“When I play a Steinway, my heart warms, my fingers ignite in excitement, my ears tickle in delight of the wondrous sounds, and my eyes no longer see black and white notes but colors of a rainbow high in the brilliant sky. Music is unleashed from within when I play a Steinway. I can't imagine a day without playing my Steinway.”
Steinway Artist Karen Walwyn made her New York debut at Merkin Hall following her 2-CD series for Albany Records entitled Dark Fires, offering premiere recordings of works by American composers of African descent. She was consequently invited by the Center of Black Music Research in Chicago to perform and record the premiere recording of the Florence Price Concerto for Piano in One Movement with the New Black Music Repertory Ensemble. Noted music critic, Bob McQuiston, exclaimed: “Walwyn provides a magnificent account of the concerto displaying her considerable technical skills.” In addition to the numerous command performances of the Price concerto thereafter, she also explores the composer’s solo music in recital. Walwyn was featured in the James Greeson Grammy Nominated Documentary entitled The Caged Bird: The life and music of Florence B. Price.
Her compositions are also heralded by performers and critics, alike. She received the Global Music Award: “Gold Medal - Award of Excellence” for her recording and composition entitled Reflections on 9/11, about which Robert Schulslaper of Fanfare Magazine wrote: “Imaginatively conceived and executed, it both disturbingly transposes the catastrophe into appropriately cataclysmic sound and artistically suggests the aftermath’s lingering sense of numbing devastation.” First premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the demand for concerts of this seven-movement ‘tour de force’ continuously carries her across the nation for performances.
As a Mellon Faculty Fellow at the John Hope Franklin Institute, Duke University, Walwyn composed her debut choral work entitled Of Dance & Struggle: A Musical Tribute on the Life of Nelson Mandela, (Choir/Solo Piano/African Percussion), which was commissioned and performed by the Elon University Chorale under the direction of Dr. Gerald Knight. It has been heralded by the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C. as a monumental work for our beloved president, Nelson Mandela.
Dr. Walwyn serves as the Area Coordinator of Keyboard Studies at Howard University, and balances a constant concert demand nationally and internationally as both pianist and composer. Some recent performances include appearances in Johannesburg, South Africa; Barcelona, Spain; Tenerife, Canary Islands; Salzburg, Austria; London, England; and Nice, France. Nationally, Walwyn has performed throughout the contiguous United States, Hawaii, West Indies and the Virgin Islands.
Karen Walwyn has been a Steinway Artist since 2014.