Gwyneth Van Anden Walker

Gwyneth Walker
Gwyneth Walker

Time Period

1940 to Today

Subject Categories

Arts, Education

Notable Facts

World renown composer of instrumental and choral music. Works have been described as energetic and often humorous; often translates the words and sounds of poetry into music. Recognized with the Vermont Arts Council Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.

Personal Information

Date of Birth


Primary Residence






Historical Significance

Gwyneth Van Anden Walker, originally from New Canaan, Connecticut,is an eleventh-generation Quaker. She holds B.A., M.M. and D.M.A. degrees in Music Composition from Brown University and the Hartt School of Music. Walker taught for fourteen years at Hartt, the Hartford Conservatory and Oberlin College before she decided to compose music full-time in Braintree, Vermont.

Walker recalls falling in love with music at the age of two, when her older sister began to take piano lessons. By the first grade, she had taught herself to put notes on a staff, and had begun composing her first pieces of music. Today, her instrumental and choral publications include more than one hundred and sixty commissioned works. She writes for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, full orchestras and bands. Adept at translating the words and sounds of poetry to music, she has composed works based upon texts ranging from the Bible to E. E. Cummings to traditional folk songs and ballads. Walker composes during the day and manages the business end of making music at night. In 2000, the Vermont Arts Council recognized Walker with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

During 2005 and 2006, Walker traveled across the United States working with a variety of musicians as they premiered and recorded her works. The areas of focus were choral, chamber and orchestral music. She also worked on a project that created orchestral accompaniments for a number of choral and vocal works in her catalog of pieces. The "Songs for Women's Voices," "I Thank You God," "I Will Be Earth" and the song cycle, "No Ordinary Woman!" have all been orchestrated and were performed twice at Carnegie Hall during the 2005-6 season.

Walker is currently working on several choral works: New England Journey (musical settings of the poetry of New England Poets for the Worcester, Mastersingers), A Heart in Hiding: The Passionate Love Poems of Emily Dickinson (for the Thomas Circle Singers - Washington, DC) and Songs to the Lord of Peace (on texts by Thomas Merton for the Fairfield University Glee Club - Fairfield, CT). The year 2007 is Walker's "60th Celebration Year".

Organizations or Movements

  • Vermont Arts Council Lifetime Achievement Award (2000)


  • Teacher at the Hartt School of Music, the Hartford Conservatory, and Oberlin College
  • Composer


  • B.A., M.M. and D.M.A. degrees in Music Composition from Brown University and the Hartt School for Music

Additional Information (Bibliography)

Additional Images

Gwyneth Walker on her dairy farm
Gwyneth Walker on her dairy farm