Meet The Director
Artistic Director and Conductor
Born in Sydney in 1967, Maestro Walker studied composition, cello, voice, and conducting at the University of Sydney. At the age of 22, he became musical director of the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs where for six years he prepared and conducted works such as Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s Mass in B Minor and St. Matthew Passion, Berlioz’ Te Deum, the Verdi Requiem, and Britten’s War Requiem.
Since his conducting debut in 1991, he has led operas, large-scale choral/orchestral works, and numerous symphonic works with companies in the UK, Europe, his native Australia, Asia, and the United States. His impressive talent was recognized in October 2006 when Pittsburgh Opera signed him as its Music Director, where he has conducted Billy Budd, Samson et Dalila, Aida, Eugene Onegin, Falstaff, and Turandot. He has served as Artistic Director and Conductor of Washington Concert Opera since 2002.
In April, 2011, Maestro Walker made a highly acclaimed New York Metropolitan Opera debut conducting Gluck’s Orfeo. In 2010 he made three hugely successful debuts: English National Opera in London (Lucia di Lammermoor), Canadian Opera Company in Toronto (Maria Stuarda) and the opening of the Santa Fe Opera season (Madama Butterfly). In January, 2013, he returns to the Sydney Opera House conducting Falstaff for Opera Australia.
Maestro Walker’s ever-expanding repertoire ranges from the early 17th to the 21st century, and he is equally at home with baroque, “standard” Italian and French operas from various periods, and modern dramatic works.
Among his other credits, Maestro Walker has conducted at New York City Opera, the Teatro Communale di Bologna, Vancouver Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Arizona Opera, Minnesota Opera, Wolf Trap Opera and Chautauqua Opera. His recent symphonic appearances have been with the Sunflower Festival, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, the Thessaloniki State Symphony in Greece and the Orchestre Colonne in Paris.
From 1998- 2002 Maestro Walker was associated with Welsh National Opera, and conducted many performances with them of Queen of Spades, Rigoletto, Carmen, Traviata, Butterrfly and Così fan tutte all throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In addition to his WCO and Pittsburgh Opera positions and guest assignments throughout the world, Maestro Walker maintains a very active musical career in Australia. He has recorded around 30 CDs with Cantillation and The Orchestra of the Antipodes for ABC Classics, including the highly successful Messiah, the complete Beethoven Piano Concertos, and Bach Brandenberg Concertos and Sinfonias. He became Co-Artistic Director of Sydney’s Pinchgut Opera in 2002 and has since conducted their performances to great critical acclaim, including southern hemisphere premieres of Rameau’s Dardanus and Charpentier’s David et Jonathas.
In 2005 he received the Richard F. Gold Debut Artist Award from the New York City Opera following his conducting of Handel’s Orlando. Earlier he was the first recipient of the Sir Charles Mackerras Conducting Award presented by the British Council and the Australia Britain Society. Most recently Maestro Walker was awarded a Greenroom Award for best conducting/music direction for his conducting of Alcina for Opera Australia in Melbourne.