Few musicians today cross stylistic borders with the ease and grace of flutist Jim Walker, who brings breath-taking virtuosity to both jazz and classical performance.
A native of Muhlenberg County, Jim has been playing the flute since age 10. After graduating with honors from the University of Louisville School of Music, he enlisted in the army and played in the USMA Band at West Point. In 1969, he became associate principal flutist with the Pittsburgh Symphony. Eight years later, he joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic as principal flutist and began studio work in jazz/pop, television, and motion pictures.
In the early 1980s, Jim formed the chamber jazz ensemble Free Flight, with the flute as the lead instrument. He left the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1985 to pursue a multi-faceted career in jazz, studio work, chamber music, solo performances, publishing, and teaching. He now performs around the world with professional orchestras, as a soloist, and with his jazz quartet. He has collaborated with musicians such as Mark OConnor, Wayne Shorter, John Williams, James Galway, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Leonard Bernstein, Dudley Moore, Zubin Mehta, and many others and has a number of best-selling recordings to his credit. And his solo and ethnic flutes are featured on many motion picture soundtracks: Anna and the King, The Patriot, Titanic, Amistad, Seven Years in Tibet, The Joy Luck Club, and hundreds more.
Jim is a full-time lecturer and coordinator of flute at the University of Southern California School of Music and is a Yamaha performing artist/clinician. He has conducted flute master classes and clinics in the U.S., Canada, Europe, South America, Korea, and Russia. He lives in Los Angeles, but returns home to Kentucky from time to time to perform with state orchestras, including his featured appearance on In Performance, taped in November 2001.