Adam Walker was appointed principal flute of the London Symphony Orchestra in 2009 at the age of 21. As a soloist, he regularly performs with the major UK orchestras, including the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Hallé, Bournemouth Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony and has performed with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, Auckland Philharmonia, Malaysian Philharmonic, Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Solistes Européens, Luxembourg and the RTE National Symphony Orchestra.
He has given World Premieres of Brett Dean’s The Siduri Dances with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (2011), Kevin Puts’ Flute Concerto at the invitation of Marin Alsop at the Cabrillo Festival (2013) and Huw Watkins’ Flute Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Harding.
In 2017, he was selected to take part in the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s prestigious “CMS Two” Program for the 2018 - 2020 seasons and he will be appearing at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in the Summer of 2019.
Stay Thirsty Magazine was very happy to visit with Adam Walker in London for these Five Questions about his career, his instrument and his idols in the field.

STAY THIRSTY: What was it like to be appointed principal flute for the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) at 21? Where you ready psychologically and emotionally for such a prominent position?

ADAM WALKER: During my college years, I’d been freelancing regularly as a principal flutist in London Orchestras. So by the time I was appointed in the LSO, the chair felt a natural and good place to be. Of course, it was quite hardcore having to learn so much new music suddenly – the repertoire turnover in London is very quick – but it was incredibly exciting. I was also lucky to have incredibly supportive colleagues in my section both on and off the stand – actually, one of the things that attracted me to the LSO was the amount of fun I had on tour!

Adam Walker - Flute (Bartok)

STAY THIRSTY: You have played all over the world, from Baltimore to Seoul from Malaysia to Vienna. How do audiences around the world differ in their reception to the flute?

ADAM WALKER: I think it’s safe to say that, internationally, the flute isn’t always jumped on as a choice of solo instrument. As a concerto soloist, a lot of the audience in a symphony concert will be drawn to the orchestra, and the repertoire, including the symphony. Whilst it’s nice to meet fans of the flute as an instrument, I am always super happy and thrilled to meet certain members of the audience who wouldn’t necessarily have chosen to listen to a solo flute performance but leave the concert feeling differently. The same applies to chamber music festivals. Also, as a flute player, I feel a duty to promote and engage with contemporary music. We don’t have so much of the romantic repertoire that you hear ad nauseam on the violin, but we have exciting new works being written for us now, which I love.

Adam Walker

STAY THIRSTY: You recorded Kevin Puts Flute Concerto with Marin Alsop and the Peabody Symphony Orchestra. What attracted you to the work of Kevin Puts and Marin Alsop? Did they bring something special to your work?

ADAM WALKER: I wasn’t familiar with the work of Kevin until Marin contacted me to ask if I would like to premiere his flute concerto with her at the Cabrillo Festival. I’d worked with Marin before as an orchestral player, in fact right at the start of my career, and have always enjoyed collaborating with her.

I was thrilled to discover Kevin’s music, and was so happy with the beautiful concerto he wrote for me. His writing for the flute is quite virtuosic, which is a challenge, but very satisfying to play.

STAY THIRSTY: You will be appearing this summer at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. What is it about that venue that intrigues you?

ADAM WALKER: This summer will be my first trip to Saratoga. Most of my trips to the US have been to the major cities, so I love an opportunity to go somewhere different and new!

I’m so happy to have become a part of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center – The Bowers Program and am thrilled to be coming back to the US to collaborate with great musicians.

Vocalise - Adam Walker (Flute) - James Baillieu (Piano)

STAY THIRSTY: Who are your idols in the world of the flute? How have you been influenced by their work?

ADAM WALKER: Musically, I grew up mostly surrounded by string players and pianists, at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester. I have to say that I was never a massively “flutey” person, and I would rarely listen to flute music. I much prefer to listen to a fabulous singer or great pianist. In that sense, chamber music is such a huge pleasure for me. There are so many amazing flute players who I have admiration and respect for so it’s hard to pick some in particular. But I would definitely mention the British historical flute player Rachel Brown, a total genius. I also love the recordings of Alain Marion, an exponent of the fabulous French flute school.


All opinions expressed are solely those of its author and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.