Walker grew up in New Canaan, Connecticut and is a graduate of Brown University and the Hartt School of Music and holds B.A., M.M., and D.M.A. degrees in music composition. During her high school (Abbot Academy-Phillips Academy/Andover) and college years, she performed in vocal octets for which she created all of the choral arrangements. During her twenties, Gwyneth Walker was married to fellow composer David Burton (1945-1975).
Upon completing her academic training, she joined the faculty of the Oberlin College Conservatory. She left academia in 1982 in order to pursue a career as a full-time composer. For almost 30 years, she lived on a dairy farm in Braintree, Vermont and now lives primarily in New Canaan, Connecticut, her childhood hometown.
Gwyneth Walker has written over 300 compositions for orchestra, chamber ensembles, chorus, solo voice, and individual instruments. They have been performed nationwide in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Washington National Cathedral, and The Ellen Show.
Her work, while appealing to modern sensibilities, is traditional and accessible in the unadorned style of American composers such as Aaron Copland and Charles Ives. "My pieces always have melody and form and a rhythm that’s right there for you," she says. Among Walker's more popular works is "Songs for Women's Voices," a cycle of choral works based on six poems by the American poet May Swenson, and "A Vision of Hills," a piano trio that Walker says was inspired by her home state of Vermont.
In recent years, Gwyneth Walker traveled across the United States working with a variety of musicians as they recorded her works. As a result of these collaborations, several new CDs have been released:
- A Vision of Hills (piano trios and string works, performed by Trio Tulsa),
- An Hour to Dance (music for SATB chorus recorded by the choirs at Whitman College),
- Now Let Us Sing! (with Bella Voce Women’s Chorus, Burlington, Vermont),
- The Sun Is Love (solo voice and piano works performed by Chicago artists Michelle Areyzaga and Jamie Shaak),
- Scattering Dark and Bright (song cycles recorded by the Walker-Eklof Duo).
Gwyneth Walker's choral work, “Songs to the Lord of Peace” was commissioned by the Center for Catholic Studies at Fairfield University in celebration of the 60th Anniversary Season of the Fairfield University Glee Club, which premiered the work on April 14, 2007 in Fairfield, CT.
Gwyneth Walker's choral work, “A Heart in Hiding (The Passionate Love Poems of Emily Dickinson),” was commissioned and performed by the Thomas Circle Singers in Washington DC, in 2008.
Walker's piano concerto, "Across the Water: Songs of the Water for Piano and Orchestra" was premiered in October 2012 with the Holyoke Civic Symohony and pianist Evan Roider in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Walker composed a new setting of the Longfellow poem, The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the town of Lexington, Massachusetts which had its premiere in January 2013.
- 2000 "Lifetime Achievement Award" from the Vermont Arts Council
- 2008 "Athenaeum Award for Achievement in the Arts and Humanities" from the St. Johnsbury (VT) Athenaeum.
- 2012 Elected as a fellow of the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences.