Eric Nash Walters, composer, performer, educator, was a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico. He earned degrees in Cello Performance from the University of New Mexico and a Masters Degree in Music Composition at Indiana University. He was born in Ithaca, NY on September 18, 1967 and died in Albuquerque, NM the 12th of July, 2016.
In New Mexico, especially the Albuquerque/Santa Fe area, Eric was an
active, supportive, and celebrated member of the arts community. With David Felberg he co-founded the Chatter Ensemble, was a tenured member of the Santa Fe Symphony, lead public school orchestral programs in the Rio Rancho school district, served as Vice President of Orchestra for the New Mexico Music Educator Association, adjudicated the Hey Mozart! New Mexico children’s composition program, and held several resident composer posts including featured tenures with the UNM Composer’s Symposium, The New Southwest Orchestra, The Santa Fe Opera ALTO project, and St. Luke Lutheran Church (Albuquerque).
Walter’s music is distinguished by quartal tonality, boundless energy, expressive depth, and a characteristically wry sense of humor. He often mused that his youth was misspent on the electric guitar, yet the rhythmic drive found in popular music of his teen years clearly informed his learned music making as he worked into his professional composing career.
Walters often built his music over an evolving foundation of tetrachords (typically a quartad of two super-imposed seconds). The set series was developed linearly by chromatically or diatonically closing or expanding the center intervals in each successive quartad. Once the linear event structure was established, it served as a short score for the development of a complete composition.
While this rigorous compositional approach effectively maintained a precise balance of harmonic character, the resulting melodic content is often highly chromatic and subject to striking tonal shifts. Walter’s music, in spite of its relentless drive and frequent use of palindromic form, still presents a sense of fragility and delicacy for its ever shifting tonality. Many of his later works do not conclude by a definitive cadence but by the abrupt cessation of motion. This further emphasizes an artistic expression that is opaque and enigmatic.
While there is a sizeable catalogue of chamber repertoire, Walters’ few compositional forays into church music are representative of a deep faith life and an intuitive capacity to make musical art in the service of liturgy. There are specifically two anthems, a work for organ and bells, numerous arrangements of hymn tunes which often served as chorale preludes or partitas to accompany hymn-singing, and three cello and piano preludes based on 17th century German chorales. Walters’ liturgical compositions, with only a couple exceptions, were composed for and premiered by lay and professional performers employed through the music program at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico between 2006 and the year of his death.
Firehead Editions is proud to offer the following posthumous editions of selected works by Eric Walters:
Arise Now, My Beloved
after Luke 3:22
8 handbells (TC), cello, unison chorus & organ
after psalm 65
solo soprano, unison chorus, oboe, strings & organ
cello & piano
Meditation on Noël Nouvelet
Meditations on Three Lenten Hymns (in preparation)
cello & piano
Jesu, Meine Freude
Herzlich thut mich verlangen
Piano Trio (in preparation)
violin, cello & piano
SchoolWorks for Young Players (in preparation)