Oberlin Celebrates the Life of Piano Professor Frances Walker September 16

September 5, 2018

Erich Burnett

portrait of Frances Walker with the text "Frances Walker Celebration of Life"

Memorial service to include performances by alumni plus tributes from loved ones.

Frances Walker ’45, the groundbreaking and outspoken pianist who became the first black woman to be granted tenure at Oberlin, died in June 2018, mere months after a birthday tribute held in her honor.

On Sunday, September 16, Walker’s remarkable life will be celebrated once again by former students, faculty, and countless others in Frances Walker: Celebration of Life. The public memorial service will take place at 2 p.m. in Warner Concert Hall (77 W. College St.).

Included will be performances by violinist Gregory Walker (son of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer George Walker '41, the late brother of Frances Walker), and pianists Kevin Sharpe ’81, Bill Billingham ’82, Joseph Williams ’15, and Cliff Jackson.

Tribute addresses will be made by Dean of the Conservatory Andrea Kalyn, former Dean of the Conservatory David Stull ’89, Professor of Piano Peter Takács, and Lee Koonce ’82, a former student of Walker's and a longtime friend.

A reception will follow in the Warner Concert Hall lobby.

Learn more about the life and legacy of Frances Walker in this story, which also appeared in the 2018 Oberlin Conservatory Magazine.

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