Don Walker

Don Walker, 81, an Orchestrator Of Broadway Musical Comedies


Published: Wednesday, September 13, 1989

Don Walker, a musician who did the orchestration for dozens of Broadway shows, died yesterday at Mercer Medical Center in Trenton after a long illness. He was 81 years old and lived in New Hope, Pa.

Among the more than 90 shows that made the transition from the composer's melodies to full-blown orchestral instrumentation under Mr. Walker's ministrations were ''Fiddler on the Roof,'' ''Call Me Madam,'' ''Damn Yankees,'' ''Shenandoah,'' ''Silk Stockings,'' ''What Makes Sammy Run,'' ''By Jupiter,'' ''Finian's Rainbow,'' ''Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,'' ''Most Happy Fella,'' and ''The Music Man.''

Mr. Walker was regarded as a versatile arranger who studied Greek instruments to attain the proper atmosphere for ''Zorba'' and who could also find exactly the right Viennese ambience for ''She Loves Me.'' In a review of ''Greenwillow,'' a 1960 musical with a score by Frank Loesser, Brooks Atkinson of The New York Times wrote, ''Note that the overture, orchestrated by Don Walker, does not blast you out of your seat with a crash of sound; it invites you to enjoy a humorous fairy story. In every respect, including the singing, the music is characterized by taste.'' Earned Nonstop Royalties

According to his agent, Brett Adams, Mr. Walker was one of the first arrangers who earned a continuous royalty from the shows he worked on. In addition to his theater work, Mr. Walker was a leading arranger for the popular band Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians, and at one time served as conductor for the television show "Your Hit Parade."

He was also a composer and lyricist in his own right. In 1945 he adapted Gilbert and Sullivan's ''H.M.S. Pinafore'' into a musical called "Memphis Bound," which starred Bill Robinson and an all-black cast.

Mr. Walker was born in Lambertville, N.J. He attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and began his professional musical career by orchestrating operettas.

He is survived by his wife, Audrey; a daughter, Anne Liebgold, and a son, David, all of New Hope.

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Credits From BroadwayWorld International Database

On the Town /[Off-Broadway, 2008]/Orchestrator

70, Girls, 70 /[Off-Broadway, 2006]/Orchestrator (Original Orchestrations)

Fiddler on the Roof /[Broadway, 2004]/Orchestrator

The Pajama Game /[Off-Broadway, 2002]/Orchestrator (Original Orchestrations)

A Connecticut Yankee /[Off-Broadway, 2001]/Orchestrator(Original Orchestrations)

Wonderful Town /[Off-Broadway, 2000]/Orchestrator(Original Orchestrations)

Ziegfeld Follies of 1936 /[Off-Broadway, 1999]/Orchestrator(Original Orchestrations)

Call Me Madam /[Off-Broadway, 1995]/ Orchestrator (Original Orchestrations)

She Loves Me /[West End, 1994]/Orchestrator

She Loves Me /[Broadway, 1993]/Orchestrator

Carousel /[West End, 1992]/Orchestrator (Original Orchestrations)

Fiddler on the Roof /[Broadway, 1990]/Orchestrator

Cabaret /[Broadway, 1987]/Orchestrator

Zorba /[Broadway, 1983]/Orchestrator

Fiddler on the Roof /[Broadway, 1981]/Orchestrator

The Music Man /[Broadway, 1980]/Orchestrator

The Most Happy Fella /[Broadway, 1979]/Orchestrator

Angel /[Broadway, 1978]/Orchestrator

Fiddler on the Roof /[Broadway, 1976]/Orchestrator

The Baker's Wife /[Broadway, 1976]/ Orchestrator

Shenandoah /[Broadway, 1975]/Orchestrator

Lorelei /[Broadway, 1974]/Orchestrator

The Pajama Game /[Broadway, 1973]/Orchestrator

70, Girls, 70 /[Broadway, 1971]/Orchestrator

The Rothschilds /[Broadway, 1970]/Orchestrator

Zorba /[Broadway, 1968]/Orchestrator

Her First Roman /[Broadway, 1968]/Orchestrations/Vocal Arrangements

Cabaret /[West End, 1968]/Orchestrator

The Happy Time /[Broadway, 1968]/Orchestrator

Fiddler on the Roof /[West End, 1967]/Orchestrator

Cabaret /[US Tour, 1967]/Orchestrator

Cabaret /[Broadway, 1966]/Orchestrator

A Time for Singing /[Broadway, 1966]/Orchestrator

Anya /[Broadway, 1965]/Orchestrator

Carousel /[Broadway, 1965]/Orchestrator

Flora, the Red Menace /[Broadway, 1965]/Orchestrator

Baker Street /[Broadway, 1965]/Orchestrator

Fiddler on the Roof /[Broadway, 1964]/Orchestrator

She Loves Me /[West End, 1964]/Orchestrator

Anyone Can Whistle /[Broadway, 1964]/Orchestrator

What Makes Sammy Run? /[Broadway, 1964]/Orchestrator

Here's Love /[Broadway, 1963]/Orchestrator

She Loves Me /[Broadway, 1963]/Orchestrator

The Beauty Part /[Broadway, 1962]/Composer (Incidental Music) Orchestrator

The Unsinkable Molly Brown /[US Tour, 1962]/Orchestrator

The Gay Life /[Broadway, 1961]/Orchestrator

The Music Man /[West End, 1961]/Orchestrator

The Unsinkable Molly Brown /[Broadway, 1960]/Orchestrator

Finian's Rainbow /[Broadway, 1960]/Orchestrator

The Most Happy Fella /[West End, 1960]/Orchestrator

Greenwillow /[Broadway, 1960]/Orchestrator

First Impressions /[Broadway, 1959]/Orchestrator

The Music Man /[Broadway, 1957]/Orchestrator

Happy Hunting /[Broadway, 1956]/Orchestrator (Additional Orchestrations)

The Most Happy Fella /[Broadway, 1956]/Orchestrator

Silk Stockings /[US Tour, 1956]/Orchestrator

The Pajama Game /[West End, 1955]/Orchestrator

Finian's Rainbow /[Broadway, 1955]/Orchestrator

Damn Yankees /[Broadway, 1955]/Orchestrator

Ankles Aweigh /[Broadway, 1955]/Orchestrator

Silk Stockings /[Broadway, 1955]/Orchestrator

Silk Stockings /[Broadway, 1955]/Orchestrator

The Pajama Game /[US Tour, 1955]/Musical Director/Orchestrator

Hit the Trail /[Broadway, 1954]/Orchestrator

On Your Toes /[Broadway, 1954]/Orchestrator

Wonderful Town /[US Tour, 1954]/Orchestrator

The Pajama Game /[Broadway, 1954]/Orchestrator

Pal Joey /[West End, 1954]/Orchestrator (Additional Orchestrations)

The Girl in Pink Tights /[Broadway, 1954]/Orchestrator

Wish You Were Here /[West End, 1953]/Orchestrator

Carnival in Flanders /[Broadway, 1953]/Orchestrator

Me And Juliet /[Broadway, 1953]/Orchestrator/Vocal Music Arranger

Wonderful Town /[Broadway, 1953]/Orchestrator

Maggie /[Broadway, 1953]/Orchestrator

Hazel Flagg /[Broadway, 1953]/Orchestrator

Two's Company /[Broadway, 1952]/Orchestrator

("Opening - Theatre is a Lady", "A Man's Home", "Roundabout", "Clear

Blue Sky", "Esther" and "Haunted)

Buttrio Square /[Broadway, 1952]/Orchestrator

Wish You Were Here /[Broadway, 1952]/Orchestrator

Of Thee I Sing /[Broadway, 1952]/Orchestrator

Call Me Madam /[West End, 1952]/Orchestrator

Pal Joey /[Broadway, 1952]/Orchestrator (Additional Orchestrations)

Top Banana /[Broadway, 1951]/Orchestrator

Courtin' Time /[Broadway, 1951]/Vocal/Incidental Arrangements

Call Me Madam /[US Tour, 1951]/Orchestrator

Bless You All /[Broadway, 1950]/Dance Arrangements(ballet)Orchestrator

Call Me Madam /[Broadway, 1950]/Orchestrator

Carousel /[West End, 1950]/Orchestrator

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes /[Broadway, 1949]/Music Arrangements

Touch and Go /[Broadway, 1949]/Orchestrator

Miss Liberty /[Broadway, 1949]/Orchestrator

My Romance /[Broadway, 1948]/Orchestrator

Heaven on Earth /[Broadway, 1948]/Music Arrangements

Look Ma, I'm Dancin'! /[Broadway, 1948]/Orchestrator

Up in Central Park /[Broadway, 1947]/Orchestrator

Finian's Rainbow /[Broadway, 1947]/Orchestrator

Are You With It? /[Broadway, 1945]/Orchestrator

Polonaise /[Broadway, 1945]/Orchestrator

Memphis Bound! /[Broadway, 1945]/Orchestrator

Carousel /[Broadway, 1945]/Orchestrator

Up in Central Park /[Broadway, 1945]/Orchestrator

On the Town /[Broadway, 1944]/Orchestrator

Allah Be Praised! /[Broadway, 1944]/Vocal Music Arranger

A Connecticut Yankee /[Broadway, 1943]/Orchestrator

Early to Bed /[Broadway, 1943]/Orchestrator

Ziegfeld Follies of 1943/[Broadway, 1943]/Orchestrator

Something for the Boys /[Broadway, 1943]/Orchestrator

Beat the Band /[Broadway, 1942]/Orchestrator

By Jupiter /[Broadway, 1942]/Music Arranger

Best Foot Forward /[Broadway, 1941]/Orchestrator

Panama Hattie /[Broadway, 1940]/Orchestrator

Boys and Girls Together /[Broadway, 1940]/Music Arrangements (additional)

Keep Off the Grass /[Broadway, 1940]/Orchestrator

Two for the Show /[Broadway, 1940]/Orchestrator

George White's Scandals [1939] /[Broadway, 1939]/Orchestrator

You Never Know /[Broadway, 1938]/Orchestrator(Additional Orchestrations)

Hooray For What! /[Broadway, 1937]/Orchestrator

Ziegfeld Follies of 1936/[Broadway,1936]/Orchestrator(Additional Orchestrations)

May Wine /[Broadway, 1935]/Orchestrator

At Home Abroad /[Broadway, 1935]/Orchestrator

Life Begins at 8:40 /[Broadway, 1934]/Orchestrator (Additional Orchestrations)

Caviar /[Broadway, 1934]/ Orchestrator

The Little Prince and the Aviator /[Broadway, 1981]/Orchestrator/ Production

The Red Mill /[Television Film, 1958]/Musical Director

The Beauty Part Composer

Allah Be Praised! / Composer

Bless You All /Composer (additional)

Courtin' Time /Composer/Lyricist

Memphis Bound! /Composer / Lyricist

Nothing on this page can be ordered by email:Al Levy