to professional collaborations and demonstrates a significant level of originality and excellence. These are all elements Walker’s work exemplifies, according to an adjudication panel composed of members of CAM’s faculty and administration.
The panel took into consideration the last three years of Walker’s output, which included an incredibly rough stretch wherein Walker and his family lost their home during the Marshall Fire of December 2021. Walker suffered the loss of musical instruments and manuscripts during that fire, but he notes he was able to help rally the community by performing as a violin soloist with the Boulder Symphony for a benefit gala fundraiser in January 2022.
Over the last three years, Walker performed with several notable groups, including the National Symphony Orchestra in February 2022, where he performed Violin Sonata No. 1 (composed by Walker’s father, George Walker, one of the often-unsung heroes among Black creatives). In July 2021, Walker's original piece, “dream n. the hood” for rapper and orchestra, featuring LLGND (his son Grayson Wolf Walker), was performed by the Boulder Symphony Orchestra. Another original piece, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” for Video Game Guitar, was premiered at the Vienna Volkstheater in Austria. Most recently, Walker, along with three other musicians, performed the recorded version of CU Denver's new alma mater (school song) for string quartet.
In addition to his composition and performance, Walker contributes to the pedagogy of musical study through his writing. In 2021, Walker contributed two articles, “A Beautiful Bridge” and “Adventures in Electricity” to Strings Magazine.
Among his colleagues, Walker is recognized as an innovative musician and academic. “Musical research and development such as his not only requires discipline and consistency, but a certain fearlessness with a steady eye on the ultimate goal, which is typically a new form of expression, and which may or may not lead to a paradigm shift in thinking and aesthetics,” says MEIS Chair and fellow musician Sean McGowan.
A reception honoring Gregory Walker will be held May 2, 2023 in the Emmanuel Gallery. Walker plans to share a few words, perform some of his original work and even let the audience test drive his latest interactive video game concept.