May 8, 2013

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU’s Tyler Walker Awarded Scholarship to Study in Austria

VALDOSTA — Tyler L. Walker, 22, will travel to Austria in mid-July to study piano at the International Summer Academy of the Mozarteum Institute in Salzburg. The son of Lanier and Felicia Walker of Patterson, Ga., will spend at least two weeks learning from renowned instructors while attending master classes in his instrument. He will be artistically challenged and stimulated and will have opportunities to compare his skills with those of musicians from around the world — an incomparable experience for an up-and-coming artist.

“I have been playing piano since I was 4 years old,” he said. “My grandmother played it, and I just picked it up from her.”

Walker’s parents eventually arranged for him to take formal lessons, recognizing his enthusiasm for the instrument, as well as his natural musical abilities. Having spent years playing by ear, he did not learn how to read music until high school. During his sophomore year, he began studying piano with Dr. Lyle Indergaard at Valdosta State University, and he would drive nearly two hours from his home to the South Georgia campus a few times a month to learn from the renowned specialist in collaborative piano.

When Walker graduated from Pierce County High School in May 2009, he decided to further his education at VSU and with the professor who, over the course of three or so years, had become his trusted friend and mentor. He won the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra’s Concerto Competition in 2010 and again in 2012; he performed Frédéric Chopin’s Grand Polonaise Brillante the second time. He was named a winner in the Georgia Music Educators Association’s Solo Piano Competition a total of three times, and earlier this year, he received honorable mention at the Music Teachers National Association piano competition.

In March, Walker won a $4,000 scholarship from the Pro-Mozart Society of Atlanta to attend the International Summer Academy of the Mozarteum Institute in Salzburg during the summer. Seven finalists performed in the final round of the competition on March 10 at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church in Sandy Springs. They were each told to prepare a 20-minute recital featuring musical selections from three different time periods, with one of them by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Walker played Mozart’s Fantasy in C Minor, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in G Minor, and Chopin’s Octave Etude. Two winners were selected.

“I was overwhelmed when they announced that I had won,” he said. “They called the other guy’s name first, so I thought I had lost. It was very exciting.”

“I was thrilled,” said Indergaard. “Tyler has worked very hard and done well in many competitions in the last several years. He is truly deserving of this award and will have a tremendous experience in Austria.”

Walker graduated from VSU with a Bachelor of Music in music performance on May 4. After Austria, he plans to take a year off to study the piano privately before taking advantage of graduate school opportunities available to him. He hopes to follow in Indergaard’s footsteps and teach at the university level, maybe even perform with a university-based symphony orchestra or other group.

“Tyler is destined for success in the field of music,” Indergaard said. “He is a superb piano soloist, accompanist, and chamber player. In addition, he has a fine tenor voice and is an accomplished organist. His versatility and knowledge of many musical genres make him ideally suited for a university music position.”

Contact Tyler L. Walker at to learn more.

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