African-American composer who won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Music for "Lilacs." He was commissioned by major ensembles in the United States including the Boston Symphony.
He was introduced to the piano at age five, and he was enrolled in the Oberlin Conservatory when he was 14.
He was named to North Carolina's Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 1997. It was presented by then-Governor Jim Hunt.
He fathered two sons: violinist and composer Gregory Walker and playwright Ian Walker.
He won the Pulitzer Prize for Music 24 years after Elliott Carter was given the same honor in 1973.